Tag Archives: sexism

Elephant in the Room: Emily’s Voice

27 Apr

The due known as the Indigo Girls are my besties. i mean they don’t know it–but they’ve been there for a lot of moments in my life. Nomads, Indians, and Saints at my first job. Become you when I was a lonely only child in a rural town slowly figuring out that I didn’t really connect with anyone. Come On Now Social when I was dipping a toe into politics. Shaming of the Sun my first year of college, alone in the dorm. Despite Our Differences when my mate and I went to Zoo-Tunes in Seattle. They (via their music) have been my support system for 2 decades. Many people, especially lesbians have much the same experience.

Which is why I feel very defensive for Emily’s voice. Criticism is creeping in. I would have said something in the Reddit group if I had seen the post before it was archived. People were saying:
Emily’s voice i,s worse/bad. They say it cracks, and that she can no longer hit/sustain notes.

I noticed something off some of the times (not all), but thought it was lack of breathe control from obesity, honestly. Emily had gotten very heavy there for awhile, and I just figured her overall fitness was impacting her singing–nothing irreversible.

BUT those people said they noticed it on a couple recent albums and at a concert, and would not be buying IG concert tickets.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!

Valid reasons not to buy concert tickets:

The artist is chronically late to concerts.

The artist always cancels shows.

The artist is so fucked up they only sing 2 songs.

The artist pukes on stage.

The artist molests you.

The artist falls to the ground on stage.

But seriously, fans of the Indigo Girls are not going to attend concerts because of a intermittent voice issue?!  Jesus, have some empathy and BE A FAN.

A voice can be iffy for any number of reasons ranging from the mundane to emergent (this list is not exhaustive):
-dairy
-alcohol
-weed
-tired/fatigue (both body & voice)
-cold/flu/Covid
-smoking
-screaming too much
-aging
-(early) Parkinson’s Disease
-many syndromes cause it
-stroke

Have a little empathy and loyalty! Emily (both IG) have been with us through thick and thin for over 35 years!
When your spouse burns dinner-you divorce them?
When your child gets in trouble at school-you put them up for adoption?

And the Indigo Girls PUT ON A SHOW! It’s not just the singing. It’s the commraderie, the activism, the community visibility. Anyone who has belted out Closer to Fine with everyone at a show knows the communal pride and excitement I’m talking about! Emily’s writing talent and musical ability is amazing–and that has not changed. There’s a lot more to a band than just hitting and sustaining notes.

Also, men seem to get away with aging voices, ruined voices and still sell albums and concert tickets. The Rolling Stones are OLD. And honestly, their voices suck at this point. But you don’t hear about that–they’re legends! Dave Matthews often has problems, and his voice has degraded, but he still sells out 3 shows at The Gorge. Every year. I could probably name 100 men with iffy in the first place voices to major shimmer and jitter and degradation. Don’t hold women to different standards.

I wish Emily well with whatever is going on ❤

And fellow “fans” get it together! Show some loyalty for a band that has been there for you for ages >:-/

Eminem: Music to be Murdered by Album Review

30 Nov

I had to deliberate long and hard to decide where to place the album on the list.  It contains probably the best rap song of all time (yup, I said it) and also a really powerful song, that’s ne of the best of anybody this year.  Unfortunately, it also contains that Eminem-brand misogyny, violence, and toxic masculinity, as well as a denial of white privilege.  I used to overlook those things a lot because I was younger, and I could think of the guy’s real life upbringing and struggles and somewhat justify all that toxicity.  Rap is a historical record of racial politics and socio-economic struggle.  But also, it’s 2020, and these issues are at the forefront, and Marshall Mathers has had plenty of time to get counseling, perspective, and education.  So I could not bring myself to rate it in the Awesome grouping for those reasons.

Premonition- Intro:  I don’t care for all the violent and murder imagry in his whole catalog.  I do like the Alfred Hitchcock sample.  Eminem talks about fans and critics.  How each are fickle.  And at least he admits in the song he sounds whiny.  The system is unfair to most–just try to be a woman (of color) in the music business.

Unaccommodating:  Em can rap so fast!  I’m impressed anew every time I hear it.  He can both say words quickly, and write verse that makes sense, and has meaning.

You Gon’ Learn:  The chipmunkee backing is different.  I like when Eminem is cheeky/funny.  It’s hard to listen to his misogyny and all the “bitches” peppered throughout most of the songs.

Alfred:  This Hitchcock vocal is even better than the first.

Those Kinda Nights:  More misogyny.  I really don’t know Ed Sheeran’s deal.  He looks like an unfortunate nerd to be, and I think sings mostly romance-pop?  And here he is contributing to some major sexism.  I don’t care for that.  Also an English-accent “dance” has no place here.  The chorus is catchy, but I’d like less pro-sexual harassment/assult.

In Too Deep:  A slower song about not being happy in a relationship.  The backing music is nice, and Eminem provides very detailed writing that tells an entire story. 

Godzilla:  The chords are really fun and interesting.  The references like loch ness, and Blockbuster, etc… are many, and they are fun to hear come together.  You can hear the background music begging to ramp up before the greatest rap verse of all time.  I DO NOT KNOW HOW HE BOTH RAPS SO FAST AND SAYS SOMETHING SENSICAL WHILE DOING IT.  All caps necessary.  It is so fast from 2:57 to 3:27 (and also preceded with pretty fast rap).  And I saw him do it live on YouTube so I know it’s not just tricky engineering–Eminem can back it up.  He is the most talented rapper of all time.  This song beats the prior best, most fastest rap (also set by him) “Rap God” Jesus!  And this is the primary reason I grit my teeth through all the misogyny because the man has pure talent–though I’d like it if he’d drop the hate.

Darkness:  Good, subtle use of the sampled song.  This song transitions from what I thought was a personal account of Eminem’s own demons, into the Las Vegas spree killing.  Good word play with “shots” and “loaded” between drinking and shooting.  The song sends a pretty strong message about mental illness and America’s lack of gun reform.  It really hits home without crossing the line into preachy.  Well done.  The song ends with the many, many, many school and public spree killer news announcements, and it’s super-effective. Perhaps the best thing Eminem has ever said.  Respect.

Leaving Heaven:  Some war and PTSD imagry.  He speaks about race, and socioeconomic status.  And he’s right that he dealt with poverty and bullying and a broken family.  Still, I don’t agree that Eminem’s difficult background means he doesn’t have white privilege.  He still has benefited from the color of his skin.  He can occupy certain spaces that POC are gate-kept from.  So I don’t buy into that line of thought, but yeah, poverty makes things hard, as does reverse racism.  

Yah Yah:  I like that it’s upbeat, and I enjoy the group singing, which reminds me of a party.  I didn’t like the, “yaw yaw yaw, yaw yaw” sequence.

Stepdad:  Sample of a dad being rough with a kid.  Some pretty fucked up images of abuse featured in the song.  And fantasy of revenge.  If the listener can get passed the graphic content, they’ll hear a complete and detailed story.  It’s good writing about a tough topic.

Marsh:  A lot of call backs to his own alter ego and catalog. Clever references sprinkled in to the song.  If there was a throw away on the album though, this would be it.  A little weaker than the others.  

Never Love Again:  Catchy.  Beautiful inclusion of piano, and layered voice.  The breakdown rap is interesting and catchy.  The song makes it clear that Eminem’s toxic relationships are just as much addiction as his substance abuse.

Little Engine:  The syncopation is the pre-chorus is good.  It’s expert the way Eminem is able to portray a conversation between two people with just his voice.  And it is neat that the words in the chorus sound like the sound of cars zooming around a track.  “Vin vin go” or something.  

Lock It Up:  An R&B vibe with the slow background music.

Farewell:  I don’t like listening to this kind of talk.  The slut and cunt of it all, is just too much misogyny. Good chorus or not.

No Regrets:  Gosh, the featured sounds like Akon a lot.  Makes me miss those early ots!

I Will:  To show success in terms of violence and “murdering” the beat is such toxic masculinity.  I hear that from male stand up comedians to: Killed it, murdered out there, etc…  And they are a problematic group.  I like that Eminem wants to prove his stature at the top of the rap game, however.  Just use better language.

Alfred-Outro:  Ties in with the last song, and shows the album was about proving the last song true.

Karen

5 Aug

*Disclaimer* This post is going to start out heavy, as I describe the historical context, then get humorous (to some, hopefully most). 

 

Calling white, (are they always suburban or upper-middle class?) women “Karens” came about to describe this demographic’s (micro) aggressions towards those of “lessor” (as judged by the power structure in charge) societal standing, usually POC.  And it’s rooted in the history of violence against POC in the name of protecting white women.  White men, have often beat, maimed, tortured, and killed black men especially in the name of standing up for a white woman’s honor.  For example, here’s a summary (not mine) of the Emmitt Till case:

  1. There have been any number of versions of what happened — or didn’t happen — on a hot day of Aug. 24, 1955, in a small convenience store outside Money, Miss.  At one point, Till entered the store to buy a Coke.  The clerk in the store, a 21-year-old white woman named Carolyn Bryant later alleged Till had sassed her.  Some versions said he tried to flirt with Bryan, or that he boasted of having white girl friends back in Chicago, or that he touched her, or he may have wolf-whistled at her.  Whatever happened, Bryant subsequently told her husband and his brother-in-law about the interaction – or someone did.  Four days after Till entered that store, Bryant’s husband, Roy, and J.W. Milam, in the dead of night went to the home of Till great-uncle, where Till was staying, and took him away.  They drove around with the child in Bryant’s truck and eventually dragged him into a barn where they set upon him.  They beat Till, gouged out one of his eyes, tied him to a 75-pound cotton gin fan, shot him in the head and dumped his body into the Tallahatchie River.  When he did not return home the uncle’s house, Till was reported as missing.  Bryant and Milam were interviewed by deputies and acknowledged taking Till away, although they swore when they last saw him he was alive.  Unusually for that time and that place, the two were arrested and charged with kidnapping.  Three days later, Till’s mutilated and bloated body was recovered from the river.  The body was sent home to Chicago, where Till’s mother, Mamie Till Bailey, demanded the casket be open so mourners who filed past it could see what hate had done to her child.  Jet magazine printed a photograph of the body, further arousing indignation over the killing [I didn’t put it here, but it’s easily searchable].  The crime was so heinous even the white authorities in Mississippi were moved to condemn the killing.  Bryant and Milam were charged with murder and stood trial in September, 1955.  After the end of five days of testimony – including the defense claim Till’s body was so wounded it was impossible to say with certainty it was in fact Till – the all-white jury returned a not guilty verdict after less than an hour’s deliberations.  Bryant and Milam were freed.  The next year they gave a paid interview to Look magazine in which they freely admitted murdering Till.  What followed was a long, slow decline marked by arrests for various crimes, and their eventual deaths, both from cancer, Milam in 1980 and Bryant in 1994.  Carolyn Bryant, having divorced Roy, faded from memory until 2017.  Then, a Duke University professor who had written a book on the murder, revealed that Bryant (who had re-married) in an interview for the book admitted she had lied about the interaction with Emmett Till.  “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Bryant was quoted in an excerpt in Vanity Fair as saying she “felt tender sorrow” for Till’s mother, who died in 2003.  

 

There is nothing funny about that.  And it makes sense that it’s women who are being called out on social media for being a “Karen” because it is specific to the above described behavior.  And that white woman playing the victim card needs to cease, because it can cause real harm.  Here’s a current example:

      2. When Amy Cooper, a white woman, called 911 from an isolated patch in Central Park where she was standing with her unleashed dog on Memorial Day, she said an “African-American man”              was threatening her, emphasizing his race to the operator.  Moments before Ms. Cooper made the call, the man, Christian Cooper, an avid bird-watcher, had asked her to leash her dog, and              she had refused.

 

I am sure everyone encountered on that story on social media.  It just goes to show those that don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.  Also socialization is firmly entrenched.  This present day Karen has brought about a lot of throwing the name about.  Have a mask tantrum?  Karen.  Ask to speak to a manager?  Karen.  Write something somebody disagrees with on Twitter?  Karen.  It’s getting a overused, I’d say.  And not just to describe the specific, problematic behaviors in the above two scenarios.  It’s becoming a catch-all term for white women.  And racially, I think that is fair.  Honestly.  White women have pretty much stayed under the radar (as far as I know) when it comes to troublesome race relations.  It’s time we accept that our fair skin allows us to walk through life with a certain privilege.  That said, I don’t like the current overuse of Karen when it is more along the lines of calling out any white female for speaking out.  Even when she’s right.  Even when she has a point.  Using “Karen” to shame women into submission is not addressing the issue at hand, and it’s backward misogyny.  Because let’s face it, there are plenty of problematic privileged behaviors white men display too.  Not all the white men are actively doing the murdering atrocious crimes these days.  Some of the men are also participating in microaggressions.  All of us need to be educated on our privilege and the ways we can use it for good or evil.  And both sexes need to do better.  So I am petitioning for us to also call out those Chads and Spencers for their shitty actions also, so it doesn’t become just another misogynistic slur against women.

The historical context of “Karen” is important to know.  And now you have a superficial overview, and I encourage all my readers to delve more deeply into the race, class, privilege, and sex regarding the topic.  The rest of this post I’m going to talk about the lighter (no pun intended), more jokey side to this “Karen” phenomenon.

Have you ever noticed sometimes it’s Karen and sometimes it’s Becky?  My mate and I decided every age range has its own Karen-type name.  I think there’s a list online, but purely as a thought experiment and for funs-z-fun my mate and I brainstormed names.  And not ones to be sexist, we paired each Karen with it’s male counterpart.  Then we realized not everyone is middle-upper-class, there are also lower class white people (unkindly known as white trash or trailer trash), and they have their own sets of names.  Here’s the list we came up with:

child:         

$-Female = McKayla           

$-Male = Ayden                   

Poor-female = Candy               

Poor-Male = Ryker

teen-20s:   

$-Female = Becky                

$-Male = Dillon                     

Poor-female = Tonya               

Poor-Male = Colt

30-40s:       

$-Female = Karen               

$-Male = Spencer                 

Poor-female = Tammy             

Poor-Male = Rodney

40s-60:       

$-Female = Susan               

$-Male = Chad                     

Poor-female = Rhonda           

Poor-Male = Wyatt

 

Let us know if we got it right.

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/A-slaying-that-haunts-America-Emmett-Till-13814421.php
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/nyregion/amy-cooper-false-report-charge.html