EMMURE’S FRANKIE PALMERI RESPONDS TO COLD SOUL SHIRTS CONTROVERSY
Emmure’s Frankie Palmeri has released a statement in response to yesterday’s news that the online store for his merch line, Cold Soul, has been shut down due to designs which seemed to endorse violence and racism. In the interest of fairness, I’m going to post Palmeri’s entire statement, without commentary, before responding. Here it is:
“Hello everyone , first of all I would like for you all to know that it wasn’t All In Merch who shut down the store. It was entirely my decision for the webstore to be removed and all Cold Soul orders be terminated, All In Merch played no hand in the ‘shutting down’ of my Cold Soul webstore.
“Now , the question is raised. Why?
“Why did I decide to overnight shut down a project that I put my time and faith in to [sic]? And to many who might not believe or want to was a growing business for me and was succeeding more and more on a daily basis.
“Let me say before continuing that the goal of Cold Soul merchandise was not to be promote bigotry, racism, or exploit the pain and loss of others. I do not condone violence against people no matter what race or creed.
“With that being said, I also do not act like these things are not going on in the world around me.
“There is something to be said about the things that occur in our life time that shape and mold our moral values and feelings, my clothing line was a direct reflection of that. I am no stranger to loss, sadness, or hatred. I used Cold Soul merchandise as a way to circumvent those feelings and turn it into something people can stand behind.
“We live in a society that is constantly shoving in our face the harsh reality’s [sic] we live in through mass media . News reports of death, murder, social decay have become the norm and [sic?] the information age and I for one do not shun or act like it is some kind of fantasy. We cringe from the thought of real life catastrophes but will spend hard earned money to watch these things re-enacted in film, on television, and an even more interactive medium, video games. Everyone being fine with offensive material, until it actually offends, IS the joke.
“Even as I am writing this, I am watching an action movie, with an over the top amount of senseless, tasteless violence. But I understand that this is a product of entertainment. It is something to be bought and sold based on supply and demand. Not everyone has to enjoy this product, but there is a market for it none the less. I am sure there are people who probably would not be able to sit through what I just witnessed and that is OK. Maybe they are sensitive to what is happening on screen and that is fine. No one is forcing them to think that this is cinematic art. Which it is.
“The shirts were made to be offensive. They were made so people would remember harsh realities. They were made to attract notice, and they have. To say that they reflect racism or bigotry of any kind though, is absurd. Searching for things to be personally offended by in something that’s whole basis was to offend in the first place, not only shows that the point missed you completely, but also that you’re part of the satire I was originally trying to disrupt in commercializing these images.
“Let me get this straight with everyone, I know am hated. That’s fine, that’s more so to the point, actually. I do not need to be loved by everyone, I think I would have a much harder time coping with reality if I went through life expecting everyone to understand me or what I do or how I feel.
“In an age where gore and death and horrible past occurrences have been trivialized down by band names, movies, media banter, and in reality, just people striving to become the next front runner by exploiting these things, I wanted to bring the cold realness of things back to life. Maybe I succeeded too well, maybe I was preaching to sheep so well herded that they missed how life works and what matters, and what is really offensive or not. Or maybe I actually just offended a large portion of people that I didn’t intend to.
“I’m never trying to encourage or create new bullying or prejudice to any sort of group or race or class or gender or anyone. But for whatever reason, if that’s what people are taking from the line, or getting out of what I’ve made… then THAT is why I removed the webstore.”
To his credit, Palmeri makes some valid points here about the ways in which we trivialize violence and death through movies, video games, and other forms of mass media.
Unfortunately, his argument that the shirts were intended to be satirical demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of satire. Simply making the shirts offensive does not make them satirical; for them to be satirical, there would need to be some kind of ironic counterweight to their images and slogans. Or, put more simply: if the shirts are a series of jokes, they are all missing punchlines.
What is ironic about a shirt that features of an image of a skinhead blowing smoke in the face of an African-American with the slogan “Violence as a Way of Life?” Is it a parody of another famous shirt? Say, one on which some well-known action hero, like Rambo or Die Hard‘s John McClane, holds a gun beside the same slogan? How is it calling attention to society’s ongoing desensitization to violence, and the tension between real violence and fantasy violence? Other than that it’s provocative for its very wrongness, what’s FUNNY about it?
The answer is, nothing. That’s why there’s confusion about its intent; that’s why it appears to endorse the very elements Palmeri claims it is parodying.
Let’s put this another way. If I made this shirt…
…I could not claim that it was an act of satire, because the only thing funny about the shirt is it’s blunt nature. But there’s no irony in it; it’s simply a statement of opinion. But if I make this shirt…
…well, that’s satire!
See the difference?
Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
[via Metal Insider]