Note: any #NotAllMen can go piss off.
**Stolen from Graham Gemmell**
TL;DR – Courtney Love and Harvey Weinstein.
This week being a night owl let me down. I’ve always enjoyed the time of day where most people are sleeping. Growing up, it was a time the good music videos played, the not so pure movies ran and the late night comedians could say bad words. In my 30’s I like it because nobody fucking bothers you – no constant social pings, push notifications etc. The night has just always seemed better. But I’m a six foot tall 300 pound white dude. So the night also feels safe.
Despite what you’ve heard society isn’t an outrage love in- we’re just into performative disgust. There’s a fucking difference.
Performative disgust is smug, it’s tempered and it’s temporary. It’s going “ugh” and saying “this is wrong” and moving on. Actual outrage leads to things like benefits and systematic change. Performative disgust is perfectly fine as a first step, but the follow through is key.
Which is why I miss actual outrage. Because there’s a lot to be angry about. Outrage is an incorrect and overused pinata of everything wrong with social media. Because it’s easier to get upset at those who are upset – than it is to deal with real fucking problems. And if you’re no longer upset twenty minutes later – you’re not actually “outraged” anyway. Which is how fragile the status quo and men like Canadian asshats Jonathan Kay are – that they can’t even deal with performative disgust without bemoaning the full out culture.
But whether it was Occupy, BLM or the women’s march – everybody is constantly trying to preach a nice tempered “let’s improve things”. We try and check the correct anger box that our media and our uncle feels is appropriate. And we allow the worst of our society to give us the false equivilences blurring those who fight prejudiced rage with righteous anger as one in the same.
Which brings me back to my night time habits. Watching the late night comedians this week was a fucking drag. You had a major Hollywood mogul who was such a fucking evil shitbag, even plants weren’t safe. Fucking plants! Most of us men are perverted messes, but it takes a special kind of predator to think “Fuck it, I’ll scare this woman and the Ficus”.
So, I turned to comedy for that pure righteous anger – that kind that only comedians can dish out. The cutting remarks that can whittle a man down to his snivelling shameful self. I waited to share the loud angry message of “we’re finally going to fix this”, to see who would weaponize comedy and flip a table live on tv through punchlines. Besides it was their backyard – this wasn’t politics or news – it was them. But it never came.
Colbert and Seth Myers tied it to their Trump messaging, while reading a such carefully crafted teleprompter statements – it felt like they were tweeting out an apology to Jezebel via hostage video.
And carefully worded statements of “we’re not going to condone this” is basically comedy code for “I’m not passionate about this – I just know we have to deal with it and I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing”.
At it’s worst was James Corden turning it into bad Leno style monologue gags. And at best was not shockingly Samantha Bee.
Samantha Bee came the closest to finding that pure comedic outrage – because she understands the actual problem firsthand. But considering the silence from her male counterparts – there was so much pressure on her take that it couldn’t really live up to anything besides “solid bit”.
The lack of women writers was showcased in spades this week – but it also showed the lack of understanding by us guys.
All of us men are afraid of saying the wrong thing – a lot of us are also afraid of looking like we’re doing ally performance art. Putting the focus on us instead of women. Raising a glass to ourselves as one of “the good ones”.
But it’s also us who are causing every day to be a shit show for half of the population.
I’m happy people say things like “we believe you” or “we stand with you”. But, I haven’t seen one thread this week where some dude didn’t drop in a subtle “not all men” backhanded comment. And to be real with you, if I was a woman, l’d basically be at full Wicker Man at this point.
Honestly have you ever spoke to a woman about her daily fucking life? The way men talk about avoiding construction detours is how women just plan their trip ANYWHERE.
“Welp I need to go make copies, but I can’t take the east hall, since Steve the “inappropriate touching” guy is there”
“Welp, there’s that pack of men who cat call outside of McDonald’s guess I’ll have to cross the street just to jaywalk half a block later to get to my OWN FUCKING apartment”.
Half of the population is doing fucking sexist mindsweeper math in their heads. And the other half is like “Well I think I’m a good guy – so let’s not blow things out of proportion”.
If there was a trip planner app, that could spot problematic men in real time – you would literally be a billionaire.
And then I saw this Courtney Love story – and I thought, that’s who I fucking miss. I miss the fuck out of Courtney Love.
Courtney Love’s water hose anger was kinda refreshing. Can you imagine if that Eminem Trump rant was his mea culpa of his own sexism and then tied it to what that sexism created? That could’ve been something real.
Say what you will about Courtney Love’s at times problematic feminism – but she was a childhood fave. I saw Hole when I was 16 at Molson Park in Barrie – and they were one of the few (if not the only) female fronted rock band. it was probably Courtney at her most clear in the 90’s. The Celebrity Skin tour was great – complete with ironic/not ironic covers of Bryan Adams by Melissa Auf der Maur. And throughout the show Courtney Love was pulling girls on to the stage and out of the mosh pit and seating them all over around the speakers. She’d yell into the pit “I want more girls up here – move aside boys and don’t fuck with them”. I didn’t want to wade into the pit -but my friend dragged me in. And two seconds into entering, I got a Doc Marten to the face. But hey it was the death rattle of the 90’s and I was 16 – so why the fuck not? Us taller guys at the front, became an assembly line – we would lift up the women crowd surfers hoping they would be the lucky one to get a grab a seat on stage. There was an actual fear of groping in that pit – and was probably the only mosh put that day – that didn’t feature stealth sexual assault. (probably not). Courtney’s gaze and slurred growls of “If you fucking grope them, we’ll fuck you up” probably helped that percentage down a bit.
At the end of the show, Love and her bandmates gave their guitars away to some of the teenagers seated on stage. Complete with her Courtney Love trademark charm “Learn how to fuckin play this”.
In 1999, I wasn’t thinking about the feminism or the ‘what it all meant from a larger cultural perspective’ – I just knew Courtney Love could own a stage better than any of the bands that day. And I was also slightly afraid of her – which made me respect her all the more.
Though we should never romanticize addiction issues – there is a complete double standard in how we treat our rock stars. Courtney Love doesn’t get the loveable Keith Richards bad ass addict treatment. We save that usual romanticized Hemmingway artist bullshit for men in the arts.
Women who stand up for themselves and make men uncomfortable are at best usually called men (Bea Arthur) or worse – well, just scroll reddit. But more importantly we silence the importance of their thoughts. We black list them – and make them afraid to speak out.
For me in my white and nerdy teen rock worship years, even Courtney Love’s Madonna crashing ways seemed more punk than Green Day’s dyed hair job and faux accented suburban complaints.
She just didn’t give a fuck. Whether it was mocking the cookie cutter rebels in Olympia or years later taking the piss out of the Strokes front man in verse; even Courtney’s shallow and problematic bullshit has just always felt more honest than most.
And in my teen era of manufactured everything – Love felt like a throwback to someone even an old school fucker like Lester Bangs might praise.
Not many of us would call out our loved ones on their bullshit while reading the world their suicide note. Yet, the Nirvana fandom treated her like part Yoko Ono and part Mark David Chapman. There were constant rock rumours that “Kurt wrote the first album and Billy Corgan wrote the second” not to mention the absurd “documentary” attempt to blame her for Kurt’s death.
As Courtney was labelled a ninja grunge murderer, a manufactured girl group yelled “girl power”. Which was a much more palatable feminism for young girls. And self-esteem pop can be great – but I do kinda miss the worst humans in our culture having a bit of fear jolted into them by art.
Courtney turned the fuckery of Hollywood into a top 40 jam. “You want a part of me. Well, I’m not selling cheap”
In that same year the men of rock like Fred Durst and Korn were calling each other “fags” in songs and Republicans like Kid Rock were “bad asses”. Meanwhile Courtney Love had spent the 90’s hauntingly crooning covers of Goffen and Carole King’s cautionary tale of Little Eva’s spousal abuse. Or turning Stevie’s Fleetwood jam Gold Dust Woman into a grunge mantra. And while some would take the side of Grohl in Courtney’s use of Kurt’s legacy – it’s hard not to side with Courtney in a lot of cases. Love loudly protested that Patti Smith wasn’t in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame – threatening to pull out Kurt’s things.
Love even auctioned off one of Kurt’s favourite record’s to Mariska Hargitay’s rape kit foundation and the fucking thing sold for $135,000. So rage on shoegazers, but I find that kinda cool.
But it wasn’t cool to like Hole as a teenage guy – you couldn’t like the “girl band”. But I just did, telling Nirvana fans the truth – I prefered Courtney’s angst to Kurt’s. Not because of feminism – but because I just really did. But if you liked Hole you would hear “She couldn’t sing” “She’s a slut” “She can’t write” etc. etc.
My Hole fandom became an accidental crash course in how fucked up the world is for women who try and break into things.
Women have to navigate the sexist industry landmines and look good doing it. Kurt Cobain was an artist who self medicated his pain and was a hero in death, while Courtney was a lucky junkie that failed upwards because of her bedmates. It’s the usual shit show women have to deal with. And it’s funny that this throwback quote crystalized the week.
In 2017, it might feel scary to call out for more anger – but this silent and subtle supportiveness on social media isn’t enough. And I worry we need to yell into that mosh pit a bit more. Actions and words are needed. But first, let’s start with the plain fact that, you should be fucking angry.
Courtney Love Warned Actresses in 2005 Stay Clear of Weinstein 11:45 AM PT — Courtney has responded to our story, saying … “Although I wasn’t one of his victims, I was eternally banned by CAA for speaking out against Harvey Weinstein.” More proof of the biggest lie in Hollywood …