The Quick Expiry of Transgression

This post will be somewhat similar in theme to two earlier posts I’ve made concerning music. One was from 2021 where I briefly commented on how entirely hollow the “rebellious” image of many bands are. The two examples were Twisted Sister and Rage Against the Machine, both of whom readily licked the proverbial boot when it was put forward and yet both fostered an image of youthful rebellion and rejection of social and political order. More recently you can add Green Day to the list for believing they are fighting “the man” by rejecting the most prominent public movement in opposition to him. All three members of this band are now in their 50s but still dress like they’re in their early 20s. They really look more like middle-aged lesbians than men at this point. At least Rage Against the Machine have had the good sense to break-up this month — hopefully permanently. The other more recent post was just a rant on how terrible I think boomer music is and I have nothing to add to that.

The subject of this post concerns just how fast what is considered transgressive can change with some examples from music popular when I was a teenager and young adult.

Even if one were to live under a rock in a desert, the degenerate world order most of the West lives under would still find a way to put a “pride” flag within view. Sodomy it has been said, is now our highest value and is on display everywhere. One can’t even make the old joke about it not yet being mandatory yet as though it seems absurd, such demands don’t seem all that far off. Yet as I mentioned sometime back, as late as 1997, it was still illegal in Tasmania and remained so in a number of other Western nations years after that. It is only really in the last twenty years that tolerance for what was once considered so disgusting as to be unmentionable has really been pushed.

As an example, consider a portion of the lyrics for the song ‘What’s My Age Again?’ by the transgressive punk band Blink-182 back in 1999:

Then later on, on the drive home
I called her mom from a payphone
I said I was the cops and your husband’s in jail
This state looks down on sodomy

This only works because sodomy was still illegal in a number of states across the USA back then and suggesting someone was “gay” was still very much an insult. The site where I grabbed these lyrics also included a note pointing out that sodomy was decriminalised in California twenty years before the song’s release which is only a few years before I was born. Blink-182 are in no sense “conservative”. The music video for the same song has them running naked through a neighbourhood and their bodies are covered in tattoos. The album the song is from has a pornographic actress dressed as a nurse on the front and I could go on and on. Like most bands they matured but they’ve always been transgressive. And even at the height of their popularity, it wasn’t unusual to make fun of gays. I had a look around to see if they’ve made any groveling apologies for their past but came up short. 

Similarly there is All in the Family, a song in 1998 from the Korn album Follow the Leader featuring Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. Now I will not reproduce or even link the lyrics to this song as it is vulgar in the extreme. It is enough to state that the song is basically the two lead singers calling each other gay in a variety of colourful ways. They even use “fa***t” (no profanity here) at one point which is now considered a big no-no. Once again, it would be laughable to describe either of these bands as anything but transgressive and yet they had no problem using sodomy as an insult. 

A third example from the white rapper Eminem who has openly anti-gay lyrics in a number of songs. That he was more explicit did get him more attention and he has naturally since made a groveling acceptance America’s highest value. Probably what allowed him to get away with it was his association and acceptance among blacks who are even today generally hostile to sodomites.  As one of the protected classes, they are treated with more elasticity on this issue unless they are prominent public figures.

The point is that these musicians that became popular in the 90s were uniformly transgressive and not at all averse to using “gay” as an insult. It wouldn’t have even occurred to them to moderate the language at the time and this was little over twenty years ago. This is well within living memory but it would be now almost unthinkable for artists to write such lyrics. This demonstrates both how quickly people forget the past — even within their own lifetime and also how quickly they will adapt themselves to changes to maintain social position and comfort. 

It is perhaps more pathetic than anything.

This entry was posted in Music, Politics, Ramblings, Society and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.