It’s said that the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference. And that has been the most common sentiment I’ve heard since the passing of Seth Putnam, singer of Anal Cunt and the man who called the world gay. Of course for his detractors, what else can you do? To actually celebrate his death would be to play into the game he started at least twenty years ago when loving the Holocaust and beating up pregnant women seemed like edgy comedy gold.
But no matter how many “Don’t give a shit”‘s may be thrown around, Putnam was able to make an impression more than most in extreme music. We all have Anal Cunt song titles kicking around our hippocampi and revealing the existence of the band to unsuspecting friends and relatives was a constant source of enjoyment before any two girls picked up a single cup. There were also the stories, apocryphal or not, of live shows being filled with the kind of violence and noise that elicited a reluctant respect. But his plethora of burned bridges and unalloyed fuckheadedness soon overshadowed any musical accomplishments and in these last few years was receiving the same amount of reverence as a Spencer Gifts during its going out of business sale.
Maybe holding up a magnifying glass to this over-the-top repugnance shows enough self-aware irony that it successfully turned the mirror on an often humorless, ostentatious genre. Or maybe that’s simply wishful thinking and Anal Cunt’s sophomoric hate illustrated someone who, pathetically, was never able to break out of teen nihilism and self-destruction.
Whatever the real answer is, if there can be one, his legacy seems to appropriately come to us in song title form, from Total Fucking Destruction. “Seth Putnam is Wrong About a Lot of Things, But Seth Putnam is Right About You.”