This is reiterating a point that I’ve just made via other websites (okay, FaceBook), but I want to let it out, here:
I’m getting damn tired of the constant cycle of academic research that goes either in favour or against heavy metal and its fans, as well as the need of metalheads to constantly defend it in he case of the former.
It’s not that I don’t think the defenders have a point – on the contrary, I feel that many of the issues raised in favour of heavy metal music are valid and more or less spot on. (Coming from a geeky fangirl background, the literary references were one of the reasons why I fell in love with the music to start off with). What I do take umbrage with, is the fact that this contributes to a never-ending pattern where mainstream society keeps looking for ways to deride something enjoyed by a particular subculture (or “folk devil”, to paraphrase a term I came across in my own academic years) and legitimise that derision so that other people can either use that to inform their own opinions on said subculture (if they don’t already have a negative one, by which case it just adds fuel to the fire).
Perhaps this is partly to do with my own experiences, where before I knew of a world outside of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Theatre of Tragedy (whom registered in my mind as “goth” rather than “metal”) I had to put up with my classmates continuously viewing me with suspicion for being into rock music of any sort. Or, more recently, it could have something to do with the rudeness I’ve received from people upon their discovery of what my favourite music is.
Redundant, but so far some of the nastiest people that I have encountered (in relation to this issue) were so-called professionals who presented themselves as open-minded and multicultural.. before laughing right in my face, when they found out what I love to listen to.
Some of the most condescending have been people who thought that because they read about metal shows and drugs, that they knew more about their atmosphere than I do despite said people admitting that they had never been to a gig.
It just gets old. Non-metalheads will look for any excuse to go on about their disdain for metal music and all its subgenres, as well as any supposed reason to lash out against all metalheads. Not one or two metalheads; all metalheads.
I don’t want to hear again about how death metal is inherently dangerous because of a case where serial killers in Italy were death metalheads. I don’t want to hear you rant and rave about how much you despite metal music, in response to me saying that I’m a fan of it. (That behaviour also shows a distinct lack of manners, but let’s talk about that another time.) I most certainly do not want to see you present yet another headline that says, “Scientists have found a link between this/that problem and metal”.
I’ve had enough. I won’t even get into other issues I have with academia’s apparent obsession with treating metal bands from countries outside of Europe and the North Americas as museum-like relics or missing links that supposedly need to be over-analysed despite the reasonings often being more simple than they care to acknowledge. So metalheads exist in Botswana and India – so what, academics? Not every instance of “globalisation”, however you define it, is a sign of people selling out to “Western” forces and ditching their own, native cultures. Not every folk metal band from Asia must be read into as an example of defiance or wholesale purchase of “Western” culture by default.
Do I think that it’s wrong for professors or academics in Europe and the North Americas to take an interest in phenomena outside their own countries? No. I do however, feel that the ones who choose metal scenes in Asia and Africa (to name a few) often do so without even a basic love or understanding of heavy metal music (Mark LeVine, this means you).
But again, that one is a vent for another time, when I’m likely more coherent.
Right now, I’m just tired. Literally, rather than psychologically.