There's nothing the Internet likes better than a good feud, and they don't come more sharply defined than the battle between delicate Canadian folk lesbians Tegan and Sara and milkshake-throwing brat rap aficionado Tyler, the Creator.
The beef, in three sentences:
Tyler's brutal, fascinating, endlessly cynical new disc, "Goblin," is pockmarked with homophobic and misogynistic slurs and rape and murder fantasies, for which critics (read: mostly white guys) have largely given him a pass.
Tegan and Sara's Sara Quin posted an open letter on the duo's website condemning Tyler and asking if he's getting away with behavior another artist wouldn't because potential critics fear "[t]he inevitable claim that detractors are being racist, or the brush-off that not “getting it” would indicate that you’re “old” (or a [expletive])?"
Tyler quickly responded with a tweet: "If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard [Expletive], Hit Me Up!"
Quin's letter (which can be read in full here) supercharged a debate that had been slowly heating up since the disc's release last week. Click Track surveyed Twitter, news stories and blog posts, rounding up reaction from both sides. As with anything Tyler-related (including last night’s abruptly-ended show in Detroit, and possibly tomorrow’s show here in D.C. at U Street Music Hall), it's not pretty out there.
Most of the reaction falls into three categories:
1) Good for you, Tegan and Sara!
From Web site Drowned in Sound:
"Be it hyper-offensive pantomime or poorly constructed social commentary, [Tyler's tweet] just feels like a disgusting thing to wake up to and read in your Twitter feed of a Monday morning." (It's worth noting: Many of the site's commenters seemed unhappy that the author of the post was taking any position at all.)
"Are [Tyler's lyrics] equivalent to gay bashing? We think so. They dehumanize LGBTs, and when Tyler says, 'I just say ‘[expletive]’ and use ‘gay’ as an adjective to describe stupid [expletive],' he’s not just talking about 'stupid [expletive],' he’s talking about us."
From NME writer Laura Snapes' Twitter feed: "Tegan & Sara are right - Tyler The Creator's homophobia is repellent"
(Defending Tyler, and other reactions, after the jump.)
2) It's a shame he's so hateful, but he's an artist, so it's okay!
From a kinda lecture-y NYMag.com piece:
"It’s the same question a lot of people have been asking, and while the answer isn’t one that would actually satisfy Sara, it’s this, again: Odd Future are not advocating rape or homophobia, but are utilizing the subject matter to their own ends; it’s provocation for provocation’s sake[.]"
From a Spin.com commenter:
"I love Odd Future, and while I don't support their lyrics, I know they're all just meant in a joking fashion. If society can't take a joke, that's their own fault… It's only offensive if you let yourself take offense to it."
3) Shut up, racist white chick!
We couldn't print most of these, but Stereogum commenter Jamarcusfrelix pretty much sums it up:
"Racist white woman disapproves of black rap artist. Alert the presses!"