END OF A YEAR, bzw. ihr Frontmann Patrick, wurden auf ihrer letzten Euro-Tour des Sexismus angeprangert und erhielten Beschuldigungen, die von Bordell-Besuchen bis hin zu einem sexistischen Lebensstil reichten, sodass zwei Shows aufgrund dieser Vorwürfe gecancelt werden mussten. Wir haben bei Patrick nachgefragt und erhielten ein ehrliches und vor allem ausführliches Statement zu den Beschuldigungen. Lest selbst.
Die Antworten wurden extra nicht übersetzt, da das evtl. vieles aus dem Zusammenhang gerissen hätte.
Hey Patrick, Eure Deutschland-Tour ist vorüber. Wie war es?
Hi. Yeah, we did enjoy it. I never had that common experience during adolescence of being gossiped about. Entering a room where I felt a good percentage of the crowd was actively waiting for me to say something they could take offense to was a new experience for me. A lot of young people go through that all the time. It was interesting to see that side of things. I like challenge and this tour provided it.
Da sind ein paar böse Gerüchte über Euch, im speziellen aber über Dich im Umlauf. Im Klartext: Du sollst sexistische Sichtweisen vertreten. Möchtest Du Dich äußern?
Ultimately, that’s a cultural difference. Those videos have been up for months, along with many other videos that don’t have any of the same themes. No one in the US has approached me about this because American audiences understand the satirical context of the videos. The strangest part of those videos being labeled sexist was the inconsistency on the part of my accusers. There was no consensus on what made the videos sexist. It was as if someone suggested they were sexist and then people filled in the blanks on exactly why. For example, I had people approach me and tell me the themes of the videos were acceptable, but the actresses were standard beauties and didn’t represent the spectrum of womanhood. Then other people said the themes presented in the videos were somehow sexist, but when pressed, had to confess that there wasn’t a single depiction of a woman NOT in control of her own sexuality. Really, it seemed like a lot of people hadn’t even read the standard texts in feminism and were just going on a general feeling that these videos were wrong without being able to express why.
I think it’s important to recognize that the videos, while stupid and low budget, are a sort of art. Bad art, no doubt, but art nonetheless. Trying to assign motivation to art is something an Inquisitor or state-appointed Censor would do. Do these same people who assigned my art, and by proxy me, the motivation of sexism believe that ANY piece of film or literature depicting similar stories is sexist? Is Macbeth sexist because of its negative depiction of women? Is The Thing sexist because there are no women on the research base? Is Star Wars ageist because old dudes like Yoda, Obi Wan, and the Emperor all die? Do you go through life telling all art and artists what they were thinking when they made something? It was a very interesting experience for me: being told what I believe by people who had never met me.
Was denkst Du über Sexismus im Gesamten?
One man on this tour told me that “everything in the world” is trying to hurt women. This is a condescending and ultimately disgraceful worldview. First, this idea is extreme and deserves closer inspection. Is it just hyperbole? Or does the person who said it actually believe that EVERYTHING is trying to hurt women? Second, this is an entirely demeaning way to see the world. The person who said it was clearly inferring that HE had to stand up for women everywhere. It was HIS responsibility to ensure their safety. Apparently he didn’t understand that to co-opt another’s struggle is ugly and to take it as your appointed duty is patronizing. In his statement he robbed women of their adulthood and essentially relegated them to the role of “princess in need of saving” or “helpless child.” That seemed to be the feeling coming from many of the men who approached me: that they were somehow appointed by god to protect what they saw as an inferior gender. It was very confusing and off-putting for me, as someone who grew up with a strong mother who taught me women are not inherently victims.
Es geht auch das Gerücht umher, dass Du in einem Bordell warst und mit jenem Besuch später geprahlt haben sollst?
This is a very funny rumor to people I’ve talked to in the US. They all say the same thing “it’s Germany, man, you can’t be honest there.” I was too honest. I defended the right of people to make a living in the sex trade. There is no secular argument against sex work. People will bring up its “sexist” nature but can’t quantify that accusation beyond a general feeling that all lust is somehow exploitive of women. Of course, this view totally ignores male prostitution. Other people cite the capitalist nature of prostitution, but that is a particularly confused and laughable argument. Sex workers are perhaps the only laborers earning a fair wage. That is what I found most offensive about the whole argument: this lack of human experience on the part of the accusers. On this tour I met a prostitute from Cameroon. We talked for a bit. She told me she makes seven times more than the men in her family who are laborers in Germany. She sends enough money home to Africa to provide for her sister’s entire family. I didn’t have a strong feeling about the accusations against me until I spoke to her. After speaking to her I realized how hateful and fundamentally classist the people who condemn prostitution are. They would deny this woman a wage as a laborer because they have some level of discomfort about the sort of labor she does. That is the essence of puritanical repression. The people who hold that opinion share it with religious nuts around the world. It’s that sick, sad, belief that something does not deserve to exist unless it is in line with your morality. It speaks to a deep lack of human experience. I wondered if the people who were so worked up about the idea of me visiting a prostitute had ever talked to a prostitute at all. Or if they were all content to judge from afar, never actually getting close enough to the things they rage against to see the reality.
Möchtest Du Dich überhaupt zu diesen Anschuldigungen äußern?
I think we’ll probably write a song about it at some point, so I’m not sure it requires a statement here. And it’s worth saying that those who have made up their minds about this likely won’t open themselves to a different way of thinking, regardless of any statement I make. But I suppose if I have a podium I should speak my peace and let people think what they will.
I’ve never identified with being an “American.” The same way that many German youths don’t identify with being German. It’s just a word, a construct. And with all the wrong both our counties have done or are doing, it’s impossible to feel a real connection to these constructs. But on this tour I came to realize there are core values that could be referred to as “American” that I identify with very strongly. For example, the main instigator of the Internet rumors about me declined to approach me in person. I was denied “my right to my accuser” as we call it in the US. I found this distasteful. One man who lobbied to have us kicked off a show told me he would do the same to any band he heard made anyone uncomfortable and would figure out the facts later. That assigns a counter-value to “innocence until proof of guilt,” a pillar of our (supposed) justice system in the US. The most upsetting notion came from that same man. When I asked if he would take the same approach to other art that he took to mine, namely trying to deny it a venue to display itself, he told me he certainly would. He said he would have no problem telling a museum that they should take down art he didn’t agree with or art from artists he found distasteful. At that point, I knew we would find no common ground. To an American, the idea that divergent opinions should be stomped out is part-and-parcel to fascism. We don’t have as much experience with it as Germans, but we know it when we see it. The irony of denying a voice to ideas you find distasteful for sake of maintaining a “progressive” community is not lost on Americans. It’s the opposite of progressive. To treat men and women as children and say, “this has made one among us uncomfortable, and for that reason cannot be permitted” is laughable to those of us who grew up exposed to a marketplace of ideas.
I don’t want to come off as dismissive here. I understand people had concerns and felt entitled to have them addressed. But the bottom line is this: I’ve played hundreds of shows and had many wonderful days in my life. I’ll probably play hundreds more shows and have many more good days. If shutting down a show of ours made someone’s day, then I won’t try to take that away from him or her. For me, it was a once in a lifetime chance to be genuinely important to someone for a brief moment. Not everyone is so lucky. For a few days a couple people from a country I can’t even vote in thought I was important enough to alter their day around. It made me feel like a father for the first time. I don’t know if I liked it, but it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.