Not quite sure where I’m going with this btw, but let’s see. There’s been a lot of Swans chat over in the artists it took you a long time to GET thread. I’ve found them impossible to listen to since the allegation of rape made by Larkin Grimm against Michael Gira.
At this point it looks unlikely that there will ever be any resolution on the truth of the matter. Clearly, this is nothing to do with me - the real impact, whatever actually happened, is on the lives of the people involved and those around them. I don’t want to debate the he-said/she-said of the situation. I guess I want to explore my feelings on how this does/should impact how I engage with Swans as art.
For the record, I adore the music Swans have created. Their entire discography is astonishing and they would be serious contenders for my top 10 bands of all time. So why can’t I listen to them right now? I think it’s partly because doing so is to tacitly brush under the rug the knowledge that so many rapes go unreported or/because the allegations can’t be substantiated. Because that’s what’s happening here, although Larkin Grimm is not pressing any charges in any case. Of course, this flies in the face of innocent-until-proven-guilty (but, of course, there are major issues with the way defendants are viewed and treated for this type of crime).
Then there’s the time element. What about all the Swans records from before the time of the incident? For argument’s sake, let’s assume the allegation is true. Should albums which were made 10, 20 years earlier be tarnished or off-limits? I’ve already bought them - it’s not like I’m throwing royalties towards (for argument’s sake) a criminal. Can I listen to the first portion of their career without feeling, for lack of a better word, guilty? And how does the allegation recontextualise that work? Can I listen to ‘Raping a Slave’ in the same way?
I’m rambling a bit now. I’d be interested to get others’ takes on this. I hope I’m treating the topic with due sensitivity - do call me out if I’m not.