All right. This post is probably only going to make sense to a small number of people, but I think it needs to be written.
A while back, I wrote what, upon reflection, is probably a little too-scathing of a review of the new Strokes album, Angles. As my friend Jesus Christ correctly pointed out the other day, I was hard on Julian Casablancas. I don’t like the way he approached the recording of that album and, though many people (mostly polite-ish people) have supplied a bit of context for Casablancas’s methods (apparently, according to a friend of mine who knows some people who worked with Casablancas, Julian felt that he’d carried the band through their first three records and, when they hit the big-time, they kind of abandoned him for solo projects and/or drug addictions), I still feel like he could’ve done things a bit more directly. And that context doesn’t change how I feel about Angles, although I must admit that I get “Machu Picchu” stuck in my head a lot these days.
I got a lot of comments on my Angles post, many of which hilariously (and correctly) pointed out that Casablancas is, in fact, married and has a kid. I didn’t research that because I didn’t care and I’m not going to try to make a better excuse for that now. I spend way more time researching things that I think will make funny jokes than I do looking up the various biographical statistics of famous people. Many of the comments said silly, bitter things like suggesting that perhaps I was cuckolded by Julian Casablancas and that’s what fueled my anger toward him. That’s all fine. I get comments like that all the time and I’m sure I will forever until I stop doing Bollocks! altogether. I completely respect and encourage your right to disagree with me and to speculate about the stability of my marriage all you want. After all, my right to say whatever I want about your favorite bands implies your right to say whatever you want about me. I’d still have a beer with you and I’m guessing, by the end of a conversation in person, we’d probably understand – and maybe even like – each other just fine.
But just today, I got a comment that I think went a little overboard. The commenter, who chose the very creative user name “IHATEYOU,” didn’t just state that he or she thinks I am a “PIECE OF SHIT.” I’d be perfectly okay with if they had. I’ve been called a piece of shit many, many times in the last three years and it hasn’t hurt me at all. But IHATEYOU thought it would be fun to also warn me that I “BETTER NOT SLEEP TONIGHT, BECAUSE ME AND OTHER FANS ARE COMMING FOR YOU.” As usual, I did not edit IHATEYOU’s all-caps screed for grammar, so I must apologize to my more literate readers. What I think IHATEYOU is trying to say is that he/she and other Strokes fans are going to try to kill me. Tonight. Which is unsettling because I have to work tonight. With a young woman who has cerebral palsy. And it’s gonna make things very hard for me indeed if an angry, semi-literate Strokes fan is “COMMING” for me, whatever that means.
In all seriousness, I sent IHATEYOU’s comment to the people at WordPress and they’re going to tell me exactly how I can report IHATEYOU to the proper law enforcement agency. While I would like to believe that IHATEYOU is just some kid out there in cyberspace, blowing off steam, I take threats against my life – especially threats that end with “YOU WILL DIE SOON” – very seriously. I hope that the police find IHATEYOU and help him or her get the psychological help (and grammar instruction) that they so clearly need.
I’ve explained many times since Bollocks! began that nothing I write on this blog is meant to be taken as an indictment of anyone else’s taste in music. It is simply a way to record my feelings on an album when I happen to be feeling them. I am not going to apologize for not liking Angles, though I am sorry if I hurt Julian Casablancas’s feelings by cracking that I hope he never gets married. I hope he enjoys married life and fatherhood very much. Contrary to what some people believe, I don’t hate Casablancas and I don’t have a grudge against him. If he and I are ever in the same city, I’d be happy to buy the man a cup of coffee and hear his side of things in a very informal, off the record way.
But I’d also like to point out (not for the first time) that nobody, to my knowledge, has ever been forced to read Bollocks!. You choose to read it and you choose how you respond to it. Honestly, some of the comments make me laugh a lot, even the mean ones. But IHATEYOU not only threatened my life, he/she implied that “OTHER FANS” agree with his/her plan of violence against me. I do not believe this is true. I know a great many Strokes fans (I myself am a Strokes fan) and some of them have disagreed with me about Angles without ever threatening to kill me (by the way, I’m guessing IHATEYOU is probably the stabby user on this Tumblr page.)
In closing, let me say this: if you have serious beef with something I say on this site, you’re well within your rights to tell me so. Post a comment, but bear in mind that the less reasonable you are, the less likely I am to see your point of view. And I’m serious about meeting with some of you in well-lit, public places to talk about music. But I don’t want you to think that I think Bollocks! is all that important (it is neither of my two jobs and it generates absolutely no income for me. If you read it and think to yourself, “Hey, that’s just some asshole talking shit on the internet,” you are exactly correct) and I certainly don’t want reading it to ruin your day. If you read more than one or two posts on here, I bet you’ll find something you kind of enjoy. And if not, hey, no hard feelings. You can say literally anything you want when you comment on a Bollocks! post; but you cannot, even if you think you’re being funny, threaten me or any of the other users who are making comments. People die for incredibly stupid shit every single day and I’m not going to tolerate even an idle threat to kill someone because they don’t like one Strokes album. And if IHATEYOU’s threat is real, they need help and I intend to do everything in my power to see that they get it.