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love stepping out

Jonny needs to get off twitter...

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“Glenn Gould” was Jonny all along.

Jonny liked this:

This guy is an all purpose bigot btw. His recent tweets are praising Tucker Carlson and lamenting the loss of racist statues. The tweet Jonny liked isn’t even that popular. If Jonny liked the original JK Rowling tweets, that would make more sense (I guess... I mean only because those were popular and Jonny had worked on a Rowling project in 2005). But how would Jonny even find and see that other person’s tweets let alone like them? Jonny’s wife is a Tory and Trump supporter, and Jonny seems to share her views. I’m happy about not buying that Octatonic shit now although I admit the music is nice.

Edit: Jonny unliked the tweet after a few days but only after Neil Gorsuch came out to the left of Jonny on LGBTQ issues. Never forget.

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Jonny’s wife liked this tweet:

I can only imagine what the vibe is like at Radiohead family get togethers. Maybe Thom and Ed are secretly on the same page and they just pretend to be more left wing on social media and interviews to make their music seem youthful and generate more streams?

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It sucks because Thom has become such a mediocre solo artist as well as being a huge hypocrite by even his own admission, whereas Jonny has kept a low political profile till now and is consistently pleasing to listen to (if not the innovator some think he is, because they never heard Messiaen, Penderecki, Takemitsu, Debussy and Ravel) but there’s a line Jonny is crossing and I don’t think it’s fair to continue seeing him as apolitical.

Thom’s weirdly worded defenses of playing in Israel a few years ago also gave a lot of people including myself an inaccurate idea of Jonny’s family, making it sound like his wife was either part Jewish, part Arab, or even entirely Palestinian yet residing within the borders of Israel, and therefore suggesting that Jonny’s wife had personal experience in being part of the oppressed group that Radiohead were declining to take a stand with. It was the “black friend” defense, and actually less credible than that (“*my bandmate* has a black friend whose feelings you are hurting by calling me a racist”) but at least we kinda felt like there was some personal stake that Jonny’s wife had, versus say Roger Waters ranting from his pedestal of fame. This made us assume that Jonny and his family were one of the many in Israel who (as Thom himself claimed to) stake a middle ground in opposing both the occupation/Netanyahu’s policies AND the international boycott of Israel. In fact most Israeli fans of Radiohead seemed to have that same position.

As it turns out though, Jonny and his wife don’t seem to be against Netanyahu or the occupation at all, they reserve all their hatred for the left (including presumably all the left wing Jews who read Haaretz) while oddly trusting the far right white nationalists of Europe (who created the Holocaust). The “Arab Jew” identity Thom called Jonny’s wife is not an Arab in any way, let alone a Palestinian, but rather Jewish, just with origins in Arab-dominant countries rather than Europe. It would be like if you say “hey don’t call me a racist, I’m friends with Grimes and by insulting me, you’re hurting her African American boyfriend’s feelings” and then you learn her “African American” bf is a very conservative white South African. Jonny’s wife may not consider herself white or pass as white, that’s a different issue, and “Arab Jews” are less privileged in Israeli society than lighter skinned Ashkenazi and Sephardic...

But what they aren’t is Palestinians or Arabs. If anything Jonny’s wife seems to have anti-Arab racist views, much like many “pied noirs” from French Algeria had more anti-Arab views than French people whose families never lived in Algeria. Jonny’s wife’s ancestors may have lived in areas which were majority-Arab and share food or culture in many ways, but they were not Arab themselves, they are not oppressed by the anti-Palestinian laws and operations of Israel, and she has no particular cred in speaking for, or speaking over, Palestinians or even non-Palestinian advocates for Palestinian rights movements such as BDS.

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And this is fucked up when we consider just how much Radiohead and Jonny in particular has often drawn from Arabic music as an influence in his arrangements, as well as the credit Radiohead reaped for being “politically relevant,” with Hail to the Thief and even the vague ass Burn the Witch. BTW was never some kind of anti-racist song, as the band cleverly presented it in 2016 (using Nina Simone to introduce it, asking POC animators to speak on the video and try to draw parallels with Brexit) but at this point given that it’s basically Jonny’s song in the studio version (and one of the few RH songs we all agree doesn’t work super well live), it’s impossible to see its “righteous anger” as anything more than a fascist troll. A Moon Shaped Pool is such a hollow, disingenuous white elephant project.

The fact that Thom was uncomfortable in existing publicly without taking a left wing stand speaks to both his ego and his sense of responsibility. If Radiohead had come out as a right wing artist the way Kanye, Morrissey or Novoselic did, yes, Thom’s immediate stature and finances might suffer, but also, the world would not be better, so I’m grateful this didn’t happen. But Radiohead fans can no longer cite Radiohead themselves being left wing if these arguments come up. Radiohead might still be marketed by Thom as a left leaning band, but they are not one. OK Computer was not some brave cry against the machine, it was just some prep school dudes having fun by imitating ‘70s dad rock and calling women piggies.

Jonny is no rebel nonconformist, he’s just saying the stuff he was raised to think as a supremely privileged man in England, the most racist/conservative country in world history and the root of almost everything wrong with both the US and Israel. Anglophilia is a disease and Radiohead fans need to acknowledge we fell for that shit.

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The more I think about it the more fucked up it is that Jonny of all people is endorsing this idea that it’s misogynist to even have unisex bathrooms, something the quintessential unreconstructed macho rock star Springsteen endorsed (to the point of even canceling a tour in NC and incurring financial losses) half a decade ago. What’s misogynist is the way Radiohead’s rep as “important prophetic political voices” or even for some ultra sheltered, non-rock-aware people, “the one rock artist who is politically prophetic” seems to remain intact through the ages no matter how fucking right wing, misogynist, homophobic or racist their actual actions, even at the same time female artists are canceled constantly for overstepping the tiniest boundaries. Like Mitski’s dad, who she is apparently NOT even close to and dissed in her own debut single, supposedly works for the US government in some unknown capacity, and based on this there was a bizarre pizzagate and qanon-like conspiracy that Mitski’s dad engineered numerous genocidal regime changes in the Congo as a CIA agent, which Mitski is somehow to blame for. This conspiracy is still taken seriously by many. Expect to see a bunch of people giving lower ratings to Mitski albums on RYM and Radiohead’s mediocrities rise even higher. And imagine you’re trying to make it as a black woman in rock-adjacent circles, even if you’re a Grammy nominee with a big name like Brittany Howard. You can’t even make one mistake, and at best, you’ll serve as the token woke selections in some racist corporation’s annual BLM playlist. You don’t get the same opportunity to fail upward, every fucking day, like Radiohead have been doing for decades.

Jonny isn’t any more of a compositional genius than Mitski or Brittany Howard either. He just rips off stuff that most of his fans are unaware of, like Ravel string quartets and Indian classical music. His range of creativity is pretty damn limited, although he’s well educated in technique.

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