Metal Softies

Indonesian rock bands have a seriously weird aesthetic for self-representation, from the point of view of a Westerner, that is. You see these guys who look for all the world like a death-metal band — weird hair-tattoos (like, where they shave intricate patterns into their hair), leather and spikes, braids in their beards, and tough-guy expressions — but then you hear the music and they’re singing soft-rock, ballads, lovesong-sounding stuff.

By the way, I’m not ignoring the comments that are being made here… but after half an hour at the Starbucks, discovering that everything (including Gmail) except my website was working better than any connection I’d seen in Indonesia, I saved the comments I’d written and left them on my hard drive. I’ll be switching over to that computer in a moment, so they should be up soon!

3 thoughts on “Metal Softies

  1. Interesting. The metal look without the music. Seems like an inversion of the feminized 80s’ hard rock/metal aesthetic … remember Steve Tyler and David Lee Roth wearing tights and womens’ scarves, or Axl for that matter?

    1. Now that you mention it, Jack, yeah, it does sort of seem like an inversion of that.

      Unlike in Korea, where you have the feminized look and the feminized music, and a scarcity of anything even remotely masculine in general — at least among that younger generation. We were watching a Korean TV show the other day and it was like, “Is that guy supposed to be a flaming homosexual, or…”

      Of course, he wasn’t. He was just a “pretty flower boy.” One senses that in Korean fashion and entertainment, as with European music in the time of Mozart, when all that funky counterpoint of old was abandoned for pretty melody and sonorous accompaniment, things are just going deeply, deeply wrong somehow. But what do I know, it’s not my completely emasculated pop culture.

      1. Junsok,

        Hey, thanks for the insight, discouraging as it might be. I’m hoping that the committee in question is at least a little flexible, given that they’ve agreed to meet and discuss the possibility in the first place. If not, the question of whether my publishing career or my stay at CUK is more important to me will come up… and given the inflexibility you describe, perhaps it would be one of those things I could take a kind of signal of the “it’s just not worth the trouble” type. I suspect, though, either way, they’re going to insist I have the same “research funding” line appended to my stories that would be appended to a paper — that is, they’re likely to disregard the norms of fiction venues if they’re equating fiction publications with academic ones. This is bound to cause trouble, though I would like to think this is an understandable difference and mentioning my workplace in my bio for every publication would suffice. (I haven’t done so to date, but it would be quite easy to change that.)

        Still, I have my fingers crossed. As you said, my Department Head is quite resourceful and intelligent, and you never know: I’ve been surprised in the past. In the meantime, if you don’t mind scanning the title page of the story, the table of contents, the list of copyrights including my story’s original copyright, and the page from the Honorable Mentions that lists other stories I got that received HMs, that would be an immense favour!

        (I’m asking a friend with a key to my place to drop off the whole book at the office, but I haven’t heard back from him.)

        And yeah, I won’t let them keep the book: there’s no point, really, and it’s my only contributor copy. I remember them asking to keep a copy of the chapbook I published with students a while back, and I asked themm what for, why they couldn’t just have the document file. They finally agreed, after I pointed out I’d paid out of my pocket to print the books, and that it would sit unread in the vaults which was a waste of my money, but also would stop one more reader from enjoying the book.

        Argh, administrators. And yes, well, Korean academia is… well, it is what it is, and it has bright spots in it (like you, like the profs I work with directly, and some others I’ve met) but man, some of the kneejerk conservativism that especially infests the administrative departments just blows my mind. I thought Canadian college admins were hard to deal with, but… well, anyway, I find it’s really not a very healthy environment for young minds (or any minds at all), all this “No!” is the first-and-final answer. Again, potential “it’s just not worth it” signals abound, though one may be forgiven for holding out a little hope…

        What’s scariest is that I suspect it’s rubbing off on me… something I am constantly wary to resist in myself.

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