Metal Insights

James Ryman must like metal.

Becoming a metal fan and entering into the metal world has given me some interesting insights and allowed me a new perspective on human tastes.  For instance, when you share metal with others and talk about your enthusiasm for metal, most people form a corresponding opinion of you and what kind of person you are.  You get to be put in the nice box of all those hooligans, skin heads, punks, rebels, and basically just loud and annoying weird, emo, anti-authority people who should keep that nonsense cacophony to themselves.  You probably fall into this same pattern of prejudice yourself; be honest, now.  As a case in point, I personally have a love for Death Metal.  Now, when I said I liked Death Metal, none of the qualifiers I listed above were logically appropriate to associate with me, but I’ll bet you did anyway, even if only involuntarily or unconsciously.  This leads us into the main reason that most people don’t like metal: ignorance.

Advocating metal really affords a chance to see the fundamental reason that people like the things that they do, whether it be their tastes in music, literature, or other art.  It is a matter of what they have been exposed to and how they’ve been exposed to it.  Ignorance of other viewpoints prohibits people from stepping out of their comfort zone and gaining a more accurate picture of reality.  Let us use classical music as an example.  Anything renaissance, baroque, classical, or romantic would work fine.  I make the claim that much of metal and classical is far more similar than people would like to believe, but we’ll get to that in a moment.  One asks, why is classical music heralded as the highest tier of the art form and metal approximately on the lowest tier?  You, the figurative you, the representation of the average person, how would you know the difference?  Your knowledge of classical music is about as limited as your knowledge of metal–extremely limited.  So how can you make a value judgment between them?  Of course, you can’t, but you do anyway, don’t you.  Yes, you do.  Well I’m going to suggest to you, quite correctly, that the reason people think more highly of classical music is almost entirely because that’s what they are taught.  You are brainwashed by society to believe that classical is a more respectable and simply better genre of music than what you are taught about metal, and this is not unreasonable.  There are legitimate reasons for such an outlook, but of course there are legitimate reasons that women should stay in the kitchen, but that doesn’t ultimately make it acceptable or even true now does it.  Admittedly, it’s a lot to ask of people for them to make decisions on their own. One only wishes that people didn’t buy into such cultural biases so easily.

Now, one must concede that there  are other reasons why metal has been sneered at.  For one, people have very little exposure to metal.  At least classical is often played during commercials, during cartoons, movies, while holding on the telephone, and on the radio.  Metal is not even played on the radio.  No elevator music will ever resemble metal.  Thus, one is involuntarily exposed to classical throughout one’s life but shielded from metal.  As has been stated, exposure is very important to accessing a genre.  For another thing, it is true that some metal (a small portion of it) is explicitly and very seriously anti-establishment and even satanical.  Thus, with the pervasive and suffocating nature of Christianity in the West, it is understandable why anything with such associations would be shunned.  Of course, as anyone with any amount of education knows, the questionable nature of an artist or even of their work does not prevent their work from becoming extremely popular, societally treasured, and immortalized.  No, the lesson here is that it is collective ignorance that puts people’s preferences where they are and individual ignorance that keeps them there.

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