The Tension Between Kurt & Kendrick


Yesterday, I sent out a series of tweets about context and whys, followed by this one, with no context and no why.

Lillie wasn't the only one wondering what that meant. Outside of just loving To Pimp A Butterfly, the gist of what I told her was simply a humorous irony - censoring Kendrick Lamar's lyrics followed by Kurt Cobain's condemnation of the practice. 

Frankly, I've never been a fan of censorship. I don't like radio edits, I don't like watered down, I don't like cover ups and I don't like acting like things aren't the way things are. I hated my parent's TV Guardian that would cut out all of the curse words on TV and replace them with dumb substitutions when I was growing up. I remember reading Cobain's quote out of one of those journals of his that Barnes & Noble used to sell when I was younger, and thinking, "Yeah! That's right! Punk rock! Real life!" And I mean, I was a teenager so I don't really know how real life that rebellious idealism actually was, but he certainly did have some commentary on people-pleasing and entertainment. 

 "Here we are now - entertain us!" 

So anyway, I recently watched Kendrick's performance of "These Walls" on Ellen, and was struck by his replacement of the obscenity that usually ends the track with a "censored" version of it. Rather than using the original expletive and letting the network do with it what they would, he - and I couldn't get this description out of my mind - became all things to all people . 

I wonder if Cobain would've viewed it as a forfeiture of his artistic integrity. I'm not acting like I know anything about either of them, I'm just superimposing my random thoughts out onto the world - maybe they're as much of a fabrication as it sounds like the new Montage of Heck is. 

Anyway, I remember how angry the bands I used to tour with would get if a promoter asked them not to curse on stage at a venue. Honestly I couldn't care less about "bad" language, but I felt simultaneously convicted and encouraged by Kendrick's professionalism on Ellen, not to mention the humility that he seems to embody in nearly every public appearance and interview that I've seen him participate in recently. 

I guess that tweet embodied a tension that resonates. On the one hand, at least in relation to language, I think there are certain points that call for legitimate uses of the harshest of words, and I appreciate them. On the other hand, it was a result of me thinking that not all irritations with "things that don't matter" are an excuse to make them matter so much that you've got to offend others to prove a point. Not all things are beneficial, and sometimes a professional respect for others, like censorship, just might be a form of self-sacrifice that places others before yourself, even - and this is especially difficult for artist-types - at the expense of things that we feel we have the personal freedom to do. 

So anyway, those are some thoughts. Ol' KDot exemplifying something that, for whatever reason, taught me about love. 

So there's some context and some why.