I was thrilled yesterday when I saw that a couple had written a whole rebuttal to my piece on Ryan Adams, Touch, Feel, Lose on my buds site http://www.pickinguprocks.com and the controversy surrounding him after the New York Times story was written, accusing him of being a serial abuser. A small confession; I really hate a lot of these current movements for their self righteous, common language and catch phrasing like ‘speaking your truth’, the over use of the word victim when it’s a stretch, being woke and throwing the word abuse out too liberally. It smells of annoying people that need to calm the fuck down and catch a breathe.
In that same breathe, hell I know a lot needs to change out there and women have gotten the short end of the stick in so much of the business world. People in power abuse that power and there is no denying that fact. Listen to Joan Jett telling stories of what it was like for her band, the Runaways to arrive in a club for soundcheck or to record. One must simply live as a woman to know these things. I want to make things better, not follow the same mistakes of those before us. The first thing I noticed on the post, was this picture where someone took a marker and started blackening Ryan out. How frighteningly and cruelly symbolic. And that is exactly what this new power has done to him. Within a couple of weeks, they basically stripped him of his entire career. Does this terrify anyone else? I know that I felt differently when Bill Cosby began losing endorsements and the networks began reacting to his allegations. I believed he was guilty and hoped the courts would find the truth and administer the just punishment. But void of defendants, facts and a sound judge the general public is now deciding fates quickly and without critical thinking. I’ve always defended the underdog in most situations because they needed someone on their side. Not because I agree with them but there is a tendency to abuse the abusers too. In prisons, with bad cops, people can get too full of their own power if they feel they’re right. And in the Ryan Adams case, the women are right to feel wronged. They were dangled fame for sexual favors. I’m sure they really respected and sincerely wanted to work with him. It’s a good relevant story because it brings the millennial into the conversation and a reminder that the same bad behavior is happening even in our enlightened indie world of 2019.
I feel if you write out your opinion in a piece, you basically just need to let it ride. That’s what my husband keeps telling me anyway. Going back and forth with comments and further explanation should not be necessary if you spoke your peace effectively. However, for my own sanity, I must write another piece. My previous points were not about Ryan, but how music is getting sacked. Now its a little about Ryan and how humans are abusing their newfound power.
Okay, the unofficial breakdown of my own private rebuttal:
In ‘Another View on Ryan Adams’, they state:
However a piece of art isn’t a person. It doesn’t have a soul, nor does it feel any emotion and cannot be emotionally abused. Art doesn’t need our protection,
Apparently it does because people are banning Michael Jackson songs in whole countries this week. This is based on a biased movie. Based on ‘feels’. Not backed-up fact-checking. Simply manipulative emotional tugging, sought out and paid for by HBO . This is ludicrous! And it’s happening so quickly.
In this case these people are the women who were victimized by Adams’ sexual and emotional abuse, and this is the most important part of all of this by far.
It is and it isn’t. For me, how it’s handled is also very significant. I don’t know these women personally but I do have empathy. I studied and read every article I could find on the alleged abuse. My emotional investment is on behalf of fairness. I believe women have a unique ability to fix complicated issues without stooping to violence but I do think occasionally and in this case are guilty of laying on the gas pedal. We can’t entirely abandon the legal system. Instead of blacking people out, which I find disgraceful and more barbaric than propositioning sex for a slot on a tour any day of the week, I would love to rally to understand the laws and legal agreements that allowed all this recent despicable injustice. We could change the outcome for future artists, including women. I will support any of those changes to stop this from happening again but I will never support taking someone’s entire career in this way. And if you say, but he took their career – I argue that he tried, but that is not a power that I believe anyone should hold nor do I feel it fits the crime here.
Abusers who violently and harmfully occupy artistic space, keeping women out of that space, should not be collecting huge checks for their streaming and radio royalties.
I hope I never feel self righteous enough to make statements like this. Who feels they want to cast the first stone in this situation? I certainly don’t. I’m highly imperfect and until I can say I’m free of any wrongdoing, I feel it’s not mine nor anyone’s right to say what others should be allowed in their lives.
..imagine how his music might sound or feel if you were one of those women, or if your sisters, friends, or mothers were abused by him.
Truth be told, this line was a little insulting to me. Honestly, my sisters, mom, nieces, and grandmothers, would all eat this punk for breakfast. But the sad truth is most of them, including myself have been through real physical and sexual abuse, violent horrible stuff that did not involve choices.
To me it’s a very sad time for music. In saying that I can say for women, perhaps it’s a time of ignited power. I just think with that power comes great responsibility. We don’t want to be guilty of the exact same thing we’re fighting, corruption of power. I don’t think the writers give women enough credit for our strength and ability to grow even stronger from injustice. These women were swindled by an asshole. Some may have been a casualty of poor decisions. I’ll reserve the word victim for the 15 year old Ava and after the investigation. Sexual and physical abuse have levels but its hard for me to dole out the same punishment for a fender bender than it is a 10 car collision with fatalities even though both are considered wrecks. And I certainly have never like being labeled a victim.
In conclusion and for the short attention spanned:
- The punishment should fit the crime.
- Art DOES need an advocate.
- Banning of music is bad
- Blacking out people from society is too old testament for me