tisdag 21 augusti 2012

East and West

When reviewing Brev till Prinsen av Mogadonien a book critic at the Swedish public television made some remarks about the Western culture and the Eastern culture(s). According to her, We the westerners don't consider the cultural exchange we could get from reading Eastern authors and artists. We the westerners stubbornly stick to our own culture of art and literature. This book critic also claims that Arabic people are more interested in western literature and culture than westerners are about theirs. I wonder if she has ever actually met an Arabic person in her whole life.

I've lived with people from all over the world for many years - Buddhists, Christians, Hindu, Jews, Muslims, Sikh, some indigenous shamanistic religions and so forth. When communicating with people from all these different places it's a reasonable and courteous thing to really listen to them each separately, to give them their space and time of expression and to respect them for who they are and not what you think they are. Assumptions like "that one is an Israeli Jew, I guess he's a crazy Zionist" is not really helping anyone in international socialising. Another thing you might consider is not to talk about yourself constantly. It doesn't get you anywhere, it can be rude and it's really egoistic and self-centred.

One thing I have noticed is that all the monotheistic people love to talk about their own culture. If you mention anything that aren't related to their own culture they listen to you for about 3 minutes, then try to switch back to the subject at hand, their supreme and overwhelmingly flawless culture. I had to listen to a neighbour go on and on about his Zimbabwe and Mugabe, which was grossly misunderstood by foreigners and beloved by his own people, of course. He also pointed out, with brows raised, that the Zimbabwe people are good Christians. Okay, good to know...
Another time I asked a neighbour how things were in Tunis (before the Tunisian Revolution, tension was rising in the country) and over an hour he raged about what a great country Tunis was and what a proud Muslim past it had, and what a prick Ben Ali was. I only asked him out of concern for his family - I didn't want a fucking propaganda speech.
Another time I was asked if I remembered my Old Testament, which I didn't (and don't). That rendered me a long speech on how fulfilling, essential and strong the message of God is, if you read it in Hebrew. Imagine if I give jackshit about the fucking Bible-thumpers nowadays. He also talked long and hard about what a special place Israel is and how history seems to (?) circulate around it.

At the same time, every time I've asked these neighbours, strangers, exchange-students if they know anything about Swedish culture, about Swedish musicians, about any kind of Western authors no one knew shit. Conclusion: They were all self-centred, egoistic and isolated idiots from monotheistic backgrounds. And I couldn't care less what happens to them.

They don't care about my culture, I don't care about theirs. Fine by me.

So, miss latte-sipping book critic, don't pretend that people from example the Middle East, South-east Asia or East Africa really know anything about Sweden, about Swedish authors and artists, because they don't. And they don't want to know anything. Their way of speaking to you makes it really obvious.
These Abraham-followers from Middle East, North Africa asf. only care about their own culture, their own religion and their own society. I don't have any problems with status quo - at least they're honest about their indifference towards us.

måndag 6 augusti 2012

The puzzle of DSBM

The suffering artist, the boxed self-mutilator and, contradictory, the emulator of depression has found its way to many listeners over these last ten-fifteen years through a scene of degenerate hipsters who add influences accordingly to their free-for-all experimental soup. The notion that it's a scene consisting of former black metal artists is questionable, to say the least. Rather it's a mash-up of persons and constellations of eclectic backgrounds, which form this web of unholy matrimony in music. The quality of this music ranges from pure hacks to highly developed artistry, and the quantity of the scene is, or has, swelled considerably since its dawn.

But what concerns me is one of the core in the lyrical contents in DSBM. Thematically it's nothing new, the old influences from blues comes first to mind, also there's many others beyond that musical era. But the mere quest to express deepest depression, to somehow find its core and thrive on it in its most negative ways perplexes me. If you're really that down, so fucking bored with life, how come you have any will left to create songs and record them? Real suicidal depression is a terrible power. It can swallow you whole and cut all bonds you might have to this world before you even come to realize it's an emotional dead-end, eating away at you. I've seen people vanish completely from the face of the earth, to later appear on the news, washed up on the banks under a bridge or hanging from their own ceiling lights. Before their disappearance they hadn't the strength to do anything, not even get up out of bed and make food to survive. The only viable option to rid themselves of their plight was to end their life. That's real suicidal depression. To try and emulate this mental black hole is to ridicule those people that actually didn't make it, who didn't manage to escape it. They were in dire need of assistance and we failed to help them in their most crucial hour.

If it was just a matter of trying to trigger that emotional feeling without any thematically strings attached I wouldn't have any problems with it. Many bands have done so in the past without any plump motives like DSBM bands. Or if you're out to gain energy from negativity, like Abandon (RIP) did, then it's also another thing - trying to create positivity, to progress something productive out of a benighted state isn't an easy thing but a honourable task for any worthy artist and in which case I salute those efforts.