Hardcore Inclusion in a PC World

The quotes in this post come from Dan Ozzi’s article on Noisey. You should read it, he’s better at this than me: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/hardcore-in-hindsight-gorilla-biscuits-in-a-modern-era

Nothing bugs me more than like-minded, liberal thinking individuals attacking each other over minutiae and language nuance. When it comes from the hardcore community, it bugs me even more.

In the 140-character world of Twitter especially, using the wrong terms or failing to use exactly the right terms can immediately get someone labeled as an enemy. No discussion, no questioning, no attempt to reach out, just “this person said something wrong, therefore they are the enemy and we have to take them down”. Then the dog pile begins and allies fight each other while the real enemies get away with murder.

Apparently someone misconstrued a comment by the notoriously inclusion supporting Anthony Civorelli (of Gorilla Biscuits and Civ fame) spoken before Gorilla Biscuits played their anti-white supremacist, inclusion anthem “Degradation” as being racist:

“In 2016, people still have to wear shirts that say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ No shit. Brown, white, yellow, black, we all fucking matter. Everybody here matters. Do not let the media, the schools, institutions, influence you. We are one family, one people.”

And I get it. Out of context and bereft of critical thought it could be construed as Civ saying “AllLivesMatter”, the stealthily racist retort to “BlackLivesMatter”. But that’s the point: out of context or without considering the source or the intent. Civ’s not the enemy. He’s on our side. He said something good the wrong way, but his intent was still good, in his own words:

“The whole point of it was how I thought it was a sad state of affairs that, as a people, as the human race, we need to remind people that black lives matter,” he says. “That’s what it was about—not that black people are wearing those shirts, but that they need to.”

If I may digress, one of the main reasons this particular issue has bugged me is because it involves Civ. While I’m not a diehard Gorilla Biscuits or Civ (the band) follower, I am a fan and I respect Anthony Civorelli a lot. I’ve heard Civ numerous times in live recordings and in person where he talks about community and coming together in the music and he always accentuates the aspects of hardcore that I respect the most: inclusion and community and that sense of needing to step up and say something when things are wrong. Hearing Civ talk and sing about that kind of stuff is part of what led me to get my ATHC (Austin Texas Hardcore) tattoo, to further solidify my connection to what I see as the best aspects of that culture. Those are ideas that I want to be a part of and to see people try to defame him for a misreading of his words is saddening.

I’ve found myself defending misunderstood/misread liberals often with like-minded friends and acquaintances and I’ve had people tell me that “intent doesn’t matter”, that “wrong is wrong is wrong” and you know what, that’s true … in many cases. We’re often too quick to declare enemies though, when a simple: “whoa, what do you mean by that?” may be a better course of action. In the absence of any other evidence to the contrary we should assume best intentions. Maybe someone’s not up on all the latest lingo; PC language is constantly shifting and constantly under debate. Maybe it’s because they aren’t good at articulating their thoughts, especially in the sound bite, 140-character limited modern world, or between songs like in Civ’s case. Maybe they’re just behind the times, but intent … intent matters. Sometimes someone just says the wrong thing in the wrong way though and maybe the best reaction is not to tear them down, but to talk to them instead. In the hardcore community especially the onus shouldn’t be on the individual to “fit in”, but to “join in” and that requires the community to be accepting and not isolated or exclusive.

We’re never going to win against the actual monsters if we keep turning away allies who just may not be up to speed on where current movements are at. And believe me, as one gets older and busier it gets harder to keep up unless one makes keeping up a constant top priority. We shouldn’t be turning people away, we should be bringing them in. We need to look beyond the gut reactions and look stop hearing dog whistles where there are none, just because we want so badly to fight monsters. We need to learn to recognize allies not just by their dogma, but by their intent. If we fail to do this then we lose strength and there are real monsters out there to fight. As Dan Ozzi put it in his article:

“At a time when there are legitimate dangers facing the country, including a basketball-colored narcissist seeking to strip away rights and rule the nation like a fascist, this eagerness to ignore intent and context in the name of PC hysteria is producing a new generation of punk and hardcore bands that avoid sociopolitical issues altogether and instead focus on frivolous subjects like drinking, moshing, and fashion trends.”