When “Keeping It Real” Goes Wrong: Casual Violence and Pop Punk

I’m sitting here, listening to The Black Tapes Podcast, shaking slightly from the four cups of coffee I’ve downed trying to make sense of this Parker Cannon bullshit.

For those that have been under a rock for the past couple days, Parker Cannon of The Story So Far (also known as Parker Cannon: King of Misogyny) literally kicked a girl of stage for trying to film a drunken stage dive. Literally jumped in the air and kicked her in the back.

Now, he didn’t do this because she was a girl. He did this because he is a scumbag. It had nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with him furthering his macho image.

I have a few words for Parker. Two of those words are “fuck” and “you”, but mostly I just want to remind him that the girl he kicked off stage, literally, supported his band. She spent money on a ticket, probably has spent money in the past on tickets and merch, and your albums (which disparage women at every turn, but that’s another piece entirely) She and others like her are the reason you and your paper thin masculinity have enough money to buy pizza, khaki shorts and tank tops to display your barely there muscles. You could have addressed the problem in so many ways. You could have tapped her on the shoulder, hell, even called her out, or had security step in. In no universe is what you did okay. Didn’t you go to preschool? We do not hit. We do not kick. We use our words. You do not assault someone for laughs, because that’s exactly why you did it, so the mosh pit gorillas will lift you higher on the pedestal they have you on. You’re tough! You’re cool! You use violence as a way of communicating! Look at you go!

As for the girl who was the center of all this, she’s allegedly fine with it. She said he was right to do what he did. It begs the question: why? I love Brand New, a lot, but if Jesse Lacey dropkicked me (and broke a hip in the process, probably, dude is almost 40), he’d be looking at a lawsuit. Kids expect violence at pop punk shows. They expect to be roughed up… but by the band? On stage, away from the pit? I thought pop punk was all about loving your friends and dying laughing, not kicking someone into a crowd of people just to hype up the crowd. Back in my day, hyping the crowd up was as simple as playing the opening riff of your best song or saying something like “I wanna see you get wild”. If there was violence, it was accidental (I bruised a rib in the pit at a BMTH show, sprained my ankle and busted my knee open at a TBS show). What is pop punk doing? Why are we defending it? Who is attacking pop punk? It seems like pop punk is attacking more people than being attacked, to be quite honest.

More people need to stand up and say that senseless violence at shows is not okay, especially by the artists these kids are paying to see. If it happens to you, you shouldn’t roll with it and say it’s okay. It’s fucking not. Even if you aren’t hurt, their first response should not be violence. What does that say about their feelings towards their fanbase? Let me tell you: you aren’t a real person to them. You are a source of money and an ego stroke. You have no feelings, no emotions. You exist to keep them famous. You can’t be hurt, you can’t feel pain, because you aren’t a person.

Look out for each other, girls and guys and everyone in the spectrum. Stay safe. If you see something, say something. It’s time someone did.

 

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