Constructive Disruption: On Derek Webb’s Mind Ctrl Part Two

Continued from yesterday

McDonald’s employees allegedly assaulted human cyborg Steve Mann in Paris, France on July 17, 2012. When this news item appeared in my Twitter feed, it marked the first time I had seen the word “cyborg” outside the realm of science fiction.

Two weeks after this incident, singer-songwriter Derek Webb released his latest album, Ctrl. In writing about the album on Twitter, Webb described it as an exploration of “the tenuous relationship between culture and technology.”

When I read about Steve Mann, I pictured him as a freewheeling, Happy Meal-eating renegade of the human race—one who lives at the topical intersection Webb describes as the heart of Ctrl. [Read more…]

Constructive Disruption: On Derek Webb’s Mind Ctrl Part One

On his 2009 album, Stockholm Syndrome, in a song titled “Freddie Please,” singer-songwriter Derek Webb addresses the head of a certain Kansan family known for hoisting hateful signs aloft and picketing the funerals of soldiers.

Over a disposable bed of music that sounds like an electronic retread of the Penguins’ “Earth-Angel,” Webb pleads from the perspective of the risen Christ with Freddie, who is picketing the empty tomb.

When I interviewed Webb in Leawood, Kansas on October 20 prior to his performance in support of his new album, Ctrl, I felt I had a geographic obligation to ask him if anyone from Freddie’s family had contacted him about the song. Freddie lives in Topeka, after all—a scant seventy miles west of the concert venue.

“(Freddie’s) granddaughter reached out to me on Twitter,” Webb explained. “She thought the song was great.” The communication remained courteous, and culminated in Webb inviting the family to protest at one of his shows. [Read more…]