This art is no good, attack the radical!
November 12, 2009 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Tom Sanford, a NY based artist, has created paintings depicting pop-culture icons before, but none have created a "regular trickle of hate mail/criticism" like this one.

The 2005 painting - a depiction of the 2004 shooting of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott by ex-Marine Nathan Gale (previously) - is being auctioned in November. Some fans of Dimebag are a little worked up (see comments).

Other interviews with Tom Sanford.

Other art (quicktime movie) inspired by Dimebag Darrell (previously)
posted by dubold (67 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 


Doesn't the very content of the painting he painted explicate the risks one runs in pissing off legions of Pantera fans? One of them is bound to be crazy enough to do something about it.

As a lifelong Pantera fan, I find the painting less an outrage than a tasteless attempt at button-pushing.
posted by Darth Fedor at 8:57 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"More generally, I certainly respect anyone’s right to get their panties in bunch about something they find offensive. But I can’t help but be amused by the irony of this particular situation. The iconography of metal heavily features imagery of violence. The culture police are constantly complaining about its offensive and obscene song lyrics. Many, many metal albums depict images of war, rape, murder etc etc."

That's like saying that if Wes Craven was brutally murdered, he pretty much had it coming.
posted by Darth Fedor at 9:03 AM on November 12, 2009


(clicks the link, sees the comments)

Oy.
posted by jquinby at 9:18 AM on November 12, 2009


Give it 200 years and that painting will be considered on par with Goya's The Third of May 1808. This will occur around the same time that B. Spear's Oops, I Did It Again becomes the new US national anthem. The cryogenically preserved revivals from the early 21st century will immediately demand that their head be re-lopped off and put back in the damn freezer.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:26 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oops, I Did It Again becomes the new US national anthem.

Wasn't that already the theme song for the quag-vasion of Iraq?
posted by rokusan at 9:33 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]



"More generally, I certainly respect anyone’s right to get their panties in bunch about something they find offensive."


Something about the phrase "panties in a bunch" doesn't really make me think of "respect."
posted by louche mustachio at 9:35 AM on November 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


B. Spear's Oops, I Did It Again becomes the new US national anthem

Don't blame me, I voted for Blanket Jackson III.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:36 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


For the most part I am of the opinion that most contemporary painting has little relevance in our larger culture, except for that some paintings can be extremely valuable luxury goods. But since I really love making paintings, and it’s all I’ve ever been much good at or interested in, I try to think of ways to make paintings that are relevant memes in our current context. I admit that I fail at this often

Wow, that's amazingly honest. It's rare to see someone who's not deluded about the nature of their work or their own abilities.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:39 AM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Darth Fedor: "That's like saying that if Wes Craven was brutally murdered, he pretty much had it coming."

No, it is like saying that if Wes Craven was tortured and killed, it would be in poor taste to make an artistic re-enactment of it.
posted by idiopath at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


oops, meant *would not*
posted by idiopath at 9:41 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's like saying that if Wes Craven was brutally murdered, he pretty much had it coming.

No. No, it's not. It's like saying if Wes Craven was brutally murdered, he pretty much had graphic depictions of his own murder coming. If you make a (lucrative) career trafficking in images of brutality, carnage, violence and murder, then you (and your fans) have kind of surrendered your right to take offense to depictions of such things, even when they involve you or someone you care about. This - whether you agree with it or not - is Sanford's point, and it is categorically different from suggesting the murder itself was justified.
posted by gompa at 9:41 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


The painting looks like Beavis & Butthead as illustrated by Alex Ross.
posted by brain_drain at 9:41 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or what idiopath said more succinctly . . .
posted by gompa at 9:42 AM on November 12, 2009


Wow, I totally forgot to factor into the equation that I was a douchebag.

Now I have to go back and edit all my blog posts, and all my comments to the blog posts of other such luminaries as myself that I immediately made upon stumbling across this painting that, on top of insulting one of the greatest artists of our time makes a mockery not only of morality writ large, but also of mankind's ability--nay, imperative!--to shunt it aside with impunity for the sake of art, humor, love, freedom and humanity!

A lot of work, wasted, yet again. Merely because I can't summon the wherewithal to recall, when the moment begs it most fervently, that I am, at heart, a bag used for douching.

At the least it would seem that Mr. Sanford implies that artists, be they novelists or thrash metal musicians, who are disrespectful to their creations, be they characters in a novel or second person pronouns in a lyric, thereby invite disrespect upon themselves, posthumously or otherwise.

Expressing no particular feelings of moral outrage toward Mr. Sanford's painting of my own, that statement sums up what I was attempting to convey before my spontaneous and wrenching transmogrification into a personal hygiene device (presumably a used one.)
posted by Darth Fedor at 9:46 AM on November 12, 2009


That painting made me laugh.
posted by interrobang at 9:54 AM on November 12, 2009


I think this guy has the right of it:

I think the metal generation has been desensitized to death, no? I understand it's a brutal artist's rendition but it's no gorier than any Cannibal Corpse cover and those we don't even look at twice. It's just accepted.

Accept this too. You don't have to buy it, you don't have to look at it. If you went to the guy's site there's a lot of twisted shit and this is one of many. Slayer and Rob Zombie do the same shit and are celebrated.

posted by ignignokt at 10:00 AM on November 12, 2009


No, it is like saying that if Wes Craven was tortured and killed, it would not be in poor taste to make an artistic re-enactment of it.

The distinction is noted. Even from the posthumous commenter.

However, I fail to see how it would not be in poor taste. If Wes Craven, made a career out of portraying real people, famous or otherwise, being murdered or tortured, or what have you, in a whimsical and mocking fashion, then he would deserve to be memorialized as such.

But the only people Wes Craven, in my memory, ever killed or treated poorly were people he made up. The scores and scores of murders he portrayed in his films were never intended as insults to anyone. Again, that's only as far as I know.

But I run into this sort of dead end in other arguments as well---when I see otherwise intelligent people goggling and mooning over pictures of Celebrity X on the cover of US Weekly and laughing about how they have cellulitic asses and thighs and how, as a result, they aren't as awesome as they think they are, the argument is often that the celebrities bring it upon themselves by daring to be famous in the first place.

Nobody deserves a public scrutiny of their various fat deposits, and if you think you know them well enough to decided that they do deserve it, you're generally wrong.

I'm too young to feel like a moral dinosaur. And I'm not even one of the cool dinosaurs, either. Whatever dinosaur was most like a possum, I'm that one. I hiss at all of you.
posted by Darth Fedor at 10:03 AM on November 12, 2009


That's like saying that if Wes Craven was brutally murdered, he pretty much had it coming.

No, that's not ironic.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:04 AM on November 12, 2009


"I was interested in this tragedy as a historical event that occurred in our media saturated world, but was without a defining image of the event."

That he gets key factual details wrong in his portrayal of history is just "artistic license", I guess.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on November 12, 2009


Blazecock: Agreed. The murderer in his painting looks as if his next move is to crowdsurf.
posted by Darth Fedor at 10:15 AM on November 12, 2009


Something about the phrase "panties in a bunch" doesn't really make me think of "respect."

/me uses telekinetic powers to bunch louche moustachio's undies, and bunch them something fierce, to teach him or her some respect.

Next time it's the Rear Admiral.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:20 AM on November 12, 2009


Of course it's in poor taste. But metal fans don't usually give a shit about "poor taste."

It doesn't make sense for people that enjoy songs about murder without much thought about the real tragedies behind the stories used to make that art (which includes me) to be outraged when someone does the same using an incident involving someone that they are fond of.

If this painting bothers you, and you're a metal fan, you should square that up with the way you feel about Angel of Death or Dead Skin Mask.
posted by ignignokt at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2009


Which is not to say I think the doings of Josef Mengele or Ed Gein aren't horrific and tragic. It's just that they don't come into play when I listen to art that exploits their crimes.
posted by ignignokt at 10:23 AM on November 12, 2009


I have to agree with the artist, even though I personally despise this sort of "ironic" "art", and even though I think this particular painting is very poor. Metal is and always has been opposed to the kind of moralism some commenters are trying to apply, here. Those who are seriously "offended" about this should probably ask themselves why songs about graphic violence are fine, but this is not (and no, the "real people" excuse doesn't fly, because there are scads of songs about "real people" which are more "offensive" than this). As somebody pointed out above, nobody in the metal scene would have noticed or cared if the artist changed the Pantera logos and put this painting on the cover of an album... as metal album covers go, this is really mild, so why not deal with it the same way you'd deal with any other "offensive" drawing?

Oops, I forgot that Pantera fans aren't into metal, anyway. Never mind!
posted by vorfeed at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2009


Murders and assassinations have been popular subject matter for painting for a very long time.

But let's fact it, this one's not exactly Jacques Louis David's "The Death of Marat."
posted by pjdoland at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2009


If Wes Craven, made a career out of portraying real people, famous or otherwise, being murdered or tortured, or what have you, in a whimsical and mocking fashion, then he would deserve to be memorialized as such.

So... New Nightmare wasn't a documentary?
posted by brundlefly at 10:28 AM on November 12, 2009


But the only people Wes Craven, in my memory, ever killed or treated poorly were people he made up. The scores and scores of murders he portrayed in his films were never intended as insults to anyone. Again, that's only as far as I know.

So what?

I don't see why it matters. Plenty of people hate metal and Pantera. I'm a huge Zappa fan, but I don't take it personally if other people hate him or insult him somehow with their artistic expression. Doesn't change what I like about the music.

Anyway, I went through a metal phase when I was like 10-15 or so. I still like some of it, though I was into the old school '80s metal bands, and today it's mostly death metal and its variants. I do like Metalocalypse (a cartoon of a fictional band in the Nordic black metal style, but the music is actually pretty good). I think they would see a painting like this and say that it's brutal, so it's definitely metal.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:28 AM on November 12, 2009


It doesn't make sense for people that enjoy songs about murder without much thought about the real tragedies behind the stories used to make that art (which includes me) to be outraged when someone does the same using an incident involving someone that they are fond of.

Sure it makes sense. That's usually part of what "fond of" means. Unless you're some kind of robot then the tragedies of those you don't know will mean much less to you compared to the tragedies of those you feel close to.
posted by ODiV at 10:36 AM on November 12, 2009


Yeah, I think good taste only becomes an issue when discussing depictions of the murders of people who didn't have a signature confederate flag guitar.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 10:42 AM on November 12, 2009


I'm always amazed when somebody with a nickname like Dime Bag lives past the age 30. My friend Eight Ball Larry only made it to 28 and then somebody threw him off a roof.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:56 AM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm always amazed when somebody with a nickname like Dime Bag lives past the age 30. My friend Eight Ball Larry only made it to 28 and then somebody threw him off a roof.

Good thing Electric Larry is still keeping on keeping on.
posted by mikelieman at 11:14 AM on November 12, 2009


Something about the phrase "panties in a bunch" doesn't really make me think of "respect."

I think he is respecting the right without actually approving of the panty bunching. I respect people's right to put confederate flags on their guitar, but I don't respect the guitar itself, no matter how awesomely it may shred.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:14 AM on November 12, 2009


Good thing Electric Larry is still keeping on keeping on.

Amazing Larry, too.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I run into this sort of dead end in other arguments as well---when I see otherwise intelligent people goggling and mooning over pictures of Celebrity X on the cover of US Weekly and laughing about how they have cellulitic asses and thighs and how, as a result, they aren't as awesome as they think they are, the argument is often that the celebrities bring it upon themselves by daring to be famous in the first place.

I think it works the opposite way around, as has been mentioned before there is plenty of metal imagery depicting the deaths of anonymous figures, and no one gives a flying fuck about them. People only care about this because it's happening to the Celebrity X who they just so happen to be fans of.

Honestly? I don't find this painting offensive. I don't particularly like the style of it, but I certainly don't think that he's trying to be insulting about it, or trying to make a mockery of the event. Hell, you just need to read the article linked and you'll get his intentions as to why he did this, and I think he makes a pretty good argument for it personally.
posted by emperor.seamus at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2009


Amazing Larry, too.

And we thought the internet wouln't be the same without Geocities.
posted by mikelieman at 11:19 AM on November 12, 2009


Am I missing something? I'm not sure why there is any argument about whether this is in poor taste, since the artist seems to acknowledge that as the motivation behind his work (oops, almost wrote "art").

The only thing that amazes me is not that this piece is up for auction, but that someone bought it in the first place.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:22 AM on November 12, 2009


Sure it makes sense. That's usually part of what "fond of" means. Unless you're some kind of robot then the tragedies of those you don't know will mean much less to you compared to the tragedies of those you feel close to.

You can be a human and still not be a hypocrite, though. It is totally possible and is done all the time.
posted by ignignokt at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2009


You can be a human and still not be a hypocrite, though. It is totally possible and is done all the time.

I have not experienced this. We all have our little hyprocicies. Only for gods is their no gulf between what they should be and what they are.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:31 AM on November 12, 2009


Well, gods and ducks. Ducks are pretty much perfect at being ducks.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:31 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Editorializing that I left out of the FPP:

I have fond memories of riding around in my friend's mustang, blasting Pantera and White Zombie. none of this is meant to disparage Pantera, Darryl Abbott, or people who can separate "reality" from "art".

I do think there's a certain ironic twist to metal fans getting irate about a crass depiction of someone's death. As noted earlier in the thread, you can't claim that this is more tasteless than "Angel of Death", or any Cannibal Corpse cover.

And yeah, if you're going to defend someone's right to have a confederate battle flag guitar, you relinquish the right to be upset about anything that happened in the past also. (Yes, I understand that to some people it just means "I'm glad to be from the South".)

Anyway, this kerfuffle was interesting to me, coming on the heels of the debate here about Modern Warfare 2 - I would think most people have some sort of boundaries-of-taste that they won't cross. Or just things that they think should not be depicted, in movies, video games or art. What happens, and how we react when someone else crosses those lines is really interesting to me, especially since we're all probably guilty of crossing someone else's boundaries of taste.
posted by dubold at 11:33 AM on November 12, 2009


We all have our little hyprocicies.

right, like when you correct other peoples' grammar and spelling.
posted by dubold at 11:36 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


oops, left off the /joke tag!
posted by dubold at 11:37 AM on November 12, 2009


I am a professional Web editor.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:37 AM on November 12, 2009


Amazing Larry, too.

And yet, Magical Trevor just keeps going ...
posted by nonspecialist at 11:39 AM on November 12, 2009


First off, in case anyone would have thought otherwise, I am in no way offended by this painting. I am a big fan of a lot of music, metal included, and I enjoy Pantera. I found the painting to be a bit rubbish, but that's a stylistic concern, rather than to do with the content. End disclaimer.

ignignokt: I think this guy has the right of it:

I think the metal generation has been desensitized to death, no? I understand it's a brutal artist's rendition but it's no gorier than any Cannibal Corpse cover and those we don't even look at twice. It's just accepted.

Accept this too. You don't have to buy it, you don't have to look at it. If you went to the guy's site there's a lot of twisted shit and this is one of many. Slayer and Rob Zombie do the same shit and are celebrated.


Except that neither Slayer nor Rob Zombie are Pantera or Damageplan, nor were either associated with Dimebag. It's far from a simple fact that fans of Pantera/Damageplan celebrate Slayer and Rob Zombie. It's almost certainly a case of some do, some don't. You'll find this to be true of people who are not fans of Pantera or Damageplan, too.

It doesn't make sense for people that enjoy songs about murder without much thought about the real tragedies behind the stories used to make that art (which includes me) to be outraged when someone does the same using an incident involving someone that they are fond of.

Who says the people being offended don't put much thought into the real tragedies behind the lyrical themes of the music they listen to? That's a pretty big assumption, and almost borders of offensive.

vorfeed: As somebody pointed out above, nobody in the metal scene would have noticed or cared if the artist changed the Pantera logos and put this painting on the cover of an album... as metal album covers go, this is really mild, so why not deal with it the same way you'd deal with any other "offensive" drawing?
...
Oops, I forgot that Pantera fans aren't into metal, anyway. Never mind!


Metal is not the homogeneous morass you seem to imply. It is perfectly possible to be a metalhead who likes Pantera, yet dislikes Cannibal Corpse and Carcass. I'm also certain that if somebody did what you describe (remove Pantera logos and put this on an album cover) there would be outrage too - the scene and fella are reasonably recognisable as what they're meant to be.


Can we please stop peddling the fallacy that Pantera = ALL METAL and that thus, if you're a Pantera fan, you clearly don't give a toss about the violence and horrible imagery in Corpsegrinder's lyrics, because you're a fan, you sick hypocrite?

Astro Zombie: I'm always amazed when somebody with a nickname like Dime Bag lives past the age 30. My friend Eight Ball Larry only made it to 28 and then somebody threw him off a roof.

Eight Ball Larry was, if his name is any indication, probably into cocaine. Dimebag is usually more of a pot term. The disparity in their addictiveness and the difference in the scenes that surround them (as a result?) make it likely that somebody named Dimebag will outlive somebody named Eight Ball.
posted by Dysk at 11:48 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe Six Pack is still around. Heroin Bob, dead. hmm.
posted by ODiV at 11:52 AM on November 12, 2009


The first thing I thought when I saw the painting was "Oh wow, a second-rate George Grosz ripoff". I didn't think there was anything new or shocking about it in the slightest.

Unless you're some kind of robot then the tragedies of those you don't know will mean much less to you compared to the tragedies of those you feel close to.

True, but suddenly getting all reverent and sanctimonious about the value of life when you never gave much of a fuck before rings false, doesn't it? Say what you will about GG Allin, but at least his fans were consistent.
posted by aquafortis at 12:01 PM on November 12, 2009


Then how do you explain the youthful death of my friend Baby Aspirin Mike?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:01 PM on November 12, 2009


But the only people Wes Craven, in my memory, ever killed or treated poorly were people he made up. The scores and scores of murders he portrayed in his films were never intended as insults to anyone.

Yes. I'll buy that it's possible that Cravens films are unintentional insults. To anybody with a fucking brain.
posted by tkchrist at 12:06 PM on November 12, 2009


My brother and I shared a bottle of baby aspirin when we were kids. Had to go to the hospital and have our stomachs pumped. Damn, I love artificial orange flavor.
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:09 PM on November 12, 2009


Astro Zombie, aspirin overdose is pretty horrible, whereas pot is generally reasonably benign, at least by comparison.

Yeah, I'm a pedant. Sue me.
posted by Dysk at 12:10 PM on November 12, 2009


Fun Fact: Did you know that between 1990 and 2004 7 out of ten white American teenagers who murdered their parents, named Slayer or Pantera as their favorite bands.* The more you know!

*Factoid completely made up.
posted by tkchrist at 12:11 PM on November 12, 2009


For the next two years, Gale was homeless. He survived by doing odd jobs, panhandling and stealing.[7] In 1998 he was arrested several times when police found him sleeping on public property at night, and later for an attempted car jacking at a gas station.[7] In 1999, Gale moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio to live with childhood friends. They asked him to leave when they discovered his drug abuse and he moved back to Marysville. In 2000, Gale contacted his mother and agreed to receive treatment if he could move back into her home.[7] She noticed that his mental illness had progressed to an even more severe level in the 2 years he had been gone. He couldn't stay still, randomly getting up and pacing around the room. He also continued to talk about being spied on and hearing voices.[7] Gale was unable to keep a job with his volatile behavior, so in a last ditch effort to clean up his life he joined the United States Marine Corps in 2001.[7]

Am I the only one who is terrorized by the thought that the Marine Corps allowed him to enlist?
posted by notreally at 1:23 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who says the people being offended don't put much thought into the real tragedies behind the lyrical themes of the music they listen to? That's a pretty big assumption, and almost borders of offensive.

I'm not even sure if you really believe what you wrote here.

If you had a serious reverie about Jews being tortured and murdered every time you listened to Angel of Death, you wouldn't enjoy it. Don't try to tell me listening to songs about murder is some serious meditation ritual for metal fans.

Sure, we've thought about how tragic the incidents sung about in the songs they enjoy are, but that is not what we're thinking of when we're enjoying the art. The exploitation of the tragedy doesn't stop us from enjoying the music, and that's fine. The same goes for this painter and those who enjoy his paintings.
posted by ignignokt at 1:45 PM on November 12, 2009


Fun Fact: Did you know that between 1990 and 2004 7 out of ten white American teenagers who murdered their parents, named Slayer or Pantera as their favorite bands.* The more you know!

*Factoid completely made up.


Geraldo made it up (or something like it) first!

And on Donahue, do you remember that Donahue show where they had those kids on there on Donahue?
Tom: Yes. What about it?

And they said "Five out of five kids that kill listen to..."
Tom: No, it’s not Donahue. It was Geraldo. And it’s "Five out of five kids who kill listen to Slayer."

posted by ignignokt at 1:48 PM on November 12, 2009


ignignokt: If you had a serious reverie about Jews being tortured and murdered every time you listened to Angel of Death, you wouldn't enjoy it. Don't try to tell me listening to songs about murder is some serious meditation ritual for metal fans.

Angel of Death is relevant to Dimebag and his fans how, exactly?
posted by Dysk at 1:57 PM on November 12, 2009


Besides, you needn't have a serious reverie every time you listen to a song to be aware of the lyrics, their content, and their meaning. Having one reverie, and recalling it and perhaps reflecting briefly upon it when you listen to the song from then on is surely sufficient.

Again, not that any of this is relevant to Dimebag or his fans, as Angel of Death is a Slayer song, not Pantera or Damageplan.
posted by Dysk at 2:26 PM on November 12, 2009


Except that neither Slayer nor Rob Zombie are Pantera or Damageplan, nor were either associated with Dimebag. It's far from a simple fact that fans of Pantera/Damageplan celebrate Slayer and Rob Zombie. It's almost certainly a case of some do, some don't. You'll find this to be true of people who are not fans of Pantera or Damageplan, too.

you're correct. When I mentioned Slayer earlier, it was merely as a reference to other, more extreme examples in the genre. Metal is far from a "homogenous morass": it might have more subcategories and related genres than any other style i can think of. There's black, troll, viking, glam, doom, death, speed, thrash, power, epic... i'll stop there.

However, Dimebag and Kerry King played music together, Slayer is referenced in "Goddamn Electric", and Pantera performed covers of Slayer songs live. So it's not entirely a stretch to say that there is a relationship between the two. And while Pantera's lyrics have more personal content than horrorshow elements, "Death Trap" talks about cornering and killing a victim. So in my mind bringing up the similarities is a worthwhile element of the discussion.

One thing that has not been discussed, however - why is there an issue over this painting versus the "Stabbing at the VIBE awards" by the same artist?
posted by dubold at 2:34 PM on November 12, 2009


It's incredibly dishonest to say that there isn't significant crossover between Pantera and Slayer fans or between Pantera and fans of any metal band that uses real tragedy to make songs.
posted by ignignokt at 2:48 PM on November 12, 2009


Metal is not the homogeneous morass you seem to imply. It is perfectly possible to be a metalhead who likes Pantera, yet dislikes Cannibal Corpse and Carcass.

Certainly... but it is, unfortunately, pretty much impossible to be a metalhead who likes Pantera but doesn't listen to songs which are both violent and personal. Cannibal Corpse and Carcass, maybe not necessarily, but violence (and! force!) is a bog-standard heavy metal lyrical subject. In fact, can't think of a single metal subgenre in which this painting's level of violence (i.e. not very) would be considered unacceptable or even particularly noticeable. Hell, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" was both bloodier and more explicit than that.

Sorry, but when it comes to the issue of mildly explicit violence, heavy metal is quite homogeneous in its approval.

As for Pantera themselves, they happen to have made a career out of swaggering, threatening songs like "Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills" and "Mouth For War"... and oh, my, is that a real person getting punched on their album cover? When "testosterone" neatly describes the band's primary lyrical subjects, it's kind of odd for their fans to cry foul at mild depictions of violence.

Can we please stop peddling the fallacy that Pantera = ALL METAL and that thus, if you're a Pantera fan, you clearly don't give a toss about the violence and horrible imagery in Corpsegrinder's lyrics, because you're a fan, you sick hypocrite?

Like I said above: it's not like Pantera fans are into metal, anyway. And the above quote is exactly what I meant by that. Like it or not, "violence and horrible imagery" are a core part of what the genre is about. This is not just about Corpsegrinder or Cannibal Corpse or Carcass - violence goes straight to the heart of heavy metal. Judas Priest had violent and intentionally horrible lyrics, according to the standards of the time ("Genocide" preceded "Angel of Death" by a decade). So did Iron Maiden. Even Black Sabbath had a few. And so has nearly every single band since then, including Pantera.

The difference between bands like Pantera and bands like Carcass or Slayer is one of degree, not type... and IMHO, there's no bright moral line to be drawn between them. Not if you intend to remain morally consistent.

In short: if you seriously want to argue that metal isn't a violent genre, go ahead. I could use a laugh.
posted by vorfeed at 2:56 PM on November 12, 2009


ignignokt, to suggest that there is a significant crossover in fans of Pantera and fans of any "metal band that uses real tragedy to make songs" is the most ridiculous statement I have heard in a long time. I imagine the crossover between Pantera fans and fans of Burzum, for example, to be miniscule.

dubold, given the existence of Death Trap, don't you think bringing that up would've been more relevant than mentioning Slayer? Or is it just the fact that Angel of Death is about killing Jews, and thus we can push some buttons and get some kneejerk "this is evil!" responses?

You're right, there is going to be crossover between fans of Slayer and Pantera. However, the nature of the discourse in this threat has largely suggested that Dimebag was somehow involved in Cannibal Corpse and wrote Angel of Death, and that his fans are Carcass-listening gore-worshippers to a man. This is untrue, and reflects a general trend in modern culture to dismiss and belittle metal as a genre based on a few figureheads, without taking any serious consideration of its merit or diversity. Reality is quite a bit more nuanced than this, and seeing this shit time and time again gets on my nerves. I'm not defending the position of those who take offence, merely pointing out that many of the arguments used against them here are strawmen.
posted by Dysk at 3:04 PM on November 12, 2009


Well, gods and ducks. Ducks are pretty much perfect at being ducks.

You ever go down to the lake at like four in the morning, when the ducks think people won't be around? They're lazing around on the shore smoking, they're saying things like "ponk!" and "whee!", the ducklings are all over the place. All I'm saying is don't believe the hype.

The only unimpeachable animals are sloths and flies, and that's mainly because as their names indicate their standards are set so low.
posted by No-sword at 3:57 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought Angel of Death was a Hank Williams Sr. song.
posted by ovvl at 4:34 PM on November 12, 2009


Brother Dysk: The references I made to "Angel of Death" were based on one of the links in my post, which I'll re-link here. I first read about the painting when it was mentioned on metalsucks.net, and the comparison to "Angel of Death" was made by the poster "Axl Rosenberg". It wasn't my intention to just "push some buttons and get kneejerk 'this is evil!' responses".

I'm fully aware that metal is a varied genre, and that it's unfair to say that ALL of some category of people are a certain way. I don't think I've said that in this thread, and if I've given that impression, I apologize.

However, many of the responses on the linked websites are violent, or involve violence. someone posting as "trav" on metalsucks.net said "If somebody pays more than 5 bucks for this piece of crap, then they should be shot in both kneecaps."

So I don't think it could be said that everyone who is irate about this painting has a hatred of violence, or a desire to see human suffering treated with respect and sincerity.

Instead, I hypothesize that it's because they feel a boundary of taste has been crossed - again, interesting because metal is a genre that specializes in extreme subject matter.
posted by dubold at 4:42 PM on November 12, 2009


/me uses telekinetic powers to bunch louche moustachio's undies, and bunch them something fierce, to teach him or her some respect.

Your mistake was to assume that I'm wearing panties.

Next time it's the Rear Admiral.

NOT THE DREADED REAR ADMIRAL!
posted by louche mustachio at 5:49 PM on November 12, 2009


Instead, I hypothesize that it's because they feel a boundary of taste has been crossed

I hypothesize it's simply typical human tribalism.

99% of these goobers whining about the unfeeling injustice of this painting probably thought Micheal Jackson jokes were hilarious and are the prime audience for Celebrity Death Match. It's only offensive when it's something THEY like.

Pardon me if I quell outrage or even sympathy for Mr. Dimebag in regards to a satirical piece of artwork at his posthumous expense.
posted by tkchrist at 5:51 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


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