A few days ago in Sacramento there was an incident at the Taake show where someone set off pepper spray into the crowd. Allegedly it was done by one person, a member of the local chapter of Antifa, who came in during the last song and let loose a torrent of this party favorite into the crowd. What could cause someone to commit such an act of mischief? Apparently the rumor mill has this shit (sort of) figured out. Antifa had launched the missive on their Sacramento chapter’s social media sites to boycott and protest this show because Taake’s vocalist once painted a swastika on his chest and also has made anti-Islamic comments somewhere. I’d look but this is honestly the most I’ve thought about Taake in over a decade so I’m tapped out.
For those unaware, Taake does a lot of shock rock nonsense, so, this is hardly a first. From having his dick hanging out of his jeans to making out with Shining’s Kvarforth, Taake’s Hoest excels at acting out in public in order to remain in the conversation. I’m not here to defend anything he’s said or done in the past or present because I’m not concerned with it, which I’m sure makes me a bad person in some of your eyes, but trust me I’d get there one way or another eventually.
While we’re working on exposition and what not Antifa stands for Anti-Fascist Action and for those who missed the first day of school that means they’re sitting on the far left side of things. They stand for such ideals as anti-racism, feminism, LGBT rights amongst other social issues, particularly with the working class. In the interest of not seeming entirely biased it can be said they have done some good things, like exposing politicians for nationalist beliefs and working towards positive social change.
This isn’t one of those instances.
Antifa has said to be trying to distance the organization from the alleged self-starter. Seems to be working well. This isn’t meant to be a conversation about politics and its place in metal—that’s a much larger conversation for you to lose your shit on me in the comments section. This is a condemnation of the action of one person who may or may not represent a whole and the lack of thought behind it.
After getting first-hand accounts from both people who were at the show as well as members of Wolvhammer whom are currently touring with Taake the story plays out that a lone member snuck in through the back way and in a show of courage unmatched by modern standards this brave warrior anonymously set off the pepper spray and then, like a mighty ninja, disappeared back into the night, probably feeling like Batman except without any of the actual danger of, you know, facing people you’re fighting. Bravo, I’m sure you have changed many hearts and minds to your side of thinking by such bold action.
The timing of this is incredibly poor, not that such schemes ever have a good “use by” date, but considering that a massacre in Orlando occurred just a few days earlier, one cannot but see this as incredibly fucking tasteless. It adds another level of irony since Antifa are so strongly pro-LGBT rights that one can’t help but see this as a ridiculous shitstain of a metaphor. To punish a crowd of people instead of going after the one person whom they feel is a confirmed enemy is irresponsible at best and ignorant as hell at it’s worst. The Taake show was attended by people from many diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, this wasn’t a white power rally. I’m sure most of them only like Skrewdriver’s first record. And to say that there is a tension at nightclubs and live music events in this country after what happened in Florida, not to mention last year’s attack in Paris, could have meant complete disaster resulting in more than people having to wash their eyes out with milk or whatever you do to get mace out of your eyes—I missed that day in health class—is grossly understating the situation. This could have prompted a complete overreaction which could have caused massive property damage or even loss of life because it’s akin to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. The self-righteousness that went into this action definitely overshadowed any common sense. I can’t take credit for this but someone said on my newsfeed that Antifa hate Nazis, but just gassed a room full of innocent people. The shithead who’s responsible for this should have his picture next to the definition of “irony” in the dictionary but he’s probably too busy patting himself on the back to pick up a book.
And before someone runs off and tells the guy who runs Ebullition to start writing letters to labels about how I’m a Nazi again, let’s put on those critical thinking caps I know y’all have and look at this for a moment. This isn’t in defense of Hoest’s alleged ranting or the picture of him with the swastika. I’m entirely for freedom of speech and expression, I think it’s one of the only principles this country was founded on that will always apply. But I’m also a firm believer that freedom of speech does not come without freedom from consequence. If you spout off something someone finds grossly offensive, then don’t be surprised if they don’t shove your teeth down your throat. But this didn’t really hit its target, did it? Instead it punished people who were there to see a few bands, get drunk and probably piss in their Uber on the ride home. And it did it after the largest mass shooting this country has seen in our lifetimes. That’s indefensible no matter how much you can argue about the perceived morality of the intent.
Antifa claims to be against oppression. That’s a noble goal. But you’re not winning hearts and minds by gassing a Taake show or going up and down the line at a Death in June concert and beating the shit out of people. That isn’t how you change people’s minds, it’s how you turn them against ever wanting to listen and be open to your point of view. Education and conversation are the only way to truly change people’s thouughts, an openness to patience and communicating. But I guess it’s more fun to just whack the shit out of people and, in some cases, it’s deserved since that’s the only way you can reach our more advanced members of society. But overall, it’s counterproductive. You’re shitting the bed but instead of washing the sheets, you’re setting the bed on fire. In the most direct and blunt terms possible you are using the methodology of those you’re fighting. Besides self-righteousness, what makes you any better? You’re going after soft targets in an effort to show strength but all it does it make you seem like the high school bully. I hope these kids’ lunch money is worth it.