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Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby tmidgett on Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:00 pm

They didn't know what they were getting into, so I can see why they would change it.

It's a blunt-instrument kind of name, so you either live with that or you bail.

Joy Division knew what they were getting into. Plus there's the subtlety that they named themselves after an oppressed group, not an army/political group who attacked and killed a lot of people and put a country under Communist rule.

Plus Joy Division was the perfect band name for Joy Division, so what could they do?

New Order, also great band name, similarly both perfect and on the edge. Generic enough to fly and not ultimately Nazi-inspired as it turned out, but again--they still knew what was wrapped up in it.

Silkworm adopted the logo of a left-wing Salvadoran political party in 1992 and kept it as our thing thereafter. I heard about it maybe twice. It was soft enough (the party had some grounding in guerrilla activity but is now one of the two main parties in El Salvador) that the people weren't really offended by it--just puzzled.

The Bottomless Pit sigil got more comment just because it looks "Arabic" and people have all kinds of weird reactions to that stuff.

First show we ever did with any merch was in Boston at...the Middle East. A guy of Middle Eastern descent came up to the table and got this screwed-up look on his face. I realized I had no idea if my purely-graphically-and-English-letter-inspired design meant anything in anything (the characters were originally Farsi).

"Is that Farsi?" he said with a little edge in his voice.

"Uh...kind of. Does it...mean anything?"

He looked it for a few seconds, during which I thought of all the terrible things it could mean. When he turned it sideways, I figured I was probably OK.

"Nope."

Yay!
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby garthplinko on Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:06 pm

154 wrote:And then there are the names that became 'offensive' due to things beyond their control: Isis, Burning Airlines, I am the World Trade Center, etc.


See also: Anthrax circa October 2001
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby Mason on Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:37 pm

tmidgett wrote:"Uh...kind of. Does it...mean anything?"


"Book book"!
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby 154 on Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:59 pm

Eh, I think Joy Division often get a free pass because they have a legacy of being trenchcoat intellectuals or something, but this cover was pretty oblivious (though I think it was designed when they were still called Warsaw):

Image

And sure they 'owned' it, but they probably didn't think more than 2,000 people would ever hear it.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby tmidgett on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:36 pm

big_dave wrote:I think it's a question of distance. Joy Division works because it confronted the audience with something close to home that they were used to keeping at a distance. Viet Cong couldn't be more distant from the Viet Cong, so it comes across as a tasteless non sequitor.


Yes. Great point.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby OrthodoxEaster on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:51 pm

White Pride, Fearless Iranians from Hell, Rapeman, Bitch Magnet, Butthole Surfers, Pussy Jews, Sutcliffe Jügend. Easy for someone to take issue w/any of them.

Why is this even a thread? Kind of a complex thing, depends on the band and its motives, no? And even that is not so clear-cut.

Given say, how the rather explicit lyrics of much modern day hip-hop and black metal (sorry, but by this point, both of them generally have jack shit to do w/"oppressed" people lashing out) are simply a fact of life, it now seems hopelessly quaint to look back at a time when the Moral Majority and PMRC were trying to censor words by everyone from W.A.S.P. to 2 Live Crew and causing much outrage in the '80s. But... giving a shit about what someone chooses to call his band in 2015 is kind of the same deal.

I don't really care about Viet Cong. That they chose to cave instead of eloquently explaining themselves and their choice speaks volumes about today's culture's tendency towards being both needlessly hypersensitive and rather vapid.

There's probably already a group called Red Army out there somewhere, but even as a first-generation Ukrainian-American whose family suffered much and needlessly at the hands of said army, I couldn't really imagine feeling "offended." Waving around a hammer and sickle or a swastika for your outdated political party is a lot shittier than trying to get attention or a rise out of people w/your dumbass band name and iconography, which is ultimately rather trivial.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby i am the smud on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:54 pm

OrthodoxEaster wrote:(sorry, but by this point, both of them generally have jack shit to do w/"oppressed" people lashing out)


This is such an ignorant point to make about rap I don't even know where to begin.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby OrthodoxEaster on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:58 pm

i am the smud wrote:
OrthodoxEaster wrote:(sorry, but by this point, both of them generally have jack shit to do w/"oppressed" people lashing out)


This is such an ignorant point to make about rap I don't even know where to begin.


Sorry, it's 2015. An awful lot of mainstream, commercial rappers just write lyrics that could be construed as stupidly violent or offensive to women b/c it's a trapping of genre, NOT b/c of their socioeconimic situations or racism or whatever. I sort of know what you're getting at and maybe you had a point in 1989, but I don't see much of one now. Hell, the entire "horrorcore" genre kind of killed this argument in the early '90s. Most of the bands involved in it would freely admit it was merely shock for shock's sake, a la early Alice Cooper. And there's not a damn thing wrong w/that.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby i am the smud on Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:00 pm

Seinfeldgettingupandleaving.gif

Should've known better than to open my mouth again about rap on this forum

Edit: since I'm such a glutton for punishment -

Check out Vince Staples, Killer Mike, & Earl. I'm leaving out a million obvious examples but that's a good start. All popular, critical darlings.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby J. Burns on Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:34 pm

154 wrote:
jeff_fox wrote:
jimmy two hands wrote:I don't really see what was so offensive about Viet Cong in the first place.

It's not the name itself. It's the whole idea of a group of pasty-white hipster art fags with no connection to vietnamese history flippantly using a term with such historical weight to name their dumb art project.


But yeah, this mostly. It wasn't dumb of them to change it, it was dumb that they used it without good reason in the first place.


Quoting all this for truth.

If Viet Cong called themselves that because their music had a political bent or had an otherwise confrontational streak to their music (ala Joy Division or GO4)--I wouldn't necessarily back that, but I could understand for sure.

Calling your band Viet Cong because YOLO is a dumb reason and changing it is the right thing to do in this case.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby sulfur)addict on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:55 pm

"Oh mommy, what's a sex pistol?"

I'm still somewhat surprised that Viet Cong was never taken by a crust band. Maybe it was, but the band sucked (by crust standards no less!) and it was forgotten to history.

Regardless, you can call your band whatever you want. Really! You can! But if it's stupid, expect people to call you out on it. See also: the similarly awesome-band-with-shit-name, Slaves. They changed it to Pleasure Forever - an equally dumb name, but at least this one wasn't offensive.

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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby jeff_fox on Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:01 pm

sulfur)addict wrote:Signed,
Dude who named his band Amyl


I first read that as "Amy!" and thought it was hilarious!
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby pldms on Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:19 pm

sulfur)addict wrote: See also: the similarly awesome-band-with-shit-name, Slaves.

There are two bands operating today under this same name. I blame Prince.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby OrthodoxEaster on Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:52 pm

Sometimes, a provocative name is just a name.

Michael Popke in Isthmus wrote:A few Madison band names have courted controversy. Among the most volatile was the Tar Babies, a term commonly associated with racism. Original member Bucky Pope says the connotation wasn't intentional.

"That was the last association you'd think liberal white teenagers would want to have with their punk band," says Pope, noting that the term was also used in the Br'er Rabbit children's stories to refer to an increasingly sticky situation. "But since I had never heard 'Tar Baby' used as a racial epithet and I was tired of thinking about band names, I went forward."

"I was seriously opposed," remembers Ka-Boom!Box's Davies, also a Tar Baby. "I was cautious for years telling people what the name of my band was. We did have a gig once in Atlanta that the opening band declined to play on the grounds of our name."

Pope and Davies eventually morphed the Tar Babies into the Bar Tabbies - "the result of being unable to come up with a cooler name and an attempt to exploit our past success with the Tar Babies," Pope says.

Another risky name is Yid Vicious, the klezmer band's takeoff on Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. Founder Bob Jacobson was drawn to the name despite the fact that "Yid" can be an anti-Semitic epithet for "Jew." "One of the reasons I liked the name was that I initially envisioned a band that would be less traditional than what Yid Vicious has ended up being," Jacobson says. "I thought we'd evolve a little more in the rock direction. But really, I was always just a sucker for a good pun."


For the record, both the Bar Tabbies and Yid Vicious are horrible band names.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby Robot McGearman on Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:42 pm

I think the band name is the only thing they got going for them. This band by any other name would still sound boring to my ears and relegate them among every other "indie" band with a goofy name.

geiginni wrote:Most of the band names thrown around on here the last few years are lame references to products or movements or items from before the millennials were born. Most just seem lazy and thoughtless.


If people are gonna be non-creative and name their bands after an armed movement/government sponsored death squad at least keep it current:

http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=59560

On the Houthi side, the committees have been called by various names, including popular committees, people’s committees, and revolutionary committees. Regardless of the name, they are armed militias seeking to control public life, including in the capital.


And make the music a little more intense.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby jurgis rudkus on Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:46 pm

VC album rips, may see them this week. Will advise that the EA bros do not approve.

My Lai -- now that's a killer band name.

jeff_fox wrote:Imagine a spray tanned electronic music douche naming his project 'Cristalnacht'.


Would see / party with in Ibiza.

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Shredrenica

Mason wrote:rainbow Doritos


Another tasty band name!
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby japmn on Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:18 am

jeff_fox wrote:also, upon further examination: their music is dreary, bleak, and devoid of any hooks.


That is what I would expect from a band named Viet Cong. That, and tunnels. Lots of tunnels.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby hellholiday on Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:56 am

I want to tell you that you've offended me
When you did the worst and unfriended me
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby J. Burns on Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:38 pm

There's a certain Australian band touring through Seattle next month. I got in trouble for pointing out that the c-word has a much different connotation in Australia. I was told that the Australian context didn't matter. Welp.
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Re: Offensive Band Names (Re: Viet Cong)

Postby tbone on Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:07 pm

So you guys are saying I probably shouldn't use The Shining Path as a band name?
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