Even Punk Rockers Deserve Respect

11 May

Hello readers! Sorry for the lack of updates in the past month. I’m afraid that my blinders went on as I headed for the finish line of university. Which, by the way, ended up being a successful run.

As my formal return to my blog, I wanted to speak about something related to my Journalism degree and interests in music. It’s been a topic that’s been on my mind since Patrick Stump spoke candidly about his depression and lack of motivation brought on by disrespectful “fans” at his shows, but came back to the surface when Tom Gabel of Against Me! came out as Transgender, and that she will soon be adopting the name of Laura Jane Grace.

Now, maybe these two topics seem so far apart, especially with my own unfamiliarity with Against Me!, but both of these topics bring up issues of respect in both the fan community and in journalism.

Patrick’s issues seem to stem from some members of the Fall Out Boy fan community. It’s a problem that all the members of Fall Out Boy have been facing since the band went on hiatus, and it’s the fan community’s unwillingness to change. I can understand the frustration and wishing Fall Out Boy would get back together. I especially know what it’s like to not be happy with the direction the project is going. However, there’s a difference between not being happy with something, and constantly berating someone both online and at their shows.

I mean, seriously. What makes someone think it’s appropriate to pay $20-$50 for a show just to tell someone that you liked them better when they were fat? That’s not just terrible manners and general horribleness, that’s wasteful spending on top of it. And all because they think telling someone that they think he’s horrible now will send him back to the band he used to play in? Well, guess what? Patrick Stump is now reluctant to go back to music. How’s that for results?

I haven’t seen much terrible fan reaction from Against Me! fans about Tom, but there were plenty of reports that initially didn’t respect her pronoun preference that were later changed. The AP style guide dictates that a reporter has to respect what the person identifies as/presents themselves as, but shouldn’t that be obvious before something goes to print?

Of course, there will always be the people, journalists or not, who won’t respect gender pronouns and name changes and who will act like this will kill the band.

Friends, journalists and fans, I ask you to have some sense of respect when dealing with things like this. Whether they be someone you love creating music that might not be up to your standards, living as the gender they truly identify with, or whatever else it may be, you’re still dealing with a human being trying to live their life. A performer is not a robot, and you never know if your negative words are going to effect them or not. I’m not asking to be completely uncritical, but don’t be a dick about what you don’t like or don’t understand. And as a journalist, you have to be fair in your assessment.

And, of course, respectful of what someone is going through.

1 Comment

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in General, Internet, Music


Tags: , , , , , , ,

One response to “Even Punk Rockers Deserve Respect

  1. dubael

    May 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Great article and great perspective. I too understand wishing an artist would go back to what they had done in the past, I felt that way after discovering Dresden Dolls and then finding out that Amanda Palmer had stopped. However I didn’t say a thing and voila, she’s back doing stuff as a part of Dresden Dolls. Did my silence help her decide? Well I know it didn’t irritate her or motivate her to withdraw from music.
    When Drew Hayes was alive, I would read comments by other about what they did or didn’t like of his book “Poison Elves”, when I bothered to comment on his work it was simply this. “Drew I love your work and as long as I enjoy what you do, no matter where you take it, I will continue to buy your book, the day you go somewhere I don’t like, is the day I’ll stop buying. This is your journey, this is your path, I’m along for the ride until I need to get off and go my own way. Follow your path, do what makes you happy.” or words to that effect, it’s been a while and I don’t remember exactly.
    If a performer or artist does something outrageously offensive, yes, that is worth commenting on, but face it, you’re dealing with people who are in this field for one or two main reasons, they love what they do so yelling at them is just an annoyance (and they can easily continue to do what they love in private, so where’s your capitalist intervention now fan boy?) or they do it for the reaction and attention, in which case if they are doing it for that and the joy of performing, telling them to stop evolving is counterproductive as you pointed out with Patrick Stump’s reaction to the whining, pissing and moaning of his FOB fans.
    Now if Jane Fan-girl and Joe Fan-boy want to revel in the thrill of messing with the cornflakes of their favourite performers, who am I to intervene, oh wait, I know, I’m an enthusiast of that person’s music or art and I want them to keep on with what they are doing. Ergo it behoves me to speak up and defend something that I love and cherish.
    This is not a call to arms of the fan base to censor or limit the rights of others but to remind everyone that if you disagree with the next person who is running down your favourite act or artist to let that performer know you don’t agree, that instead you support their work and hope that they’ll keep on with their work as they have.


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