Published Oct 08, 2014Sun Kil Moon songwriter Mark Kozelek has been waging a one-sided battle against the War on Drugs ever since the latter act drowned out the former at a Ottawa festival date last month. This feud culminated in Sun Kil Moon releasing a song called "War on Drugs: Suck My Cock," and though the song is seemingly a joke, Perfect Pussy frontwoman Meredith Graves isn't laughing. She has denounced Kozelek in an essay called "Sun Kil Moon Yells at Cloud: 'War on Drugs: Suck My Cock' and the Language of Male Violence."
Writing for Pitchfork, Graves notes that the response to Kozelek's diss track has been largely positive, with most people taking the opinion that the songwriter is just being his usual funny, cantankerous self. The Perfect Pussy vocalist, however, points out that the War on Drugs seem "hurt and confused by Kozelek's constant public attacks." She argues, "That doesn't seem like entertainment. It's important to call it what it is: emotional abuse."
She goes on to say that Kozelek's language is consistent with Western patterns of male aggression and dominance:
Which is why, in all likelihood, Kozelek chose to say "suck my cock" instead of "I think your band is bad." "Suck my cock" is a command heard most often in two places: heterosexual porn, and schoolyard taunts between presumably straight boys. In no way does Mark Kozelek actually want his cock sucked by the members of the War on Drugs. What he wants is to make them feel violated, to make them feel submissive. "Suck my cock" is an order, not a request. "Suck my cock" is, when used by the wrong person, the language of physical force, the language of rape. He wants the world to know that he thinks TWOD sucks cock, implying that sucking cock is a bad thing. Who sucks cock? Not straight dudes like Mark Kozelek, but women and gay men. Which one of these groups is he using as an insult?
She continues by saying that Kozelek's comments are indicative of a "middle-aged, straight white guy slowly fading into obscurity." Graves notes that there's a trend of older men in the music industry intimidating those who are younger and more culturally relevant, and that this latest incident is "so public and obvious that it's easy to start an open dialog about why it's terrible."
Ultimately, Graves' advice is for journalists and not for Kozelek: "If we desire a more just world — and a better music scene for sure — we would be doing ourselves a favor to take the space we would normally dedicate to men like this and give it over to artists who represent a broader diversity of voices."
Listen to the song at the heart of this controversy below, and read Graves' full essay over at Pitchfork.
This is Graves' second politically charged essay in less than a month. In September, she delivered a spoken piece about sexism, celebrity, and how this relates to Andrew W.K.