this and this are very good criticisms of the song*, which I don’t entirely disagree with (meant to write ‘agree’ there, but the opposite came out and felt kinda more honest). one thing I would politely object to is the idea that the song is necessarily “explaining” rape culture rather than just expressing, artistically, a response to it. that also goes towards my discomfort with the whole term “mansplaining”, but that’s too complex to get into here.
like Fugazi’s ‘Suggestion’, there’s a deliberate conceit of appropriating the female experience in order to represent it to the audience, and okay, maybe they did it with more nuance (shock, the late 80s were better at dealing with irony?!). there’s no major accusative “we are all guilty!” - which is one of the best lyrical moments in post-hardcore imo - but, well, the lyrics to it and other songs have a lot of personally-inflected ‘ughs’. which I suppose paints him as the “sensitive” guy he both apparently is, on one level, and is critiquing or challenging on another.
it’s hard not to miss the sense of deep despair and rage at a patriarchal society, I think. and that in itself - in its emotional honesty - is something worthwhile that isn’t typically present in a lot of music, even (especially) if it isn’t typical hardcore blustering anger (incidentally, I spent some time reading the Rites of Spring lyrics sheet, and wow, there seems like a lot of songs about breaking up with girls there). I also think the lines: “who cares if it’s right as long as it’s fun? [later changing to ‘punk’]/so if someone gets hurt and then the cops come, then/no/one/talks”, aren’t about explaining the female experience nearly as much they are about the male one - and if anything, the criticism that came into my head on hearing the lines was that James Brooks is not a jock, he’s just putting words into their mouths.
but even simplistic as it may be - and also thus effective - it seems like an important message to internalise, in a post-Steubenville world (I’m not even American, but I turned on the TV one morning and Dr. Phil was on, talking about how he didn’t think that’s “who those boys really were”). it’s still not as fundamentally challenging as Fugazi - which is a pretty high bar - but it feels more topical. okay, I’ve rambled enough and this has semi-consciously turned into a James Brooks-style blog post, so I’ll stop.
(*does this count as sub-reblogging like subtweeting on Twitter? I just don’t feel like I’ve marshalled my thoughts enough to wade into the main reblog chain, or to write the post I want to do about the four songs anyway. funny how Twitter seems to valorise imposing yourself onto a conversation, anyway)