The Entitlement Problem And Learning To Not Kiss Girls In Bands

photo by Timothy Young
image – Flickr / Timothy Young

Williamsburg, you’re better than this. The venue is pretty small, and maybe Britty Drake from Pity Sex favorited one of your tweets a few months back. Maybe you’ve had a thing for Brianna Collins from Tiger’s Jaw since Belongs to the Dead. No matter how lonely you’re feeling, how drunk, how much you need a Ramona to match your Scott, it’s never fucking okay to climb on stage and forcibly kiss anyone in a band, regardless of gender. That’s exactly what happened last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. On two separate occasions, someone crossed a boundary, climbed onto the stage, and forced two people in two different bands into remarkably uncomfortable situations. The pictures, tweets, Instagram videos of the incident are all readily found spackled across the internet. How did we get here?

Perhaps more telling than the articles are the comments. A few weeks ago on CNN, Morgan Spurlock told us on Inside Man that every single thing we post on the internet is irrevocably, unquestionably, forever ours. He proved that deleting it doesn’t help, neither does erasing your browser history. So why, next to your name and picture, in a comment thread would you post something like, “So what, two girls in bands got kissed – at least no one went up there with a gun. If it happened to me, I would count it as an interesting story.” Have we gotten this accustomed to tragedy? Violating a person’s space sticks with you and, I’m sorry, but it is a big deal. There is no scale that makes a shooting worse than a rape, a bombing worse than a shooting – that’s not how it works. “At least no one died” is not the magic spray phrase that heals every bad thing. You know how dying works? You die in pieces, not all at once – certain parts go, then certain other parts, and then you’re gone. But it’s not just physical pieces that make us up. Your sense of safety on your night-shift commute can die, so can your self-worth, so can your love of a given place. Bitterness is a callous, it gets thicker and stronger over time.

“I would count it as an interesting story” may be the most entitled phrase of all. Would you be that eager to share this with a positive spin on it? Would you tweet about it? Take a selfie with the offender? Gram it with all the hashtags and hope for a hundred double-taps? But that’s the problem: everything is not interesting. Giving glory to something like this is irresponsible. We have marginalized celebrity to make it attainable, to trick us into believing we deserve it when we don’t. The belief is that rules don’t apply to celebrities. I mean, how many times have we seen a “public apology” issued to make a bad decision go away? How many times do we hold a public figure accountable for a week, then forget. The precedent is wrong. You are responsible for what you do, for the ramifications of every last choice you make. Actions don’t just evaporate when they’re done – they last. People won’t remember you as “interesting” or “provocative” – they’ll just remember you as “shitty.”

There are boundaries at shows, no matter the performer. Because they’re up there, singing to you, does not give you the right to invade their space, ever. They don’t want to kiss you on the mouth, be groped or fondled. They don’t care about your breakup or how many beers you crushed before the show. They couldn’t give a shit about your friends and what they dared you to do – it doesn’t matter. In one moment, you put a damper on a really good thing and affected a ton of people negatively. I feel like personally apologizing to anyone this has happened to, whether you’re in a famous band or whether you’re coming up playing legion halls. “Feeling respected on a most basic level is for everyone.” What a fucking shame that I even had to type a truth so inherent. TC mark

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