15 February 2007

8+

"Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding" by Elton John which clocks in at 11:09

Let's talk about sports for a minute. Recently, retired professional basketball player John Amaechi came out of the closet and became the first active or former NBA player to publicly acknowledge he was gay. A few players from other major professional sports have come out as well in the past, but none before they were retired. Knowing the probable macho male team environment that exists in all levels of team sports it's not exactly shocking that moving towards an open and accepting culture will take some time in the world of sport. However, it was nice to see signs of humanity in the words of some people associated with the NBA who were publicly quoted in response to Amaechi's announcement. Some I said. There were, of course, others who offered a more expected response. Former Duke player Shavlik Randolph said he would be okay with a gay teammate "as long as he didn't bring his gayness on me." Of course Shavlik. Because you'd hate to have some of that gayness rub off on you right? Awaken latent urges you've buried very deeply and struggle each day to ignore?

Former NBA star Tim Hardaway went one step further with his response. Tuesday afternoon, on Miami-based radio station 790 The Ticket, Hardaway declared "I hate gay people. I let it be known, I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people. Yeah, I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world...or in the United States..."

This reaction is about as honest of a response as you're likely to find from any figure in the public eye, and I expect it reflects the feelings of a large number of Americans in the same way the response of Phillies players to playing against Jackie Robinson did in 1947. Back then it was unthinkable that a black player be allowed to play in the majors and the Phillies voiced their opposition by calling Jackie a "nigger" from their dugout and yelling that he should "go back to the cotton fields." Soon after that, moms and dads across America feared the impact that a white boy playing sexually charged black music would have on the nation's youth and many thus labeled Elvis Presley "a danger to American culture." Yes, this does get back to music and, eventually, to Elton John and his fabulous song "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding". Not yet though. First, a bit more on the subject of spreading hatred.

In my experience, nobody can "get their hate on" quite like certain followers of organized religion (of course, nobody can "get their acceptance on" quite like certain other followers of organized religion, but this isn't about them.) One doesn't have to dig very deeply to find Christians, Muslims, Jews, or any other number of religious denominations, that like to stereotype and spread hate. It's a rather basic means for uniting idiots, and organizations that do so are generally best left ignored. However, once in a while there's no way to not pay attention.

A few weeks ago I read something that led me to take a look at the website for Love God's Way Ministries. Love God's Way is a ministry run by "reformed" homosexual Donnie Davies. On the site he explains, rather bluntly, that "God hates fags!" and in response to this basic fact Davies has started C.H.O.P.S. (which stands, according to the site, for Changing Homosexuals into Ordinary People...or, maybe they mean to say it stands for Changing Homosexuals into Ordinary PeopleS...yes, that makes the acronym work.) He explains "You are not alone and guess what, God Loves You even if he hates your Homosexuality. You just can't stay that way. Let me help you love yourself. Follow me and together we'll C.H.O.P.S away the Gay."

No amount of Christian self-inflicted gay bashing would normally merit mention on EAR FARM, and my desire to not want to send people to his site nearly forced me to not write this post, but Donnie Davies decided to take things into MY world by putting together a few music related lists on the Love God's Way site (the site explains "one of the most dangerous ways homosexuality invades family life is through popular music".) Let's take a look.

The first list is of "gay bands" and includes such obvious gay rights activists as The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Phish, Metallica, DMX, Frank Sinatra, Ghostface Killah, Ted Nugent, and Eminem. Wait. Again. The Nuge? Ol' Blue Eyes? Eminem?!? Yeah, those are some big time gayness spreaders if ever I saw them. Parents should totally be on the lookout if their children are listening to Frank Sinatra and/or Ted Nugent - next stop, Gayville. Metallica too. Actually, I think "Ride the Lightning" is some kind of queer code. And "Master of Puppets"? Gay masturbation slang. Good thing this guy is on the case because fans of these bands have most likely been turning more and more gay with each listen. And these aren't the only bands on the list, there are a bunch more. Be sure to note some of the parenthetical comments too, they're very helpful. For example, next to Marilyn Manson it says "dark gay" and next to Elton John, "really gay". Really?

The other list, naturally, is the much shorter "safe bands" list. Here you will find Christian musicians you'd expect to see such as Jars of Clay, P.O.D., and Sufjan Stevens, but you'll also notice a few surprises such as Cyndi Lauper and The Dresden Dolls. Really? The Dresden Dolls? I would've expected them to show up under the "dark gay" category. Guess not. Guess they hate gayness as much as God and Cyndi Lauper. Not EAR FARM though. No, here on Queer Farm we love to spread the gayness!

So take this seed, the eleven minute long Elton John epic that is "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding", and plant it deep within the minds and ears of children and straight people everywhere. Before you know it the whole world will turn gay from listening to music and "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding" can be our new National Anthem. Do you hear that Tim Hardaway, Donnie Davies, and hate mongers the world over? I dedicate this 8+ to all of you.

Follow me and together we'll C.H.O.P.S away the hate.

*above wedding photo of Elton John and David Furnish from HERE
**UPDATE - a reader sent me some links to a few posts questioning whether Donnie Davies is serious or not...does it matter?

Buy Goodbye Yellow Brick Road HERE on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Jenő Jandó - "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2"
The Temptations - "Take a Stroll Thru Your Mind"
Deerhoof - "Look Away"
Tan Dun - "Symphony 1997: II. Earth (Yi3)"
Jane's Addiction - "Three Days"
Joanna Newsom - "Monkey & Bear"
Depeche Mode - "Never Let Me Down Again" (Split Mix)
This Mortal Coil - "Dreams Are Like Water"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

15 comments:

utep 2step said...

wow, this was like one of those "very special" diff'rent strokes episodes but modified for earfarm, well done.
really terrific post, and i hope not to downplay it when i say that "Master of Puppets" is definitely masturbation slang from here on out.
yee haw

Anonymous said...

awesome. i accidentally found c.h.o.p.s. the other day - and promptly checked myself into a self-hate center.

somehow i think amanda palmer might throw a (very melodic) bitch fit.

nards said...

you've been on a roll, mr. earfarm. keep it comin you son of a bitch.

joel said...

Yes, it matters. The only purpose of the C.H.O.P.S. stuff was to satirize Christians and piss people like you off. If you are going to rail against something, at least make sure it's real and not a joke.

tina said...

yikes joel. why so sensitive? c.h.o.p.s. may be a satirical site but that's a moot point. the post and message behind it is awesome.

Matt said...

Thanks for the helpful insight Joel. First of all, I definitely should have researched the Love God's Way site a bit before jumping off and writing so much about it. It never occured to me that this might be intended to serve as humor because, well, it's just not funny. But the reason I question whether the intent of that website matters or not lies, quite simply, within this very post. The issue at hand is blind hatred, as evidenced by Tim Hardaway's radio interview comments, by millions of people in America each day, and by the Love God's Way site itself. If I might, I'd like to again reference one of the sites I already linked to in the post because I'm not sure I'll find a way to say it better myself:

"Intent, Whether It's True Or Not, all that other stuff, is secondary to the content and execution and message, which treads so close to actual ultraconservative sentiment that parody is pretty much impossible. It's a dude parodying baseless hatred by being baselessly hateful? Sorry, I prefer my own parody of the Nazis, in which I hold my finger up to my face like a Hitler moustache, burn some Jew friends I know, and hold my other hand up and give the whole fucking thing scare quotes."

Is it funny to "parody" hate with hate? Was the intent really to piss people like me off? If so, then I much better understand what is truly at work here. Namely, that this site is serving two purposes: to amuse the only audience which would find LGW funny (ultra-conservative Christian right wingers), and to further advance religious notions that being gay is somehow against God's will.

Matt said...

oops, HERE is the link I meant to post above

joel said...

Hmm. I appreciate your thoughtful response, as I obviously didn't offer any thoughtful insight, just gave you a hard time for being taken in by something I thought was legit when I first saw it several weeks ago. Like you, I am really unsure of it's purpose, other than to feed into the preconceptions many people have about bible believing Christians (of which I am one, and, no, I do not hate gays) and engage the weaker minded ones into the conversation in order to further mock them. I think intelligent people were supposed to "get" it from the beginning. Whatever. It is akin to Steve Albini wanting to call one of the Big Black albums "Hey Nigger". Everyone "knows" he is not a racist, so that would have been provocation for provocations sake. Unfortunately, there is hate everywhere, right, left, religious and atheist. And studpidity. I am just glad that the Love God's Way site is getting exposed for what it is.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful response. Sorry for going off half-cocked, as it were.

d said...

The back and forth between yourself and Joel makes me a happy camper. It's rare that you get to read thoughtful exchanges in the comments section of anyplace, much less a music site. Both of you are gents.

Anonymous said...

RE: Your post about gays... Ignorance breeds Bush voters.

Anonymous said...

IGNORANCE BREEDS BUSH VOTERS.

john said...

Matt, it's refreshing to see your well-thought out and considered response to the issues at play here, but I have to say whether or not you personally find Loves Gods Way effective or, for that matter, funny, it is dangerous to criticize parody. If it gets under your skin, it is probably effective. I think the point is that it is so extreme that a real hater wouldn't laugh, but would rather feel uncomfortable when faced with true expression of their ugly feelings.

Do you think Borat was highlighting racism or do you feel similarly about that? Just curious.

Matt said...

I definitely would have approached this post differently if I had realized sooner that this LGW site was intended as a form of humor; however, I still maintain that what is accomplished by the site has very little to do with humor and a lot to do with propagating a very common form of hatred in America. What gets under my skin is obviously not this "parody" but rather the real people (such as Tim Hardaway and all of those involved in that Rev. Ted Haggard nonsense) in America who truly harbor such hatred in their hearts and minds. And the thing is, the site in question does not seem to be extreme to me. I fully expect that there are a lot of people in the US who honestly believe what LGW has posted on the site - it is for this very reason that I take issue with the whole "Donnie Davies" thing. Would "A Modest Proposal" have been an effective satire if Irish people were actually already eating their children?

And, I think it's an injustice to Sacha Baron Cohen to compare Borat to what "Donnie Davies" has done.

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