Doubt Has Its Benefits (Limp Bizkit, “Gold Cobra”)

Limp Bizkit
Gold Cobra
2011 Flip/Interscope
by Justin

No, this isn't painted on the side of a van.... yet.

The idiom “benefit of the doubt” is generally understood to mean that you believe something because you have no reason not to. At least that’s what it used to mean as lately there’s been a growing aversion to the whole “have no reason not to” part of the arrangement. Used to be that one would either reference personal experiences or accept facts offered in evidence to assert whether or not their original doubt would receive benefits. In other words, if you can prove something to be correct or incorrect, then there is no longer doubt. However one look at the way our society behaves in regard to conspiracy, scandal or science shows that even facts can’t overrule the idiocy of the “anything is possible” position. Obama’s birth certificate? Proven. Yet there are still birthers. 9/11? Tragic but not a U.S. born conspiracy. Yet some still insist on the plausibility of a grand plan orchestrated by a cabal of omnipotent world leaders. Fucking SCIENCE, literally the explanation of the mechanics of the universe as understood by repeated observation and tests and endless corroborating evidence.  Widely accepted by mankind and interweaved into every aspect of existence. Yet there are still states that think the mythology of the ancient Hebrews should be taught as EQUALLY FACTUAL to evolution. Lindsay Lohan could stumble out of a bar at 7am stinking of vodka and holding an open can of Coors and tell paparazzi with a straight face that she’s never had a drop of booze in her life and there would be someone who would defend that by saying “well, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.” That’s not how that phrase works. You’re doing it wrong.

So, what the fuck does this have to do with Limp Bizkit’s new record “Gold Cobra”? Well I have to imagine that the creation of this record had to contain no less than a dozen unfortunate uses of the phrase “let’s give him the benefit of the doubt”. I imagine a producer and a label marketing guy sitting in a dark booth watching through the glass as Fred Durst and Co. do it all again for the Nookie in the studio. Their conversation goes something like this:

“But no one likes Nu-metal anymore.”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“But Limp Bizkit hasn’t had an original musical idea in 15 years”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“But he’s doing EXACTLY the same music he did in 1999, culture has moved on, this is no longer relevant music and people are going to hate it!”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”
“But he’s doing a song called AUTOTUNAGE which is Rap-Metal with T-Pain levels of Autotune and is preceded by a skit of Fred talking into the vocoder like a 10 year old boy talking through a box fan!”
“Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.”

You see? When facts and rational thinking are no longer valid arguments anything can be given license to exist simply based by continuing its doubt benefits. At some point Fred Durst, against all perceived better judgment, began to work on a new Limp Bizkit album. No amount of persuasion would nudge him from the path he was set to, and it was easy to stay on that path because he’s been running up and down it since before many of us old codgers finished high school. Where his former peers have evolved, re-tooled, expanded or simply vanished, Durst insists on sticking his fingers in his ears and pulling down his backwards red cap and refusing to admit that he’s overshot his window of relevance by a decade.

But you know what the worst part about all this is? I’m WRONG. Yes! Despite everything I’ve written above being “correct” I will be proven wrong but the benefit of the doubt. This record will sell a lot of copies. Limp Bizkit will tour. They’ll be back on the radio again and probably have 2 singles. In the same way Wikipedia is magically changed to reflect certain stupid politicians ignorant gaffes, so too will the music charts reflect an altered reality in which Limp Bizkit has a hit record in 2011, thirteen years after their heyday and 6 years after their last album.

There’s an understanding in the entertainment industry that the dumbest person in the room’s opinion is equally valuable to the opinion of experts in the field. This spills out into almost all facets of life now as politicians will defiantly assert that they “do not believe” in climate change as though it’s a ballot that will be voted upon, or when a religious leader claims that homosexuality is nothing more than a bad habit that can be “cured”. Just listen in on any coffee shop discussion about religion, politics, sports or celebrities and you’ll see a table full of average, regular, salt-of-the-earth idiots transform into wise, learned scholars with complex opinions and years of experience to back up the claim that “Obama isn’t doing anything to fix the economy.” or “That Octomom should have her kids taken away from her.” We’ll see the same lazy approach to thought applied to “Gold Cobra”; people will come up with reasons why it’s good, they’ll hear the album out of context from present day reality and think it’s supposed to be here. They’ll assume, like is typical with most mainstream entertainment, that the very fact that it got made and they’re aware of it defines it as good. If it were bad it wouldn’t be on the radio, right? If it were bad they wouldn’t have let him make the record in the first place, right? If it were bad, would so many people say they like it?

You know, I’m really not sure anymore, but I guess I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.