Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)
The public relations flack still buried somewhere inside me couldn’t help but come up with talking points to help President-Elect Joko Widodo navigate through the hardest ‘gate of them all: “metalgate.”
Q: Isn’t heavy metal a form of corrupt Western culture and an abomination in the eyes of Islam?
A: No. Heavy metal is the music of those who rebel against the corrupting forces in their own societies, whether Western orEastern. And, although the Koran is silent on the subject of heavy metal, millions of fans in Muslim countries have not been. The music is enjoyed all over the Middle East and North Africa. Didn’t you ever go to the Desert Rock Festival in Dubai?
Q: So do you think a musical genre that celebrates violence and the occult and has famous participants, such as Paul Gray and Dave Brockie, die of drug overdoses on a regular basis is right for our children?
A: Let me take the second part of your question first. I am against drug use, especially by children. However, I see no special connection between drug use and metal. All forms of art feature practitioners who turn to drugs for inspiration or coping. This is not new. Should I not let my kids watch The Wizard of Oz because Judy Garland died of a drug overdose? Also metal is full of anti-drug messages. Ever heard of Master of Puppets? As for the subject of metal lyrics, I think the best develop strong veins of social criticism, and in that sense, oppose violence, especially of the state-organized variety. It is true that some lyrics deal in the occult, but this is purely the escapism of the fantasy and science fiction genres, not any real commitment to religious or mystical principles, either among the artists or the fans.
Q: Are you saying you recommend that the children of Indonesia listen to heavy metal?
A: I would never tell parents how to raise their children. What I am saying is that my parents kept an open mind and let me make my own musical choices. And it seems to have worked out for me. After all, I was just elected your president! SLAYER!!!