Famed music producer Steve Albini owns up to his edgelord past in the best way

Originally published at: Famed music producer Steve Albini owns up to his edgelord past in the best way | Boing Boing


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Good for him, I guess. Nice if he’d also apologize, too, though. Owning up is good, but apologizing is also good. :woman_shrugging:


I’d like that on a stone tablet


Literally first time I am m hearing this word “edgelord”. Have I been living under a rock or something? What does it mean?


Someone (usually a white guy) who says offensive things just for the purposes of shocking and offending people. Like calling a band “Rapeman” and other bullshit. Most of the alt-right started out as edgelords. They are just being assholes for no reason other than to amuse themselves and their friends. They often become right wing assholes. Albini offering up a admission that he was just being a dick for no reason other than “shock value” is pretty rare among the species.


While I don’t disagree with much of what he says in the interview, and I do believe him when he says that he has been in a process of enlightenment on some of these issues, I am a bit skeptical about these “coming clean” types of stances. Because in general I suspect that they are still choosing to talk about the things that they feel are at least semi-defensible using the “I was young and dumb” defense.

For example, in Steve Albini’s specific case: I have a friend who was in the punk scene in my city in the 80s and who offered Big Black her apartment floor to sleep on. They got to her place before she did. When she got home she discovered Albini incensed that her roommate (who hadn’t even been at the show) wouldn’t sleep with him, apparently feeling entitled not just to my friends’ floor but to her roommate.

So, sure, Steve. Own up to your “edgelord” past because saying hurtful things is past behavior that you feel comfortable opening up about. Let me know when you want to get real about your actual treatment of actual women during that era, and not just how you talked about them.


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This is what I call “Big R” and “Little r” racism. Most people who aren’t the object of racism only see Big R racism and refuse to even acknowledge Little r racism like micro aggressions, fetishization, “just play the game” attitudes and, like Steve here, really dumb “jokes” that were never funny, but a sort of relief valve for the tension they feel knowing they’re racist, but socially permissible. Add in a healthy dash of complete miscomprehension of the First Amendment’s protection of speech and you get not just a lack of shame, but a feeling that because they don’t directly participate in Big R racism and in fact denounce it (“I’m not racist, but…”), they are entitled to act out Little r racism as long as they don’t have to feel the impact and can remain unaware of the consequences.

See also: misogyny or any other form of socially-encouraged bigotry.

Edited for additional context.


i just happened upon his prank where he called evan dando from the lemonheads and pretended to be madonna’s rep and kept him on hold for a long time. he seemed to think that was hilarious (to this day), but i was just, dang what a dick. Evan Dando seems to be a nice guy and he never did anything to Albini to offend him.


Ive heard that word a while and I know a few people who i’d put in that category. people who seem suspicious for their refusal to take a side in almost any issue but quick to laugh at the embarrassment and failure of others. or who say offensive things without owning up to the consequences of their words. Its a very teenager kind of attitude. Like being rude to your parents when they try to show you love. Im not sure thats what the definition is, but its kinda how i sense it.


Yep. His statements are ostensibly nice and all, but without deeper acknowledgement and actual apologies (at least) to actual people, he’s just trying to polish the turd that he still is.

  1. Twitter is horrible for long form, nuanced communication.

  2. Sounds like a positive growth and change in attitude, even if more can be done.


can someone point out an example of someone successfully and appropriately (per audience evaluation) redeeming themselves after being a bad person in the past?

this is not a snarky attempt to make a point, it seems people don’t want to fully accept whatever albini has said, so I’d like an example of what it really looks like when someone really does this kind of redemption tour successfully and appropriately.


David Bowie? Though that might be more of a case that past misdeeds weren’t well known.


Maybe Frankie Boyle, who told a bunch of transphobic and ablist “jokes” on television about 10-15 years ago, then later realised that he didn’t want to be the person who punched down instead of up.

I still have a problem with watching him (PTSD isn’t fun, and he got caught up in mine), but I accept that he has changed and all the evidence is that he is sincere.


This makes me less hesitant than I have been in recent years about sharing Albini’s excellent dissection of the corrupt music industry, which should be required reading for any professional recording artist.


Beastie Boys

He isn’t really asking for forgiveness here so much as just saying he has learned and is trying to be a better person now. That’s actually a much more thoughtful position IMHO than someone who apologizes so they can then play the victim when people say “that’s not enough.”

Given that, I don’t know that we need to extend forgiveness. And I certainly see no obligation to extend forgiveness for the problematic (at best) things that Albini hasn’t addressed.


I don’t see him asking for forgiveness anywhere in the article. I’d like to think I see him trying to make himself and the world better through his actions now.

I was a teen in the 80s and a young make in the 90s. While I was always very uncomfortable with racism, homophobia, ablism and sexism I certainly witnessed a lot of all of them. At times I spoke up, at others I lacked the guts to say anything at all. I was an outsider myself, but only in the nerdy D&D guy sense, not any systemic stuff. But I didn’t feel at the time as if I had any social standing with which to call out such bullshit.

Obviously I was wrong and still feel terrible about some of the things I saw and (much worse) some of the things I heard people brag or talk about, and the fact I didn’t speak up enough. I can’t do much about that stuff now, but I can try to do better in my current life. I hope Albini is doing the same (tbh I’d never heard of him before this article).


He should fucking actually apologize maybe… instead of this bullshit. Note what he did above, according to @zoidberg… Maybe apoloigize directly to the women involved in that shit. He’s not entitled to be forgiven. People, especially those who he directly hurt by his actions, get to feel how they feel about what he did.

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He was basically using the language that tons of other people had been using throughout the 1980s to talk about the music industry, but since he was getting famous at the time because of his work with the higher profile alternative bands, he got the credit for it. Nothing he said there was new, he just got a larger platform from the Baffler to say it… Black artists had been making this argument for literally decades prior to punk, too. :woman_shrugging: