Blog: Blame the band, not the society

2008-08-22 00:00

When the press got wind that the psychotic teenage murderer listened to American hard rock band Slipknot, that was the end of it. I just feel sorry for Joey Jordison. He didn’t ask for this.

Sensationalist headline makers make me sick to my stomach. Even worse is journalists’ (and human beings’) tendency to reduce the worst kind of human tragedies to a simple case of “Oh, he listened to satanic rock music”. Frankly, it’s naive, insulting and a dangerous way to close the case when all the mysteries are still out there, begging for investigation.

Not one single story I read even addressed the question: Where the hell did he get the sword from? Who left it unattended? And, if he bought it, how the hell could we let an 18-year-old kid buy such a deadly weapon? But those were not the questions on journalists’ minds. …

Before I continue, I should let you know, I’m not some rabid Slipknot fan. It just pisses me off when good-natured rockers and alternative types are given a bad name by blame game tactics. …

Doesn’t it make you sick? Doesn’t it make you angry? That one stupid kid acts like a nutcase and all of a sudden, the whole country’s pointing its self-righteous finger at an American rock band and a global community of rock fans. Sure, it’s easy to confuse Slipknot with Satanism, if you’ve spent your entire life in a glass box …

Slipknot’s dark theatrical stage act is nothing new. It’s a modern update of the costumes Kiss wore. It’s an act. A stage show. But the most irritating thing is that all the journalists out there typing the words Slipknot and Joey Jordison out for the first time probably didn’t even bother to listen to Slipknot’s music …

Sure, it’s hard and gritty, and every parents’ worst nightmare. That’s rock ’n roll. But to go from their hard-hitting brand of horror nu-metal to killing a fellow 16-year-old pupil is a very special kind of connection that suggests it was, more than likely, and tragically, always going to happen.

It was just a matter of finding a scapegoat to explain the unexplainable. ’Cause that helps people sleep at night — burn all the Slipknot CDs and it won’t happen again.

From AC/DC to Marilyn Manson to Grand Theft Auto, society’s willingness and enthusiasm to blame the unexplainable on a dirty face to keep us sane is nothing new. …

Listen, don’t get me wrong. This is a tragedy. … But come on, South Africa, let’s dig a little deeper than a murderer’s taste in music. …

Yusuf Laher is online editor of and drummer for Durban punk band Lowprofile.

Read his full blog at

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