Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, but we’re busy over here hammering out details for our upcoming presence at the Toronto Small Press Book Fair, June 19th, 2011 at Hart House on U of T Campus (further directions to follow).
We’re going to be looking snazzy, and have some fun new stuff for you, so be sure to come by.
But in the interest of interest, the number of things that I wanted to blog about all have a great deal to do with the line between provocation and art. It has been a long-held belief of mine that the provocation itself can not be the art. In this regard, in the recent war between Tegan and Sara and Tyler The Creator of hipster-hop supergroup Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Em All, I side with Sarah. Those that defend Odd Future call Tyler’s lyrics provocation for provocation’s sake. As if provocation is meant to be the art he presents. While hiphop has its roots in contest, is it simple enough to say “fag” and discus rape to rise to the top of the game? Tyler’s good. He’s clearly intelligent, but does this stuff get a pass? It got a pass for Johnny Cash, and, well, it probably shouldn’t. Where’s the line?
Where’s the line: because this kinda thing gets a pass from South Park, but not from Living With Lions, who released their government-funded album Holy Shit, much to the dismay of those that found the album (subtitled “The Poo Testament”) featured a berobed turd preaching to his followers in classic charcoal drawing on the inside. It’s not the business of the artist to provoke for the sake of being provokers, but this act of, what is at worse from an outsiders point of view, anti-religious cartooning, has raised question of the pointlessness of art funding from idiot pundits when the real question is whether or not LWL intended to express any provoking message. I’ve had trouble understanding how I feel about this, but I think the joke comes off more goofy than hate-filled, and that the bands decision to return the money and remove the government funding’s attachment to the project proves more that they don’t want to offend. They would put money back into it, thus limiting to a degree their ability to get it out there, get it seen by people who might be offended. They’re pedalling it like a joke, and selling it more like Life of Brian than, you know, something racist. Whereas they said something and removed any hint of hate from attachment to their government, Tyler the Creator responds to Tegan and Sara by offering them his hard dick.
So where’s the line?