Saturday, December 13, 2008

Checking in with Trent...

12.11.08: Regarding NIN music used at Guantanamo Bay for torture
It's difficult for me to imagine anything more profoundly insulting, demeaning and enraging than discovering music you've put your heart and soul into creating has been used for purposes of torture. If there are any legal options that can be realistically taken they will be aggressively pursued, with any potential monetary gains donated to human rights charities. Thank GOD this country has appeared to side with reason and we can put the Bush administration's reign of power, greed, lawlessness and madness behind us.

Trent Reznor

And from one of our own readers:
I'm sorry for saying this here but I fear if I say it on I'll be blacklisted but Trent has really annoyed me with his latest bit of political grandstanding (about 4 years too late) - his latest comments on Guantanamo Bay - [see above]

Really Trent, what about pregnant women being murdered to start race wars like Sharon Tate? I'm surprised he doesn't break into Guantanamo and nick someone's slipper as a 'really cool momento' like he did her door. He's also been known to say that he'd watch a snuff movie - so apparently on his list of outrages he'd care about, fundamentalist religious madmen are right up there - but pregnant women and poor innnocents tortured for the edification of rich men who want to wallow in the darkness are right at the bottom! Bah, sorry I had to get it out and I really want someone to say something to mitigate what I think is deep hypocrisy - because I do love his music but think sometimes he really should just shut up (you know what you get if you wallow in darkness for years, someone using your music for torture) - I'm really sorry to rant.
Now I'm not going to try and slay our reader here because I do think she has a right to be upset with Trent to a certain degree. He has been known to be a hypocritical ass in the past to lesser charges and I'm sure anyone of us could name multiple instances where we wished he'd shut the fuck up but I think he's got a legit reason for his public outcry on this one. True, he may not have the most pristine track record for saying no to violence having admitted to watching snuff films and, hell, even making the "Broken" movie might make one think that this sort of action is right up Trent's alley BUT I think there's a slight difference between a morbid personal curiosity and having something you created be actively used in the present day for the torture of others in the manner in which the US Government is doing so.

Was it the most mature or politically correct thing to keep a door from the Sharon Tate house as a memento? Probably not. But to say that he has no right to be appalled at this recent discovery and that he should instead just shut up is is something I'm going to have to disagree with you on. Actually I would be upset if he hadn't said something about this. Staying silent would be, to me, the same as condoning it.

I am curious how others feel about this, whether it be about our reader's comment or the situation in general, and encourage further discussion. I'm not out to slay anyone in their opinions unless, of course, you agree with bassist Stevie Benton of Drowning Pool (refer to pg2 of article linked above) who believes this to be "an honor." In that case, it is my civic duty to inform you that you are indeed retarded. That is all, for now.


maise said...

Hm, it's an interesting question, to be sure.

To be honest, I can see why people find serial killers and mass murderers and all that fascinating, but it's not an interest that I personally share, as I tend to empathize too much with the victims to make a pop culture icon out of the likes of Charles Manson and similar. I always thought that was part of Trent's immaturity, his whole "ooh, I moved into the Manson house!" and Broken film days. I mean, I guess it depends on one's perspective. If someone is fascinated with serial killers, one person might say that's sick, but another person might say that it's about a fascination with evil, what makes the criminal mind tick, etc.

However, even then, I can't imagine that he would have endorsed actual murder in any way, nor would he have wanted his songs to be used as the soundtrack for some sort of serial murder.

That's why I don't think it's hypocritical for him to be opposed to the U.S. Freaking Government using his music, against his will, to torture people.

I mean, take Trent's ex-friend, Brian Warner. Do I think it was tacky for him to take on the stage name, Marilyn Manson or to write a song based on a Charles Manson poem? Sure. Is it a bigger problem than the federal government torturing people? God, no.

I would have been MUCH more disappointed in Trent as a person if he had not spoken out about the use of his music at Guantanamo. He seems to be more in tune with the world outside his angst and misery, and he's taken a very strong (and perfectly reasonable, imo) anti-Bush stand. So I'm glad that he's willing to say that it's wrong and that he wants to fight against if at all possible and not for his personal gain. I admire him for speaking out, and I don't feel that anything that he said in 1994 either while drunk or high or while simply being morbid should prevent him from speaking now.

It would be like saying that I couldn't speak out for liberal causes now because I grew up Republican and parroted back all those conservative viewpoints back in the day. People change, and again, I think there's a definite boundary between saying, "Yeah, I'd probably watch a snuff film" and the GOVERNMENT assuming the power to do that to whomever it pleases.

Isabel said...

I'm glad you said those things, I made that post because I was particularly annoyed at the ass-kissing on and I originally deleted my comment because I later thought it a bit unfair - although the snuff movie comment where, to be fair, he hadn't actually said he'd watched one he just said he was curious and would watch one and him saying he thought living in ST's house was 'cool' was from that MTV nothing records interview which I believe was in 2002 and when he was cleaning up his act so personally I don't think there's any excuse. Although I remember thinking all the way through the first part of the interview he sounded quite funny, smart, sweet even and then he goes and ruins it by saying something stupid like 'I would watch snuff movies'.
To be fair I'm glad you replied in the way you did and since my husband has books on serial killers which doesn't condone it I can actually see where you are coming from - because I really don't want to hate Trent!

Isabel said...

sorry just one more thing on the subject, I'm in Amnesty and received items about music / torture in Guantanamo Bay (not NIN specifically) years ago - why has this just come out now when it has stopped anyway and the administration is changing anyway which may or may not change things? If he wants us to take him seriously as a commentator on politics he needs to get more on the ball

maise said...

I think that a) when it comes to Guantanamo, most Americans want to cover their ears and go "la la la la" plus it NEVER gets any media coverage because it's fucking evil for our government to lock people up indefinitely (with or without torture) with no hope of any kind of trial and b) there's been no specific campaign until now of informing specific artists that their work was being used for torture. We can thank Reprieve UK for that.

So that's why it's a big deal now.

Isabel, hon, I think you need to give Trent a break. He's doing the right thing by announcing his opposition to this practice. What's to get so mad about?

Isabel said...

I think I'm going through a 'mom' (or 'mum' in English) phase, you know tough love. I'm sure it'll pass once my own baby gets old enough to be really told off

Isabel said...

Actually I've had a bit of a revelation on this subject and realised the whole Tate house thing was 30 years before Trent lived there so it is actually similar in scale to me going round Alcatraz in San Francisco where people did die and saying I condoned the deaths - just an analogy I'm not saying I defend the prisoners of Alcatraz blah blah. Anyway in 30 years people will walk around Guantanamo museum I imagine soaking up the atmosphere but I wouldn't accuse them of condoning torture, so I admit I was harsh. Bottom line is I am finding it hard to care about Guantanamo that much after what happened to a baby in Britain recently which was horrific, I've actually become numb to this in that anything less in scale I almost think isn't worthy of attention which isn't fair either. What happened to baby p in haringey was so cruel and horrible I can't even credit such a thing could happen in my country - you know we in the UK have to get our own house in order before we go around trying to bring democracy everywhere

Anonymous said...

Trent living in the ST house was just crass, sophomoric affectation.

Now that he's grown up some (still has a long way to go), and since he's always seen himself as the center of some mopey universe that may or may not exist outside of his head, of course he's upset about his music being used for torture. Cause, you know, his music isn't about torturing other people, it's about how tortured TRENT is. If it's taking the focus off him, that will not stand.

P.S. I like your original comment referenced in the post very much, Isabel.

Iris said...

Figured as much with you, JR. And where the hell have you been lately?

I think we can all agree here that Trent had plenty of his immature moments with morbid content but I don't think standing against something like this is a selfish act. Or not in the way that JR is insinuating. By releasing his albums under creative commons licensing I think it shows he isn't looking for the selfish constant attention of his own tortured soul. He isn't being all "mine, mine, mine, mine!" He's offering up bits for others to rework what he's done and make shiny and better.

And are you really agreeing that by Trent "wallow[ing] in darkness for years" to create his music that he should have any less of a right to be pissed at the US Government using it this way than the guy who wrote the Sesame Street theme song which is also named in the article.

If you want to be pissed at Trent for being an immature bastard in the past then be mad at him for that, but don't say he's being a whiny bitch who's taking his ball home now because someone isn't playing by the rules.

I haven't heard about this Baby P situation you refer to Isabel but reading up on it now makes me sick. It's amazing the way that governments and systems of protection can fail so massively sometimes. Unfortunately the same kind of shit like that happens here all the time. I've never had something quiet as horrific as what happened to Baby P happen to me, because obviously I'm still alive, but I've experienced firsthand failures of the child protective services and the court systems here. Failure to find enough evidence my ass. What do you need? A fucking sign in blinking, neon lights?

Isabel said...

Thanks for liking my comment JR and thanks Iris for giving a shit about baby P

Anonymous said...

I've been busy spreading mirth, goodwill, and rock'n'roll to the masses, Iris.

And torture is in the eye of the beholder.

Cat said...

I completely agree with you on this, Iris. I nearly cried when I read that story, and I understand why Trent would take that stance. Oh, and Drowning Pool is certified music for retards. I have a bunch of friends who have confirmed it for me.

Anonymous said...

Hunger and homelessness grow Across US cities

Oliver Richards
Thu, 18 Dec 2008 00:52 UTC

Both the number of homeless and the demand for emergency food assistance have increased substantially in US cities, according to the findings of the most recent survey from the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness.

Available resources are severely strained due the economic crisis, while demand for food assistance has increased by 18 percent over the past year.

The findings of the survey paint a grim picture of increasing social hardship in the United States. "At this time of significant economic downturn, the issues of hunger and homelessness in America are more prevalent than ever," stated the Miami Mayor and Conference President Manny Diaz in a press release.

The ominous nature of these developments is highlighted by an answer from Cleveland, which noted, "Some agencies report that they are seeing families requesting assistance who were formerly donors to the pantry."

As with emergency food assistance, the demand for shelter on certain nights is greater than the capacity that most cities can provide. This has led cities to adapt by providing cots in hallways or opening shelters earlier than scheduled. However, cities still have to turn away individuals and families.

The Hunger and Homelessness Survey was released on December 12 and is based on a survey of 25 cities that provided information on food and homeless assistance for the period from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008. Given the increasing economic slowdown, one can safely conclude that the figures provided in the survey have only continued to grow worse.

The 25 cities include Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, among others. More revealing, however, are the cities not included in this report. New Orleans, for example, has not been included in the survey since it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Detroit, the biggest poor city in America, was also left out, even though it was included in the task force's 2007 report.

While a majority (68 percent) of the cities increased their funding for emergency food assistance in 2008, this growth was generally outpaced by increases in demand. The largest gaps between supply and demand were found in Philadelphia, where demand increased by 23 percent, but supply decreased by 26 percent, and Phoenix, which saw demand increase by 35 percent, but supply decrease by 13 percent.

One cause of the growing gap between supply and demand for food assistance can be found in the changing sources of food donations. Large grocery chains and other food suppliers provide, on average, half of all food donations. "This dependence has become problematic as improvements in quality control and supply chain management have reduced the quantity of excess or slightly imperfect food products that food banks receive from large grocery chains and national food companies," the report notes.

Of the 21 cities that responded to the question, 20 stated that requests for emergency food assistance had increased in 2008. Much of this increase has resulted from a rise in first-time requests for assistance, particularly among working families affected by the economic downturn and rising food prices. The survey showed that 59 percent requesting food assistance are in families, 41 percent are employed, 15 percent are elderly, and 11 percent are homeless.

Because demand for food assistance has largely not been met by supply, many kitchens and pantries have had to reduce the quantity of food handed out (80 percent of cities), turn people away (60 percent), limit the number of times a person can visit, and restrict services to neighborhood residents.

The surveyed cities were also asked to list the top three causes of hunger in their city. Poverty was cited by 83 percent of the cities, followed by unemployment (74 percent), high housing costs (57 percent), and increases in food prices (39 percent).

Looking at rates of homelessness, the report states that 19 of the 25 cities (83 percet) reported that homelessness had increased over the past year. "On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase in homelessness in 2008." This includes family homelessness, which 16 of the cities reported increased.

Four cities - Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Gastonia, North Carolina; and San Francisco, California - report that homelessness has increased by more than 30 percent over the past year.

When asked if the number of employed homeless persons had increased, 11 of the 19 cities that collected this data showed an increase, while only one city reported a decrease, and seven reported no change. Homelessness has also been exacerbated by the foreclosure crisis, with 12 cities reporting that it has contributed to an increase in homelessness.

For example, in Los Angeles, 31 percent of individuals seeking shelter had to be turned away due to a lack of beds, according to a 2007 survey. Des Moines reports that "shelter providers regularly report that 'turn-aways' are a routine occurrence."

The report finds that the mentally ill are particularly vulnerable, with 26 percent of the persons experiencing homelessness also suffering from a severe mental illness.

The survey notes that there are a number of limitations to the study. For example, the cities selected for the survey do not constitute a representative sample of US cities. Furthermore, the averages among the 25 cities used by the report, which vary in size and location, are not weighted by differences in the populations of the cities.

However, despite these and other drawbacks, the survey still provides valuable information on the dismal social decay that characterizes the urban centers in the United States.

TheAnonymous said...

Trent living in the ST house was just crass, sophomoric affectation.

Now that he's grown up some (still has a long way to go), and since he's always seen himself as the center of some mopey universe that may or may not exist outside of his head, of course he's upset about his music being used for torture. Cause, you know, his music isn't about torturing other people, it's about how tortured TRENT is. If it's taking the focus off him, that will not stand.

RIGHT ON JR! Trent is self-serving and ONLY has concern for himself. The ST house situation was for PUBLICITY and $$$. He will step on anything and anyone for a dime or some fame, then use the excuse "Oops, drugs" or "I have always operated from fear". Poor, pitiful Trent!

Maise and Iris are too busy sucking on his corporate cock to look up and think. Wait till they have children, NIN music will be locked up from the little ones - don't want any suicides!

Don't get me started on how he unkindly USES people. It's abusive and he barely knows the people he abuses. BURN.

Anonymous said...

Oh, The, I'd love to hear more.

Till then, I recommend Edie Sedgwick. VIEWMASTER!

maise said...

You know what my Christmas wish is? (Other than Trent rescuing me from the relentless Chicago winter in his action helicopter?)

For people around here to pick more interesting fucking pseudonyms. Seriously.

AnonymousAnonymousAnonymous said...

Your other heroes laid bare

Take this rock n roll refugee
Ooo Babe, set me free.

incognito! said...

Hard to tell which one of them is more disgusting.

maise said...

Oh God, remember on WTC when we debated Bono for like three weeks?


Personally, it comforts me to know that Bono isn't 100% earnest and pure-minded. You want saints? Join the Catholic Church. Bono is a rock star who's just donated a ton of time and money to indubitably good causes.

But I'm NOT getting into this AGAIN.

Think of the children. Such as.