Liberal MetalSucks Reader Questions Our Approach to Politics — Read Our Response
We may be outspoken about our political and social views here at MetalSucks, but we are also all about having meaningful discussion about those views. As long as that discussion is civil and respectful. Which, unfortunately, is very often not the case in our comments section and Facebook page.
So it was incredibly refreshing to get an email from MS reader Ken Riffey Jr. in which he addresses what he perceives to be a major problem with the way MetalSucks has been covering political issues of late. A well-reasoned, thoughtful, constructive email!
Mr. Riffey gave us permission to post the letter so we figured we’d do just that, along with our response. And then we’ll let you guys decide what you think.
First, his letter:
I’ve regularly given you varying degrees of shit in the comments under the username Ken Riffey Jr.
Putting aside all that bullshit and bravado for a moment, I hope you will take a few minutes to read this.
In the real world my name is [redacted]. I’m a 33 year old, South African born, atheist Jew immigrant who leans far to the left on most if not all social issues. I voted for Bernie out of conviction and Hillary out of desperate necessity. I’m deeply disturbed by the direction this country is going in and gravely concerned by a growing racial chasm and the potential for our new President and his merry band of lunatics’ actions to widen that chasm beyond repair.
That is all to say, I think I’m pretty similar to you guys in a lot of ways and every bit as worried about this nation. My parents took me out of South Africa 30 years ago because they didn’t want to raise me under the immoral pall of apartheid, and for the first time in my life I look around me and see the echoes of my own country’s history in the streets of America.
Yet day in and day out I’m disgusted by the method and tone by which you advocate for values that I myself share. Why is that?
You guys brought it strong before during and after the election. Even put out that famed manifesto of yours. Unfortunately, I’ve repeatedly seen you go back on the tenets you espoused so passionately, make no mistake about it you guys are bullies, with a particularly egregious blind spot when it come to shaming people for being Christians. But to that’s a separate conversation and not why I’m writing today.
My question to you: What are you accomplishing?
What are you accomplishing with your brand of SJW gotcha content? You’re not bringing people together, you aren’t changing any minds. All you’re doing is attacking those that think differently to you as a means of reaffirming your own perceived morality.
You latch on to any cheap opportunity to attack and excoriate character, and when you have done that it’s over, you’ve won in your own mind.
Well guess what? That’s not enough guys.
You’ve become the racism monitors of the metalsphere, you’ll point that shit out in a heartbeat, but when it comes to attempting to do something tangible about it you fail day in and day out. You take every opportunity, no matter how small, to call out actions as racist. You have become the ultimate SJW’s who cried wolf, barking and howling around the clock with varying levels of cogency, but the message is the same every time: GOTCHA, our job is done here.
You need to do more.
Our country is heading down a dark path. Some day soon, something real, something serious is going to go down, something with far more weight than a racially insensitive tshirt. And you’re going to have an opportunity to say something truly important to your considerable readership, to make them aware.
And they’ll all be too tired of your incessant constant bullshit to notice, and that’s sad.
Again my question to you: What are you changing? What good are you effecting?
You say silence is complicity, I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, the way you’re currently operating is just as bad. If a libtard lefty like me recoils at the content you roll out on a daily basis, I can’t even imagine what effect it has on the right wingers, and the racists you so blatantly condescend to. Think it’s safe to say you’re not making any of them rethink their stance on black lives matter or LGBTQ rights.
“Well they’re racists and they deserve it so I don’t care”
Fair enough. But you should care, because that’s the place you can do actual good. Instead of condescending to your readers, engage them. Instead of turning those who think differently away, invite them into a dialog.
Participate in the comments or maybe schedule a live chat to discuss and defend your views. Organize a gig with the proceeds going to the ACLU or another likeminded organization. There are limitless possibilities for you to effect change, but it will take you stepping up and going down a path immeasurably more challenging then the keyboard cowboy shame train you’re currently running under the name Metalsucks.
Anybody can point out a racist. But it’s those that will work to change a racist’s mind that will ultimately save our country.
Until you take that next step, it’s all an empty spectacle, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I’m rooting for you guys, I truly am.
And our response:
Thank you SO much for taking the time to pen us a real letter, for being a supporter of the site for all these years, and for taking the time to tell us how you feel in a manner that’s level-headed and not self-righteous in the slightest.
This response is from both Axl and Vince. We’ve discussed it at length.
We totally get what you’re saying. I do think the language we’ve used at times can be alienating to those with dissenting views, and isn’t likely to sway an opinion.
But here’s the thing: changing a racist’s mind is about as easy a task as moving a mountain. That’s something that happens over years of dialogue, conversation and absorption, not writing a single blog post or interacting/engaging with commenters one day. People hear things from multiple sources, and over time their worldview evolve — the way public opinion on gay marriage and marijuana legalization has evolved in the past few years are great examples of this. I’d argue that, by using our platform to create that dialogue, we’re playing an important role in causing that to happen — very gradually, over time. Us putting on a benefit metal show for the ACLU (or whoever) for all 200 people in attendance won’t really do much to accomplish more “change” than we do every day by speaking to our audience of hundreds of thousands of people. We’d be preaching to the choir. At least, by continuing to post as we do, we’re starting conversation and there’s a chance we’ll sway some of these people over time.
I was just having this conversation with another friend of ours… he was saying we (liberals, not MetalSucks) need to be more compromising, and I was saying it’s very hard to determine what the appropriate compromise is when you’re dealing with people who are that misguided and/or hateful. “We’ll pretend global warming isn’t real if you don’t register all the Muslims”? The bottom line is, maybe you didn’t vote for Trump BECAUSE he’s a bigot nationalist… but if you didn’t care enough to vote against him, you put some other priorities ahead of human rights. And that’s a difficult place from which to start a logical, calm conversation.
To me, the value of what we’re doing isn’t “changing the minds of racists,” it’s “getting the non-racists riled up and making tolerance cool for younger fans,” so that hopefully this nonsense isn’t such an issue in the years to come. The number of people in their early-mid-20s who came up to me this year at various functions and were like “Oh I’ve been reading your site since high school and I love you guys” makes me hope that right now there’s a 15 year old reading MS and going, “Hm, I like these guys, they say Islamaphobia sucks, I will make an effort not to be Islamaphobic.”
All that said, your idea of doing a benefit show for the ACLU is a great one. We’re actually gonna do it. We have an event coming up, which hasn’t been announced yet, that we’re going to turn into a benefit. Thanks for the suggestion, Craig!
I also like the idea of scheduling a live chat to discuss and defend our views. Hopefully it would bring out the best, and not the worst, in people.
Sure, we could do more. We, or anyone, could always do more. But I still think that what we’re doing, as is, has a whole lot of value.
Thanks for your input, and once again for reading the site.
Now it’s your turn, MetalSucks reader. Do you think this site’s coverage of political and social issues is missing the mark (especially if you’re liberal/progressive), or do you find it a welcome oasis for like-minded views? Let’s maintain Mr. Riffey’s vibe and keep things clean and respectful.