A few days ago, Bikini Kill’s Tobi Vail made a strong impression on Twitter with a tweet addressed to Weezer and other shoegaze/dream pop music – although I never consider Weezer shoegaze or even dream pop, but what do I know?? Here is what she tweeted 4 days ago:
“Can someone explain to my why people who play guitar have decided to revive shoegaze/dream pop and embrace dumb retro shit like Weezer in an era filled with violence, economic inequality, and abortion bans? The guitar pedal industrial complex is not the sound of the revolution.”
Ouch! I don’t even like Weezer, but did they ask for something? This looked like a direct attack although Tobi continued and progressively aimed at the larger target: the “bands that suck”:
“Sorry to be so grumpy but I couldn’t make it until noon before clicking on another touring band only to be assaulted by the sound of their dumb guitar pedal bullshit”
“The post-modern culture industrial complex wants you to feel that way yet every moment is new everything we do is happening in the present. But how do we engage in cultural production that builds a better world? Culture is a tool of resistance, history can be a map.”
“Supporting bands that suck is not the path forward. The music industry’s job is to sell music. I’m talking about building a culture of resistance through music that makes us not want to die in this late capitalist white supremacist patriarchal bullshit world.”
I understand she has to maintain her Riot Grrl status, but what followed was so predictable: Guess what? Weezer’s fans didn’t like it. She tweeted a bit later:
“What I’ve learned today: a bunch of assholes really like the music I dislike and misunderstand the question I’m asking: why are people who play guitar focused on performative introversion, abstract soundscapes, and banal formalism while there are literal fascists on the streets?”
What did she expect? She directly attacked Weezer, a very successful band, and whether you like or dislike them, you have to expect retaliation from their legions of fans! Is she using Twitter for the first time? And since her tweet was quite aggressive, I bet Weezer’s fans were not so nice to her. The second part of her tweet is interesting: Should any art be political? I honestly don’t think so, art is an expression of the human spirit: this is vast and art expression should be inclusive. Tobi Vail has no right to dictate what art should be, and introspection has always been part of what art is. On the other hand, fascists have been in the streets for a long time and will still exist after Bikini Kill is long gone. Should all songs be political? This is not even a serious question.
But Tobi continued with several tweets like these ones:
”Also learned: 1. I don’t want to talk to tech bros in the pit 2. Weezer fans are bullies And remembered: 1. internet stalkers punish and hunt women 2. this is not a place for a writer: “gotcha!” discourse is stunted and not productive dialogue”
“The reason I changed my settings on that shit is because I got a lot sexist harassment and it was problematic. I don’t think it’s productive to try to talk to people who don’t respect women. DO YOU GUYS WANT TO SEE ALL MY GUITAR PEDALS?“
“Women and girls are at greater risk of experiencing cyberviolence, especially severe types of harassment and sexualized online abuse, and this form of violence is tied to larger social problems of sexism and misogyny.” A tweet accompanied with an essay on toxic masculinity.
I am a woman too, and I despise sexism, but this is not helping! Launching a direct attack on an all-men band and calling their fans bullies or stalkers because they retaliate is irresponsible and childish. This was not sexist harassment, misogyny, cyberviolence, abuse, or toxic masculinity… She is the one who started the attack on Weezer, a band, I repeat that I don’t even like. Mediocre groups abound and they are not all fronted by men, why didn’t she attack a famous female band or artist? There are many dream-pop female singers and she could have picked up plenty of names among the Grammy Awards nominees. or maybe she think that Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, or Olivia Rodrigo are political enough.
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back in the studio in January 1969, three months after they had nailed down 30 songs for The White Album