Stop Being Defensive

“You know, when you put out a song, you can’t really put out an essay on why you put out the song. And it’s always hard to explain to the masses.”

A friend posted the article that this quote came from, and on reading it, it resonated pretty strongly with me. As someone who, at times, writes lyrics that are heard by other people, this is definitely one of the contradictions of mass media. You can spread an idea to lots of people, but once you do, the idea, the context in which it is received, and how it is interpreted is often out of your hands. Still, just because you can’t control it, doesn’t mean that you aren’t accountable for the things that you say or make. What I’ve always loved about punk music is that it often actually tries to accompany songs with essays. Still, I don’t think an accountability for one’s ideas can or should stop there, and perhaps we’re all too willing to just let it rest at that.

I liked reading about Busta Rhyme’s response in the article because he seemed genuinely willing to take responsibility for something he made while trying to explain his original intentions. It’s such a departure from the reactions I so often see (even in myself) when something you say or make is criticized (even when that criticism is gentle and constructive). This reminds me of an interview I read a while ago in the Identity Crisis zine where the interviewee said she’d like to see more punk patches with slogans like “stop being defensive” instead of the usual dogma.


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