Sunday, September 18, 2016

Vans Warped Tour and its Intentions

I've been complaining to myself more and more about meta-narratives as of late. It's not that I find them all unconvincing because that's simply not the case. For instance, I ardently support moral absolutism. I can't imagine ever supporting moral relativism, a system of ethics that has been criticized by religious and non-religious people alike.

But that's neither here nor there. I guess this is technically about business ethics but I'm not going to try and conjure up anything too complex from that quagmire of moral ideas. Sometimes I just want to write about things that bother me, and so, that's my intent. Can that ever be a good intent, to write about something bothersome, or what I deem 'ungood?'

It's annoying because they [the meta-narratives] don't ultimately matter; many meta-narratives are annoying because they're a waste of time. I guess that's exactly what I'm doing here. But sometimes you just can't help but believe that nearly everyone is lying and that they're unaware of their falsity and that it might perhaps be, at least, a morally neutral idea to inform them of such falsity and so you go with your intuition no matter how impractical.

If you are familiar with contemporary music festivals, it's likely that you've heard of Vans Warped Tour. It's been around for a long time - I don't know how long - but I won't bore you with the facts. Anyway, the festival has hosted bands like The Used, Hawthorne Heights, and The Spill Canvas, just to name three.

Some sample lyrics from these musicians:

I'll be just fine
Pretending I'm not
I'm far from lonely
And it's all that I've got

~ The Used, "All That I've Got"

So cut my wrists and black my eyes
So I can fall asleep tonight, or die
~ Hawthorne Heights, "Ohio is for Lovers" 

Take this razor and cut your palms
I'll do the same until
a river of crimson begins to flow
~ The Spill Canvas, "Black Dresses"

Now of course, these are only samples, so the entirety of these songs cannot be evaluated solely on these excerpts. But it seems quite intuitive that these quotes were created out of loneliness and an inclination toward self-harm. And yet, one of Warped Tour's most successful sponsors has been a company that tries to raise awareness of and help those who struggle with self-harm: To Write Love On Her Arms.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself "that's all well and good because To Write Love On Her Arms is at the right place to help the right people." I won't deny that the organization has made a positive impact on certain peoples lives - I sincerely think they have. I enjoy some of this emo, scenester, whatever-sort-of-music you'd like to call it, music, too.

But here's what I'm wondering about: does Vans Warped Tour, as a whole, encourage this self-loathing and self-harm, or does it encourage its attendees to turn away from this darkened psychology and unhealthy treatment of self? When looking at the two pieces of the puzzle I provided (the bands and the organization), no clear answer exactly surfaces.

Note: I sincerely think that "Black Dresses" is a quality song and that the dark imagery is not meant to be taken literally but that it's actually used to describe the transition between youth and adulthood. I remember the first time I heard the song, around 6 years ago, and I have yet to hear any other guitar playing that I enjoy so much.

Edit: I did not provide any meta-narrative, though I think there is one to accurately describe the case.

Edit 2: I've been editing this post way too much (notice that edit within an edit?). I only note this to inform potential readers who have potentially (no matter how slight that potential may be) read the article more than once and have thought to themselves: "this looked different last time I saw it." It probably was.

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