So Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist recently appeared on MTV’s Made to wear odd tiny hats and dispense life advice as a quote-unquote “Queen of Scream.” Her disciple is a lil pious church mouse named Julia, a sixteen year-old so terribly cyberbullied that by her own admission the only places she feels safe are “church, home, and the drama room” and who believes the solution to these problems lies in becoming a “Metal Screamer,” thus punching her ticket to the untouchable in-crowd, which, among other things I suppose, goes to show how long ago I graduated from high school.
To this end Professor White-Gluz demonstrates flamboyant, cringe-worthy headbanging technique, offers pointers from the metal-screaming-is-just-whispering-real-real-loud school of bellowing, explains vegan straight-edge to Julia’s bemused Midwestern parents, and employs a Socratic method that results in nuggets such as this palm-to-forehead gobsmacker:
“If I walk up to you and say, ‘God doesn’t exist,’ what would your response be?”
“Yes, he does.”
“Exactly. So if somebody walks up to you and says ‘Julia sucks,’ what would your response be?”
“No, she doesn’t.”
Sure, If God doesn’t exist, you probably actually do suck is the kind of advice that makes you wonder if perhaps MTV shouldn’t have instead looked to Betsey Bitch as a potential coach, but there are at least five reasons metalheads should check out the episode:
1. Julia skips attending a metal show with Alissa and Iwrestledabearonce to build a series of elaborate gingerbread houses with a gaggle of old women. If you don’t understand how this helped Julia maintain her fledgling metal cred, it’s okay. Get back to me after you watch The Agonist’s absurdist capes n’ hand fans video for “Thank You Pain” and the bear wrestlers’ conceptual film based on the track “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon”. (Real talk: If these fuckers actually once bested a bear, that bear must have been hibernating.)
2. Julia’s mother breaks up Alissa’s first pink bedroom “scream session” — sample yelps: No more! Look who’s laughing now! — with her own Benton-style growl of Time to go to bed! suggesting the older woman’s previous ostentatious concerns over the potential for Julia to slip into “devil worship” via metal were actually part of a elaborate cover to hide a Rosemary’s Baby-esque conspiracy. Run, Julia, before your parents embed the spawn of Satan in your womb!
3. Tie. Julia’s hot pink Auditions for Metal Band flyers vs the tuff grrl drummer’s ceaseless mocking of Julia for being unwilling to call her band Two Balls Shy. Julia ultimately goes with the fey-as-all-get-out This Too Shall Pass. On the upside I don’t think any female drummer has showed this much promise since the era of Samantha Maloney and the Doughnuts.
4. A metalhead “friend” sneers that Julia will “probably scream about how angry she was that the latest episode of Gossip Girl didn’t go the way she wanted it to go.” Right on, bro! Taylor Momsen is a sellout! This quip makes the list mostly because later in the program it is amusing to imagine the lines Julia screams — i.e. “You never know when your lungs will fill with broken glass”; “Stop feeding off them, they are poisonous and divine” — are actually snippets of Chuck Bass fan fiction.
5. Johnny Plague, singer of Wings of Plague and a man possessing such metal prowess he is able to summon pits both at strip clubs and in cartoons, feels Julia’s pain backstage (“I was bullied. I have also written songs about being bullied”), then onstage betrays no sense of irony as he dedicates a song to “all the bullies” entitled…”Decimate the Weak.” Yes, yes, Plague, I bet all the bullies in the house took that as a diss, not a call to arms…