Yesterday was a flurry of activity and emotions. After the initial queasiness of seeing this “huge” article that everyone was talking about, I was quite happy and excited for several hours. But then the inevitable backlash occurred. The boyfriend posted a link to the article to the pb-cle-raves list. It's important to understand that the boyfriend has a somewhat legendary presence on that list. During his seven years on the list, he has been the instigator of numerous flame wars and an all-around unapologetic asshole to many. During my five years on the list, I've come and gone with nary a notice. I used to be very active on the list, but then it just sort of became boring. Once the boyfriend and I got together I made the ultimate transition from Kelly, an Individual, to just A Girlfriend. It's every girl's dream. Anyway, my comments on the list generally go unnoticed which I generally don't care about. However, my Girlfriend status really bothered me yesterday. Because of the boyfriend's reputation, the article was barely read by list members and provoked a small flame war. It was immediately poo-pooed as some sort of reverse racism and quite a few people had a laugh at the prospect of Pittsburgh-produced electronic music gaining any kind of respect from it. One girl even went so far as to call it “cheap.” I was quite crushed. Not so much because it received negative attention, but because the very group of people who I thought would appreciate it hated it. From a selfish point of view, I was also upset that my accomplishment, that I worked my ass of for, was barely acknowledged simply because a bunch of them dislike my boyfriend. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning realizing, as a woman, how much offense I should have taken at that. Even to some girls, I am nothing outside of my boyfriend's persona, and that fucking pisses me off. I poured my guts out in one, long post which you can read, if you want to.
been on this list and have read about and experienced how frustrating it
is trying to get past the bullshit tweaked out image that the media gave
raves and getting to the heart of the matter: the MUSIC. the PEOPLE.
That's what it's all about, right? So, instead of waiting for the
mainstream media to try to understand what we're about, I went to them
myself and got them to listen to what a bunch of “ravers” had to say.
Trust me, I would have done it sooner, but it just didn't work out that
way. I had to get my degree and do my internship and whatnot. I called
the PG and said, “Look, I know these guys who've started their own techno
label and are doing relatively well. They really deserve some
recognition. I'm a writer and I want to help them out.” That's how this
whole article got started. I really thought that everyone would be
saying, “Wow, techno got some mainstream respect and one of our *own*
people helped that happen.” DIY, motherfuckers. Instead you guys had to
get all ugly about it. Granted, it's kind of predictable for me to be
defensive about it since it's my article, but I still think there are a
few things that need to be cleared up.
There a couple of points that I want to address directly.
Trout: “i'm thinking everything is gonna be a race card with you tom…..?
Like Tom already cleared up, he did not write the article or the headline.
I wrote the article, the PG wrote the headline. He posted the link to
the pb-cle because he was on the computer before I was. I have to wonder
if it would have generated the same kind of reaction if I had just posted
it myself, or if one the Technoir guys had posted it.
Jea Leigh: “Of course the did. Slap the word Racism on the subject title
and throw it on the front page. I'm sure it will grab alot of attention.
Ow. You have to understand the audience of this piece. The PG is not a
music publication. While the article is in the A&E section, the PG's
readership by and large isn't the most cultured of folks, certainly, at
least, not the type of people who would read a 1,500 word article about
the ins and outs of techno. If this piece were in XLR8R or URB or
Bassline it would be completely different. So, while the music was the
overall focus of the piece, the PG was more interested in the actual
people in Technoir and what is important to them. You may think it's
“cheap” that we talked about racism for a good portion of the interview,
but it's true. Pittsburgh is segregated. Simple fact. It's not
official, it's not enforced by law, but it's there. Perhaps what I should
have stressed in the article is that the Technoir guys, and I have to
agree with them, feel that this segregation is part of the reason that the
city has such a hard time keeping cultural things going: lack of mass
appeal and the numbers/money to keep them afloat. That's an issue that
the Technoir guys are passionate about and they think that it's a positive
move that an Asian guy, some black guys, and some white guys can work
together for techno because of its diverse roots.
As far as personal approaches to racism, I think an open dialogue about it
is healthier than just trying to ignore race altogether. Get all the ugly
stuff out, ask questions, make an effort. It might be a shame that racism
is still an issue in 2003, but it is. I don't know what else to tell you.
I will admit that I was a little surprised to see racism as part of the
headline, but I imagine PG readers need a little more to draw them in than
just techno. Perhaps that approach lacks some integrity, but it's still
Trout: “hey i said i thought it was great, just wondered how non-raver
types would read 700/800 records, i suspect they'll just think its
Eh, maybe. But Pittsburghers these days will be pretty proud of anything
that is “from Pittsburgh.” If anything they might be impressed that
people in Europe, etc., know that Pittsburgh exists and that some goofy
guys make techno there. It's all about trying to find an identity outside
of the sports/steel/failed dot com image.
Dave Clevr: “im pretty sure some redneck from New Castle and some
asshole brother from the Hill arent going to be
savoring some chamomile tea while discussing the
production of the new Ectomorph track.”
No. I don't think that was the goal though, either. All they're trying
to say and all that I'm trying to convey is that Pittsburgh needs to
change. Maybe we're forty years behind the civil rights movement, and
maybe we're way late in giving techno the props that it deserves but
that's no reason to just give up. Wouldn't you say those are two things
worth hanging on to?
“i think people wont give a fuck unless they know something about techno
in the first place.”
Maybe. But maybe 2 or 3 people who didn't know about it before will be
interested now. Maybe not. You can laugh at me and the Technoir guys for
having that kind of optimism. That's fine. A journey begins with a
single step and all that.
Anyway, like I said before, I doubt that the article would have caused
such a ruckus if Tom hadn't been the first person to post about it. Any
other misunderstandings about the motivation of the article can be chalked
up to me needing to strengthen my writing and communication skills. Dig?
For a bunch of people who at one point or another believed in PLUR, you
all have a strong tendency to look at something positive and pick it apart
until its curled up on the floor, naked, shivering, and bleeding from the
asshole. Chill out, for chrissakes. Take some epills. Something. ;-p
If nothing else, come out to Havana tomorrow night. We'll get our
non-racist orgy on to some techno.
Anyway, we went out for a minute last night to see Adam Ratana spin at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (from now on, known as the BBT). A few snide remarks were made in the direction of me and the boyfriend and I couldn't help but let it get to me. I felt betrayed, really, is what it is, by people who I thought had at least a little bit of respect for me.
Well, I know all of this whining is nauseating. My insecurity and constant need for validation gets on my nerves, too. So, don't worry, it's not just you. ;-p I keep telling myself today that I need to get over this. I did receive so many heartfelt congratulations that it really does make my heart swell just to think about it. And, really, in the long run, the pb-cle list and a couple of wack jungle djs don't mean shit. I just don't know why they have to be such jackasses sometimes. Why'd they have to rain on my parade?
Wow, what stinks?