Well, I guess posting this question to the metal forums was somewhat productive. It also reminded me what a shit-show the world of online discourse really is.
I received a range of responses. Most were pretty aggressive and tended to drip with condescension and judgment, something I’m sad, but not surprised to see in a metal forum. The academically-minded tended to sling piles of bullshit, interspersed with valid observations; a few of which were mildly enlightening.
And there were a couple of responses that succeeded in getting me thinking about more than just why I was asking the question in the first place, which I don’t find so interesting.
Here’s one of my responses to what people were saying (they tended to assume I was trying to justify metal in an absolute, universal sense. I guess I didn’t make that clear enough).
Thanks for your response. I’d respond in the thread, but its locked.Since the thread was locked…
It’s not meant to be an academic research essay. It’s for a creative writing class, so I have nothing to prove, academically at least. I don’t want to use post-feminist-de-constructural-bullshit-theory. I don’t even know what that crap is, probably for the best. I study Geography!
I’m writing a personal essay on what metal means to ME. But I don’t even know what metal means to me, since it’s so visceral. And at my current stage in life (22 years old. In college. Etc…) I’m trying to reconcile my worldview with my taste in a genre of music that seems to be at odds with said worldview. And I guess I was hoping others might help shed some light on that from their own experiences doing the same. If they did. Maybe some people don’t ask these questions.
As for refining it and such, I agree. But I’m not trying to get a concise, targeted research topic for serious study. I’m just trying to stir things up, get some ideas of ways to attack the leviathan that is our being drawn to certain music, certain art, etc.
If you’re still interested, ideologically I’m basically wondering if one could be buddhist and still consider metal a constructive force. I think the answer is yes, but it doesn’t seem obvious given the general pacifism and the attitude that in general, anger is unproductive and not worth our time and energy. The main quote (I call it a loophole, haha) I’m going to use to “justify” the role of metal in my life (and in the world? from this perspective at least) is the following:
[quote]What is the meaning of a wrathful Buddha? We see all these wrathful images of Buddhas (gesturing around the temple). But in truth wrathful Buddhas have nine qualities. Their bodies are wrathful, heroic, and frightening. Their voices are laughing, threatening, and fierce. But mentally they are loving, peaceful, and powerful. Like all enlightened beings, their minds are peaceful, compassionate, joyful, and wise. If a being is wrathful on the outside and also angry in its heart, then it is a real monster — not a Buddha. Wrathful Buddhas look wrathful for a purpose: for pacifying, for taming negative forces. –[From [url=http://www.khordong.de/Engl/News/Tulku_2003/tulku_thondup_2003.html]Tulku Thondup’s Talk in India 2003[/url][/quote]
Do you see what I mean? I’m looking at this at a very basic level. My professor distilled my question in an interesting way, she said I was basically trying to figure out, “How a nice guy like you listens to such violent, angry music.”
Does that change anything? It might not.