The Rock Star and the Red Herring

Simcha had this cool thing posted on her wall the other day, about how Aaron Lewis interrupted his own show to lambast a group of guys who were groping an adolescent girl.

Staind frontman Aaron Lewis interrupted his own performance on Saturday to reprimand a group of fans who crossed the line with an adolescent girl.

During the band’s appearance at the Kansas City Rockfest, some rockers near the stage hoisted a young girl into the air to crowd surf. Lewis finished his verse, but didn’t even warn his band before he launched into a profanity-laden rant.

“Listen up you (expletives) ,that (expletive) girl right there is like 15 (expletive) years old and you (expletive) pieces of (expletive) are molesting her while she’s on the (expletive) crowd,” he ranted. “Your (expletive) mothers should be ashamed of themselves.”

The rant lasted for an entire minute.

Music blogger Cassiopia Demers witnessed it from just a few rows back. Demers, who is known as KC Cassie, said it was clear that the crowd was groping and pinching the teen, and that the girl wanted to be put down.

“I think she was a little bit uncomfortable because she didn’t really know what was going on,” she said.

(Read the rest here)

This is a neat story, though I could have done without the bit where he threatened to have the rest of the crowd beat the guys (what is he, frickin’ Prospero?). It didn’t seem earth-shattering or anything to me…despite knowing that my experience is not the norm, I’ve generally encountered that same kind of protectiveness from rocker-types. Granted, my experience was limited almost entirely to Scorpions concerts, but I’d take that crowd any day over the hair-pulling nightmare of heels and hysteria at the one Hanson concert I went to. (No shame. Mmmmbop forever.)

But then I read the comments and got a little annoyed. Someone asked “if it was an all-girls band and a 15 year old boy was being beaten up in the mosh, would the lead female singer do this? I wonder…”

So these kinds of things are just stupid, and I feel okay saying that without any qualifications. Situation-reversal techniques might have some limited use in psychology or inducing enough guilt in your one kid to get them to stop hitting your other kid, but when it comes to making a LARGER POINT, this is almost certainly the worst way to do it.

I saw the same thing when the Black Mass story broke. Literally every which way I looked, someone was asking if everyone would be cool with this if it was a Koran they were desecrating, and Islam they were blaspheming. Using that kind of hypothetical is always, always a lose-lose tactic in any kind of respectful discourse, because it knocks the level of discourse down a few pegs from “respectful.”

Let’s be honest. This is just a grown-up way of kicking our feet and yelling “but it’s not FAIR!’ My kids do that and I’m like, “yeah, kid. Life isn’t fair. Go to your room.” It’s not fair when you’re a kid, and it’s not fair when you’re an adult. That sucks, but it is what it is. When an adult makes the “that’s not fair” argument, everybody who doesn’t agree with them (and a great many who do) just stop listening, because it’s a childish argument.

It’s childish because it impugns the goodwill of someone, while simultaneously making people lose respect for your ability to make an argument about the situation at hand, since you’re not. You’re hijacking the situation at hand to point out something totally different. In the case of the Black Mass, it was people saying that it’s not fair that our culture is more sensitive to the religious freedom of Muslims than Catholics. Well, yes, that isn’t fair. But the problem isn’t really that society is more respectful and  considerate of Muslims, is it? I mean, we wouldn’t want them to be less respectful or less considerate to Muslims just to even it out, right? Of course not. We would just like to be shown the same kind of respect and consideration. And we should be, because Catholicism is an ancient, beautiful religion that has produced prolific thinkers and artists just like Islam. And just like Muslims, we Catholics believe in our religion, love it, and would lay down our lives to defend if, if we had to.

Bringing Islam into the conversation was a red herring from the start, an attempt to get everyone to realize that “it isn’t fair” and make it fair. But life doesn’t work that way, and people don’t respond to whining, either from children or adults. Explaining why the Black Mass was such an affront to Catholics and why we take it so seriously as the worst kind of blasphemy went much further with people who didn’t understand than pulling out the “you wouldn’t do it to the Muslims!” card.

But in the case of what Aaron Lewis did, it’s an even worse reaction, because it’s dismissing a good act simply because it was a girl being protected instead of a boy.

Let’s just consider the absurdity of that, okay? Crowd-surfing is a notoriously dangerous thing for a girl to do, because (sorry, feminists) we’re girls. We have different body parts than boys, we’re softer, more nubile, and sick people like to do things like finger female rock stars who crowd-surf. Although I don’t ignore for one second that a boy could be in serious danger in the middle of a female mosh pit, if they were angry enough I guess, it’s not the same kind of danger. That’s why it’s so important for men to call out other men who are sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in broad daylight. We need men to protect us in that way particularly, because it is where we are the most vulnerable.

It made me really, really happy to see that Aaron Lewis did that. It made me really, really sad to see that someone didn’t care about a woman’s honor being protected because…why? Because it’s not fair that girls can get sexually assaulted by many people at once and need rock stars to protect them? Because it’s not fair that girls whine so much about that whole rape thing and boys get in trouble for it? Because why, actually? I mean, why was that comparison even made?

There is no doubt that our culture is teeming with violence, and there’s no doubt that girls are as capable of it as boys, as we’ve seen this week. And you know, there’s also no doubt that rape victims are male as well as female. But none of those facts change the fact that adolescent girls are vulnerable to sexual assault, and Aaron Lewis was willing to step in and protect one. That’s a good thing. There’s no need to muddy the waters here.


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