BrokenCYDE gets the gasface

Categories: Columns

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I'm a little stunned by the controversy surrounding ridiculous screamo-hip-hop also-rans, BrokenCYDE. If you haven't heard, earlier this week, a post on Loud Hawk Press called for the removal of the band from this summer's Warped Tour, on the basis of two offenses: 1) they suck, and 2) their lyrics are misogynistic and racist. Now, I'm no fan of BrokenCYDE, nor do I condone sexism and racism, but something about the conversation going on over there strikes me as, well, a tad prissy for punk rock.

Essentially, Will Angelos and those commenting on his post alternate between criticism of BrokenCYDE's artistic merit (i.e. they suck) and objections to their lyrical content (i.e. because they are not African-Americans, they shouldn't be allowed to use the n-word and no one should be allowed to say the things about women that they say). I don't actually care enough about the band to register a judgment on the quality of their music, but isn't punk rock supposed to be offensive? And isn't freedom of speech for everyone, even those with whom you disagree?

The "punk rock protesters" who are demanding that Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman remove the band from the huge summer caravan are, in effect, suggesting that BrokenCYDE should be deprived of their paychecks for the summer (and potentially longer) because they don't like the music or what the band has to say. This seems both unfair and an effront to freedom of expression, in art and elsewhere. And it's a slippery slope from there into censorship and all sorts of ugly things that don't seem particularly "punk" to me.

However, rather than delve into the political and social ramifications of this whole silly controversy, I'd like to suggest an alternative. Punk rock tradition prescribes a much more effective response to bands that suck and/or displease you for some reason - or no reason at all. That response is gobbing. That's right. If you're really that upset about BrokenCYDE's music and messages (such as they are), you can spit at them.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that anyone SHOULD spit at BrokenCYDE. That's both unsanitary and unkind. However, a true punk would probably leave Kevin Lyman alone, buy her tickets to the Warped Tour, see all the tight-jeaned, angularly coiffed bands she loves. And, if she wanted to express her displeasure and disapproval in classic punk rock fashion, she'd launch the biggest loogies she could muster in the general direction of the stage. That's pure punk rock protest.


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