Virginia Tech Tribute: Revisiting Cheerfully Obscene Satire
The latest shooting at Virginia Tech reminded me of arguably the most depraved, cheerfully offensive thing I’ve ever done. I don’t really get off on offending people, although it is sort of funny. I just have a really demented sense of humor and enjoy skewering popular culture.
It started with R. Kelly, who quickly produced a tribute single to shamelessly promote his new album, Double Up. The very idea made me laugh, especially when I heard the song and realized it had nothing, really, to do with Virginia Tech (aside from some spoken-word lip service paid to the victims and survivors in the preamble).
I thought, “How would Girth exploit this tragedy?” I’d already written the disturbing gun-control “rapcore” anthem, “Gangster Lovestick,” which seemed an appropriate song to revisit and repurpose under the guise of a “tribute single.”
It got worse when Seung Hui Cho’s writings were leaked. I had little choice in the matter: I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ridicule terrible writing in which serious emotional problems were more than apparent. In an act of satire that involves a song describing a woman masturbating with a gun barrel, maybe it’s amazing that I find Girth’s answer to Richard McBeef more offensive and terrible. I look at it the same way I look at any act of terrorism: if we can’t mercilessly ridicule the aggressor, they get their way. (That’s why I loved Four Lions.) So, here’s a little reprint of the Virginia Tech tribute piece from May 9, 2007:
VIRGINIA TECH TRIBUTE SINGLE — “Gangster Lovestick”
First, I need to get something off my chest. Seung Hui Cho is a reprehensible human being, a blight on this earth who I am glad we are rid of, though I am horrified and saddened that he chose to take others’ lives in addition to his own. With that said, I’ve read numerous disappointing articles trying to assign blame to something or someone other than Cho himself. I’ll ignore the violent video game issue since his own roommate claims he never saw Cho play one, but as evidenced by Abysmal Crucifix’s double-album The Hedge, I’m no fan of blaming video games for violent outbursts. I have played and continue to play violent video games, and I’m fine.
No, I’m more concerned and disappointed with those claiming Cho’s short stories and plays — a few of which were “leaked” on the Internet — have anything to do with the cause of his massacre. Proponents of censorship have come out of the woodwork to use Cho as an example — but why? If anything, this writing could have helped people see this coming — in fact, professors and students who did read this thought there was something deeply wrong with him. Who could have guessed what would happen? How can you help somebody (as they tried to) when he won’t help himself?
Cho’s writing shouldn’t be blamed. Even if it’s a way to look into his mind and understand him, who could have guessed? When I was in high school, I used to write short stories and plays (and eventually song lyrics and formal poetry, which I continue to write). Maybe they pointed to a horrific, demented psyche. I don’t think so; I’ve never had a felony conviction that stuck. So I dug through all my old shit and found an old play to share with you, because I think it’s important to show that kids can express themselves without it signaling something horrible. It’s called Charlie Whores, and it’s about the complex relations between fathers and sons and husbands and wives. I wrote it when I was 15 (way back in the fall of 1989). I hope you dig it.
Click here to read Charlie Whores.
Below this is another press release, talking about a single Abysmal Crucifix is releasing as a tribute to those lost in the Virginia Tech tragedy. I hope it speaks to you all.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1142 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
ABYSMAL CRUCIFIX RELEASES VIRGINIA TECH TRIBUTE SINGLE
HOLLYWOOD, May 8, 2007 — In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, a horrified Girth McDürchstein knew something needed to be done. With pundits screaming to blame anything but the real problem — a troubled kid with easy access to weapons — McDürchstein opted to re-release his rapcore anti-gun epic, “Gangster Lovestick.”
Originally recorded in 1998, “Gangster Lovestick” was an outtake from the Backseat Delightlah! sessions. The band didn’t appreciate the new direction in sound or politics, so the song was scrapped for the final release. McDürchstein explains, “I had a message to deliver, and I felt this style was the best way to deliver that message.” The track appeared later that year as the B-side for Abysmal Crucifix’s hit single, “Rolling in It.”
“I try to avoid getting political,” McDürchstein recalls, “but sometimes I have to speak out (as I did with our recent holiday single)… I wanted to write a song expressing my hostility toward guns, gunplay, and gun ownership. [‘Gangster Lovestick’] reflects my desire to have a society more interested in love than hate.”
In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, McDürchstein went back to “Gangster Lovestick” and decided it needed to be reborn. He and longtime producer/engineer Carlos Ueberschaer remixed the song using a combination of both outtakes and instruments present in the original version. New drummer Carl Davenport laid down a fresh groove to give the song a “more rockin’ vibe,” laughs McDürchstein.
Abysmal Crucifix has released the new remix today for free, along with the original version as a B-side. “I don’t want to profit from this tragedy,” says McDürchstein, “I just want the message out there for everyone to understand the way things should be.”
Click here to download the new version of “Gangster Lovestick.”
Click here to download the 1998 original version of “Gangster Lovestick.”