As the other editor, I enthusiastically reblog Judy’s statement — I have been a Mountain Goats fan for years and view John Darnielle as an activist and inspiration. Lalitree’s post pointed out to us that the description of the essay lacked a clear statement about its context within the anthology, and we have now fixed it.
Feminists have never hesitated to dissect and attack art whose misogyny offends and repulses us. But what happens when we fall in love with the work of a musician, writer, or painter we see as anti-female?
Whoa whoa whoa. I have a REAL problem with the broad strokes being used here. Take a look at the subject matter of the essays on their Kickstarter page. Seriously? I hesitate to even draw attention to this, but it’s just so annoying. Please tell me how “No Children” is in any way the “work of a musician, writer, or painter we see as anti-female”.
Hey, as the person who assigned this piece, I feel like I should say something. I am a big Mountain Goats fan and see John Darnielle as a paragon of pro-feminist men in music. Honestly, the topic worried me at first. But, while the guidelines quoted above were general suggestions for contributors, some have pitched essays that take a very different angle on the idea of misogynist art. I have seen an early draft of the piece, and the thrust is basically this: The author, B. Michael Payne, who is a man and a feminist, tends to “use” the song “No Children” when he is feeling angry about love-related things, which for him are necessarily woman-related things. Which is to say that the piece is about how we can instrumentalize art that is not inherently misogynist for misogynist purposes. It’s been a while since I’ve read the draft — and Payne may have something more or differnet to say on this — but as far as I can remember, in no place does it say that The Mountain Goats, Darnielle, or “No Children” are inherently misogynist.
But I absolutely understand why seeing the song in our Table of Contents would be alarming, and we needed to clarify. The Kickstarter TOC now reads: “B. Michael Payne on The Mountain Goats’ “No Children” and the way we interpret non-misogynist art in misogynist ways.” Niina and I sincerely apologize for any hurt or anger this incomplete description of the piece has caused and hope the new description makes the intentions of the piece clearer.