Well, this is depressing.
I’m a big fan of Armenian-American metal band, System of a Down. Huge fan. Not just because of the ecstatic ferocity of their mosh pits, but because they marry that intensity to music that f**king means something. That stands for something. In a genre that too often skirts around addressing the world in a substantive way, System of a Down always stood out for their unabashed and strident leftist politics. Whether it was war (‘Why don’t presidents fight the war, why do they always send the poor?’), the military-industrial complex in general (‘Manufacturing consent is the name of the game, the bottom line is money, nobody gives a f**k, 4000 hungry children leave us per hour from starvation, while billions are spent on bombs, creating death showers’), or America’s prison-industrial complex (‘Minor drug offenders fill your prisons you don’t even flinch, all our taxes paying for your wars against the new non-rich’)—or the Armenian activism that runs right through the band’s DNA—System of a Down’s lyrics went for the jugular more often than not.
So it really is depressing to find out that their drummer, John Dolmayan, has apparently had Ted Nugent or some sh*t on instead in his earphones while performing with them this whole time. In the middle of one of the most significant moments for civil rights in decades, as the Black Lives Matter movement raised a huge, global protest against the continued and unashamed violence of the American state against its Black population, President Donald Trump fled into the White House bunker, quoted a trigger happy racist police chief (apologies for the tautology) from the sixties as an indication of the response he’d like to see to this civil unrest, and then threatened to call in the military. Now, the American Presidency is an institution soaked in the blood of people of color. Not one of them escapes that judgement—no, not any Democrat, neither, war-hungry party of international destruction that it is. Nevertheless, there is something so brazen and so open about Trump’s racism, that not only makes it so obvious that it is not a bug of the office but a feature, but that makes it—unlike some more clever, deceptive racists that came before him—incredibly, cartoonishly undeniable. Trump is a racist. It’s not in any way deniable. He lives and breathes it, a trundling, wheezing embodiment of the American state. So to see anyone who you would expect to be clued up defending Trump in that regard is depressing as hell. Enter John Dolmayan, who took to his Instagram to echo far-right talking points about Trump being a President under siege:
Come on, mate. I know it’s not wise to put too much stock in the opinion of celebrities, musicians included, but…it’s not like you’re the drummer for Coldplay. Comments under the piece expressed a similar sentiment:
brien84: ‘You’re embarrassing yourself.’
rankinho: ‘Does Trump acknowledge the Armenian genocide?’
caspervondj: ‘someone has been banging his head on his drums for too long.’
joaovelhaco: ‘Rock and roll failed’
cora_solera4220: ‘Somebody doesn’t listen to his own songs 🤣’
I am the first person to criticise the mainstream media. It’s a hobby! A jolly and merry hobby that erodes my soul more and more with every passing day. I utter the key phrases in my sleep. ‘The mainstream media is one of the most powerful tools in the establishment’s arsenal’. ‘As a capitalist institution the mainstream media is a force of reaction against the Left’. ‘The mainstream media prefers fascism to socialism’. Etc. etc. etc. Bla bla bla. We all know the song. But to see critique of the mainstream media being twisted in the era of Trump and other right wing demagogues in a way that benefits them and somehow presents them as the true enemies of the mainstream is one hell of a trip. And, like other musicians we might wish would shut up, it seems to be the avenue that Dolmayan is walking down too
But hey, at least System of a Down singer, Serj Tankian, had a much more System of a Down-style response to Trump’s recent bulls**t on his Instagram:
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Run Donny run into your bunker. You may be the first US President to do so out of fear of your own citizens. A real leader would address the nation properly and a real man would go face the protestors on the streets in person. But like other corrupt undemocratic leaders in the past, you’ve realized they are not your people as you are not really our President. These protests are not just over race but over institutional injustices beginning with the slave era electoral college that put you in power, K Street lobbying firms, superdelegates of a two party duopolistic Neo-liberal corporatocracy whose day has come. You make antifa a terrorist organization but not the KKK? The lessons of the 2018 peaceful successful revolution in Armenia can be applied in the US and elsewhere in the world. Coordinate online and block every street everywhere and force the regime to resign. The time has come. Your time has come @realdonaldtrump
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