Part of the monthly column ‘Degtyarov’s Despotisms’, posted every last Friday of the month
With this being a personal column, there is always the risk of my more direct take on the events in the metal scene and beyond crossing the line into thinkpiecery. It’s not even the first-person meandering that invites this danger. Rather, a strong opinion is all too often seen as a provocation meant to summon hatereaders. Manufacturing outrage is a lucrative business indeed, and the reason why so many readers think that “you must be trolling, bro” is because a lot of people simply are.
Aware of said stigma, I will nonetheless attempt to outline the political background of the Black Ivory Tower project. That there is one is undeniable, as is attested to do with our popular and not at all controversial *cough* takes on anything ranging from NSBM to the Diversity Fun Squad that has sent bumper packs of delegates to every publication affiliated with the Blastbeat advertising network.
In addition, those who follow me around on social media or–even worse–know me in real life are no doubt aware of my ‘dubious’ political love affairs with such irrevocably evil people as Alexander Dugin, Hassan Nasrallah and the 45th President of the United States of America. I could of course stress once more that Black Ivory Tower has long ceased to be a one-man operation, but seeing as we live in the age of guilt by association and suckerpunching people whose opinions you don’t like, some of you will see Black Ivory Tower as the devil’s incarnate regardless, nuance be fucked.
So it would appear that I am effectively preaching from the ninth circle of hell and I have abandoned all hope of the majority of the so-called USBM friendship circle seeing me as anything else than a dirty “Netzi”.
And yet, I can proudly state that Black Ivory Tower is not a political website. Not because we shun politics or are afraid to be tainted by the undesirability of some of our opinions, but because our writing always transcends the political in its most mundane sense. Particularly in this wonderfully weird era of pussy hats and schizo bum Shia Labeouf getting arrested at his own livestream, there is a big temptation to just go in full attack against those who wish to impose their cosmopartisan mores on those who have the nerve to think freely.
However, focusing on politics without also finding a way to move beyond it would go against the principles on which this site is built. I have always said that the political and the artistic need not be separated from one another. Yet, at the same time, we must be willing to discuss politics as a part of a larger artistic whole, rather than moving in the other direction and trying to reduce all art to petty political statements, which is a territory best left to mentally unstable performance artists.
Were Black Ivory Tower to start posting long tirades against “SJWs”, not only would we alienate part of our own crew and friends (contrary to popular belief, we have quite a diverse set of political opinions within our team), but it would reduce our efforts to pointless virtue signalling to a choir of edgelords merely cruisin’ for a bit of confirmation bias; exactly what Noisey are doing for their own audience of zombies in flannel shirts.
At the same time, we do not remain silent against those who wish to poison the well, but there is a difference between telling a bunch of disingenuous pretend-journos to cool it and plastering the entire frontpage of your metal website with articles on how nasty Trump supposedly is.
Our ultimate objective is to introduce our readers to great art that has the potential to enrich the soul. In order to truly comprehend such art, provoking the political senses might be of help, but they are a means towards an end. At the same time, even our policy of discussing any artist, release or event that tickles our fancy without disclaimers or apologies is seen as a political statement in and of itself by some. And yes, this has “lost” us some readers (in the sense that they no longer publicly admit to reading our fine articles), but ultimately I remain convinced that, even with the strong political opinions that we occasionally put out there, our site can be enjoyed by more than just a select group of apostles.
Don’t think, however, this saves you from occasionally getting burned by our fire-tier banter.