Thursday, January 11, 2007

Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World

I wanted to continue with the issue of fascist imagery and satire in pop as alluded to by Alex previously.

There's an art to deploying totalitarian imagery in pop media, and Laibach are the undisputed masters thereof as far as I'm concerned. I have no qualms with such subjects and imagery being explored, but if you've got the cajones to do so, you'd best also have the cajones to withstand accusations and misunderstandings. Getting your panties in a twist as though you didn't expect any backlash or offering mealy-mouthed defenses about how people need to lighten up and not take things so seriously doesn't cut it - I'm looking at you, Hanzel Und Gretyl.

Questions to consider before applying fascist tropes to your band's image or music: What do you hope to accomplish by doing so? Are you attempting to draw parallels between fascism and other current political regimes/discourses? Or between fascism and other structures (love, sex, pop music itself)? I'm not saying that explanations and justifications must be clearly stated and passed through a Nazi-detection machine before being released, just that you'd best be giving your audience something to think about rather than trying to score cheap hype via poorly planned shock. Doing the latter earns you the loss of every opportunity extending from your decision.

Some related mp3s:
-Ramones, "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World" A somewhat obvious choice, and not the most well-developed, but the title perfectly demonstrates Hegel's idea of man's need to make history, first within the domestic sphere in youth, then in state-regulated (and generally imperialist) expansion.
-Foetus, "I'll Meet You In Poland, Baby" Again we've got parallels between between sexual and world conquest, executed with all of the panache and lyrical double-entendres that are JG Thirlwell's trademark.

Some further discussion on the subject:
-A scathing indictment of Death In June written by avant art historian and literary enfant terrible Stuart Home.
-Mick Mercer goes off on Nazi fetishism with righteous indignation, although old Uncle Mick might be throwing the kinder out with the baderwasser as far as condemning the entirety of neo-folk. From a semiotic standpoint, though, Mick's 100% right: it's never "just clothes."

1 comment:

alex said...

Dude, I'll say the same thing to Mercer that I say to everyone who gets high and mighty about the whole Nazi imagery thing. And that is "Are you gonna throw out your Joy Division records?" I guess it's only outrageous and detestable when you don't like the bands if question.