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Offensive song
October 26, 2008 5:54 PM   Subscribe

Hate speech in MeFiMusic

Someone posted a song to MeFiMusic called "Berlin Alexanderplatz" with a single lyric: "ni**er, die". There is no explanation along with the post. I think hate speech and thinly veiled Nazism are crossing the line, even for a place as open as MetaFilter.

I just Mefi-mailed flapjax-at-midnight, and have no idea where he stands on this. But I am writing here to bring this to the attention of the site moderators and to request the song be deleted ASAP. Please forgive me if this is the wrong place to post this.
posted by AppleSeed to Etiquette/Policy at 5:54 PM (86 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I am not at all sure of your lyric transcription. The Rainer Werner Fassbinder reference does get points with me, though, so maybe I'm a sucker.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:00 PM on October 26, 2008


I thought they were saying "Rainer die." But my ears may need cleaning.
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:00 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's saying Rainer Fass / Rainer Werner over and over?

God this song rules.

Appleseed, Berlin Alexanderplatz is a novel and a mini-series by some AWESOME dead coke-addled publically funded German filmmaker or other.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:03 PM on October 26, 2008


Not hard to find, but here is a link, so you don't have to go looking for it.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:06 PM on October 26, 2008


it's a guy singing a lot of die! die! where blank rotates between different things. And one of the names sounds like n*gger while being sung. And the recording is also a poor quality. And the song kinda sucks. The mid 90s want their music back.
posted by Stynxno at 6:07 PM on October 26, 2008


I think hate speech and thinly veiled Nazism are crossing the line

I think AppleSeed has some prejudices concerning Germany.
posted by contraption at 6:10 PM on October 26, 2008


Maybe he's singing RAINER! WAS?

you know, as in Rainer, was? and Rainer, bitte!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:10 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Aww, I feel bad for AppleSeed now. There's no initial "N" sound there, but I could see if someone made a couple assumptions and cupped their ear just so...
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:14 PM on October 26, 2008


Another very offensive song
posted by contraption at 6:16 PM on October 26, 2008


Pretty sure I heard "Islam is the light" in there somewhere.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:18 PM on October 26, 2008 [16 favorites]


I hear 'Werner, die! Rainer, die! Binder, die!", but I'm not really sure about the 'die' bit.

Also, I assume you only listen to nursery rhymes. If you get offended by lyrics, you'd best avoid the sort of filth you hear when listening to blues, rock 'n' roll, dancehall, gospel, funk, punk, &c..

I've half a mind to do a Whitehouse cover now, just to see the resulting MetaTalk thread.
posted by jack_mo at 6:19 PM on October 26, 2008


Yeah, I'm not clear at all that he's saying what you're hearing him say; this feels like a kind of jumping-the-gun way to deal with this, even if I can understand the core of your concern.

The most sensible thing here would be to actually drop 235w103 a line and ask for some background on this; I've done so, hopefully he can stop by and drop some detail.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:20 PM on October 26, 2008


If you listen to it backwards, it says DRINK MORE OVALTINE
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:25 PM on October 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


That's German, for The Bart. The.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:28 PM on October 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


OK, OK. I was listening to this in my car and I guess what happened was once I heard it one way I couldn't get that out of my head. This is like that stupid post about the the doll supposedly saying "Islam is the light".

I was wrong. The song is pretty dreadful and obtuse, but that's not enough to warrant deleting it. There seem to be some random words in caps lock on the page, but some are not in my pocket German-English dictionary, and I'm pretty sure that's not what they are bellowing*. I think I've even seen the novel before. No, I do not have prejudices against Germany. I am from Pennsylvania, and good ol' PA hasn't been looking so hot in the news lately, with respect to tolerance. While I hope things have improved, I'm afraid I can't deny my home state truly can be like that. If anything was messing with my perception, it's that.

* Listening closely on a better stereo, it sounds like "Binger...Hans" but maybe its "Fass...Binder" or some/all of the above. And I have to agree the song leave a lot to be desired.
posted by AppleSeed at 6:31 PM on October 26, 2008


Just to clarify, naming an ostensibly neo-nazi or racist song after Fassbinder or his works is a laugh and a half. He was very politiclly aware and socially progressive, a real guardian of Germany's social development in the recovery from the horrors of WWII. Here's a lovely clip from his 1974 melodrama about the pains of "inappropriate" relationships and xenophobia, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul. And here he is telling how he hopes Berlin Alexanderplatz serves to keep the public keenly aware of right-wing tendencies.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:36 PM on October 26, 2008


Nursery rhymes aren't exactly the least offensive lyrics I can think of.
posted by ErWenn at 6:39 PM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jack Mo, I already heard back from the MeFi Music moderator. Sounds like he would not post a song with the lyric as I originally thought it was - he had not heard it yet and is having trouble downloading just now.

Nothing shocks me. I've seen it all, and I like to take all things on their merits. There is a whole class of art that is about freedom of expression, and I'm not falling for that trap. If you want to write a song that is a stream of epithets and derogatory insults, go ahead. However, this is, as I understand it, a moderated blog with some basic guidelines for what flies. I really don't see the point in doing anything in art for "shock value" any longer, but whatever floats your boat. Those Maplethorpe flower images, though - that was some warped erotica.
posted by AppleSeed at 6:41 PM on October 26, 2008


Die is the feminine gender pronoun for "the". Die wagen. Der is male and das is neutral. Ein sprechen deutsch.

It is just a crap song.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:13 PM on October 26, 2008


Wait... flapjax is MeFi Music moderator?

Also, I quite like this song. The mid-90s can't have it back. It does, however, sound like it was recorded inside a disused septic tank (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
posted by Kattullus at 7:16 PM on October 26, 2008


You mean they are pronouncing German die ["dee"] as English die ["dye"]? No fair - I want a monopoly on ignorance (novels, German filmakers' oeuvres, lyrics, premature whistle-blowing. etc.) tonight!
posted by AppleSeed at 7:23 PM on October 26, 2008


Thats what it sounds like to to me. Thats why I called it a crap song...really bad german like a hack or low german maybe.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:31 PM on October 26, 2008


Wait... flapjax is MeFi Music moderator?

flapjax is a helpful and enthusiastic guy who has been doing a great job of getting the monthly challenges organized and up to date, and I appreciate that very much, but no; there is no "Music moderator" in any specific capacity.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:33 PM on October 26, 2008


Nothing shocks me.

Well, we know that's certainly not true.
posted by mediareport at 7:34 PM on October 26, 2008


Some friends from high school rented the entire "Berlin Alexanderplatz" series and watched it in less than one and a half days. Crazy. I like Fassbinder, but man...not so much at once.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:50 PM on October 26, 2008


mediareport, I am meant to distinguish offensive from shocking. Surely there is an insulting word that applies to you. I doubt if you are shocked that someone might call you that. But you ought to be offended. Maybe they can't get a rise out of you, but that person is obviously not trying to be your friend. I happen to think "shock value" is passe and for artists who don't actually have much to say.

I would be curious to know of anything in the entire world of art that I would find truly shocking. I think of this as a combination of the unprecedented, something that might provoke a visceral reaction, perhaps horrifying; something that points up the limits of our social and cultural mores. A hypothetical song consisting of the words "die, nigger" might very well be an ironic protest against racism, for instance. But some context would be needed for that to be clear, which is why I noted that no explanation about the song was in the page.

I don't claim that I have never been shocked by art in the past. Just that shock for shock's sake bores me now, and I suspect the bar is raised for a lot of people. Would a man standing on a stage in France repeating the word "medre" [sic] cause a riot today? What would? Not including Superbowl wardrobe malfunctions, of course.
posted by AppleSeed at 8:08 PM on October 26, 2008


Advice Dog says:

DRINK BLEACH

PISS RAINBOWS
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:23 PM on October 26, 2008


So Paul isn't dead?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:36 PM on October 26, 2008


Hey guys, did I miss anything? I was at band practice, and I heard some people were talking about my coke-addled gay German filmmaker Nazi hate speech song?
I think the teacup tempest is pretty much over now, but I guess I should explain in more detail- the song is by the band I'm in, Bodies, and is basically just our vocalists playing and screaming the name "RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER" at each other.
As to how much it sucks- okay? Cool? We recorded it on a pocket voice memo thing, in a disused meat-packing plant, after playing it once, so it might not be the BEST recording. Also, we are much younger, and cooler, than you.
PSYCH YOU ALL KNOW Y'ALL MY BOO.
posted by 235w103 at 8:43 PM on October 26, 2008 [15 favorites]


I am meant to distinguish offensive from shocking

Dude, you flipped out over nothing and posted a hilariously off-target request that a song be deleted from Mefi Music "ASAP." You can pretend that makes you unflappable if you want, but don't expect anyone else to believe it, is all I'm saying.
posted by mediareport at 8:59 PM on October 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


"medre" [sic]

«merdre!»
posted by Wolof at 9:42 PM on October 26, 2008


If a man is bilingual, he's clearly innocent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 PM on October 26, 2008


Karl: Yeah, you know, those Germans aren't so bad.
Lenny: Sure they made mistakes in the past, but aah, that's why pencils have erasers!

------------------------------------

Horst: [threatingly] We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine.
Burns: [recoils in mock horror]
Oooh, the Germans are mad at me. I'm so scared! Oooh, the Germans!
[hiding behind Smithers] Uh oh, the Germans are going to get me!
Horst: Stop it!
Man 2: Stop, sir.
Burns: Don't let the Germans come after me.
Oh no, the Germans are coming after me.
Man 2: Please stop the `pretending you are scared' game, please.
Horst: Stop it! Stop it!
Burns: [brief pause, then resumes]
No! They're so big and strong!
Man 2: Stop it.
Horst: Stop it, Mr. Burns.
Man 2: Please stop pretending you are scared of us, please, now.
Burns: Oh, protect me from the Germans! The Germans...
Horst: Burns, STOP IT!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:10 PM on October 26, 2008


As the Rock Man said to Oblio, "You been goofin' with the bees?" Also, "You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear, dig."

I guess this means it's the wrong time to post my song about the 2008 US Presidential election called, "Niggas and Bytches and Our Sad Centryst Dytches". Oh well, I felt it was a bit too topical and Weird Al-esque anyway*.

Also, I noticed that song this morning and it had no comments and I thought, "Man, I need to at least listen to that song to see what's going on," and then when I came back tonight it had a Metatalk thread and 6 comments. Lesson learned: write a song that involves Germans and a homophone for "figures" to get nonmusic mefites to listen. Thanks!

* Don't laugh, I can check out which Weird Al-esque songs you've favorited, kid.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:50 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, we are much younger, and cooler, than you.
Don't get up yourself on this account, mind; that's true of just about anyone these days.
posted by Abiezer at 11:45 PM on October 26, 2008


I'm grossly offended by the idea that someone might think punching male genitalia is a good idea.

Please delete now. kthxbye
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:36 AM on October 27, 2008


I suggest nobody here listen to this song.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:56 AM on October 27, 2008


Also, we are much younger, and cooler, than you.

Well, then. You whippersnappers remember to wrap up nice and toasty on your trip to the disused meatpacking plant or you'll catch your death of old people with pitchforks.
posted by Sparx at 3:21 AM on October 27, 2008


Wait... flapjax is MeFi Music moderator?

flapjax is a helpful and enthusiastic guy who has been doing a great job of getting the monthly challenges organized and up to date, and I appreciate that very much, but no; there is no "Music moderator" in any specific capacity.


Indeedarooni. Appleseed, I'd assumed your mail to me about this was simply offered in the spirit of one MeFier to another: just a heads up on something you found offensive. I didn't know that you'd incorrectly assumed that I am a mod. I never said I was a mod! I never wanted to be a mod! And I'm NOT a mod! I'm just the Challenge coordinator guy, which is a volunteer post. Other than that, I have nothing more to do with MeFi Music than any other contributor.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:23 AM on October 27, 2008


I never said I was a mod! I never wanted to be a mod! And I'm NOT a mod!
posted by flapjax at midnite


Oh, c'mon flap. You are not a Mod, you are not a Mod. What are you then, a Rocker?


Lesson learned: write a song that involves Germans and a homophone for "figures" to get nonmusic mefites to listen. Thanks!

posted by sleepy pete

Sounds like we found the theme for next month's challenge.

While there's not much to add to the thread now that the mystery was resolved (with the added bonus of learning that Kattullus has an uncanny knack for recognizing recording locations) and at the risk of sounding even older and less cool, would somebody care to translate the phrase "PSYCH YOU ALL KNOW Y'ALL MY BOO" for me?
posted by micayetoca at 5:07 AM on October 27, 2008


And I'm NOT a mod

Tell me about it
.
posted by ersatz at 5:29 AM on October 27, 2008


PSYCH YOU ALL KNOW Y'ALL MY BOO - "psych" - means "I psyched you out" or "fooled you". "you all know y'all my boo" means "you know that all of you are the object of my affection". This phrase is black slang, which while referring to his own comment, indirectly shows that 235w103 is "down" (of the people). Thanks, 235w103, for a kind, forgiving reaction to my ham-fisted, uptight, knee-jerk, creepy, incorrect reaction to an innocent song.

I was wrong about multiple things here - I'm on a roll, just like toilet paper. As I said in the song thread, I will have to give this serious reflection. Steps away from the keyboard.
posted by AppleSeed at 5:42 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Any chance this thread could be closed now?
posted by AppleSeed at 5:50 AM on October 27, 2008


Rubber nipples.
posted by flabdablet at 5:57 AM on October 27, 2008


...would somebody care to translate the phrase "PSYCH YOU ALL KNOW Y'ALL MY BOO" for me?

Basically translates as: I was just messing with you! I don't really mean we're cooler than you other MeFiers! You people reading this all know that I love you!

For deeper insight into MY BOO, see here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:58 AM on October 27, 2008


Oops, shoulda previewed, Appleseed had you covered on the translation, mica!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:59 AM on October 27, 2008


PSYCH = I'm just kidding
YOU ALL = 2nd Person Plural
Y'ALL = 2nd Person Plural (Alternative Form)
BOO = Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Love Interest/Friend/Confidant
ALL CAPS = Ironic

"I'm just kidding. You know that I think of you as close personal friends."
posted by Rock Steady at 6:05 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, he was saying that we are all crazy persons and also ghosts.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:13 AM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


What's this "friend" thing that you're all on about?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:34 AM on October 27, 2008


Here's where "My boo" entered the pop lexicon. But the word has a pretty obscure history.

The OED speculates it comes from Beau, but the rumors I heard about it in the mid-90s is that it came from the Bay pimp term for crackwhores that look like ghosts. This is the only reference I got for that though (search thread for boo-boo head). I'll stick with my urban legend though, it's fun to annoy people with at parties.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2008


Well, I wouldn't have heard this song if it wasn't for MetaTalk, and I think it fucking rules, so thanks! Man, I gotta check MeFiMusic more.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:52 AM on October 27, 2008


Actually, he was saying that we are all crazy persons and also ghosts.

So he's Pacman, and the song is a power pellet? I'm just trying to keep up.
posted by inigo2 at 7:59 AM on October 27, 2008


AppleSeed : Nothing shocks me.

You have obviously never met my old nemesis Alternating Current.
posted by quin at 8:52 AM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


"And the recording is also a poor quality. And the song kinda sucks. The mid 90s want their music back."

You know what the 90s want back? That tired zing.
posted by klangklangston at 9:32 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The 90's called, and I was like, "HOLY FUCK I'M TALKING TO A DECADE"
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:42 AM on October 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


The 90s called, and their phone was ludicrously huge!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:00 AM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


The 90s called, but I missed it, because I don't want to pay extra for call waiting.
posted by box at 10:10 AM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


The 90s called and suggested I buy stock in a Palo Alto startup that specializes in selling pet messages over the web.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2008


And yet you don't have issue with the fact that I posted a two part spoken word epic in which the only survivors of a zombie attack are flouncy, shopwtune singing, nancy musical theater people who get so caught up in making music from Stomp that they accidentally let the undead into their shelter?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


In Soviet Russia, you call the 90s!
posted by Rock Steady at 10:45 AM on October 27, 2008


Are called by you. The 90s are called by you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:50 AM on October 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


The 90s called from a pay phone.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:51 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


In (most of) the 90s, Soviet Russia calls you from the past!
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:53 AM on October 27, 2008


controversy sells. I would never have heard this entirely FUN dirge were it not for this post. thank you.
posted by philip-random at 10:55 AM on October 27, 2008


The 90s called to ask me about Y2K. I told them the whole world will pretty much melt down. I think they bought it. They sounded pretty shook up. I feel like kind of a dick about the whole thing, now, actually. I hope they call back.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:56 AM on October 27, 2008


I called the 90s and was disappointed that I was the one who answered the phone, as I was still stuck in the eighties.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:01 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some friends from high school rented the entire "Berlin Alexanderplatz" series and watched it in less than one and a half days. Crazy. I like Fassbinder, but man...not so much at once.

I watched the entire series in a few days at MOMA and then went back and saw as much of it as I could again, and if I can ever afford the DVD I'll probably watch it in two or three days. Great movie/series.
posted by languagehat at 11:06 AM on October 27, 2008


The 90s prank called me pretending to be the 80s, and they had me going for a while there until they started talking about walking on piss clams, bring his shoes and glasses, and Uncle Freddy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:54 AM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The 1920s just sent me a message by telegraph STOP it says the previous decade contacted me and wants something back was dated even then STOP.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:42 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


10,000 BC leave picture on cave wall. Admires your mullet and unibrow. Give back!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:22 PM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


The prehistoric times left a message on my Facebook page that looks like a water buffalo, and asks for the return of the good old days. Also, fire and the wheel.
posted by davejay at 1:27 PM on October 27, 2008


shoulda previewed, dammit
posted by davejay at 1:27 PM on October 27, 2008


calling Matt to see if I can get my comment back
posted by davejay at 1:28 PM on October 27, 2008


The Aughties called and they say you can edit your comment now.
posted by Kattullus at 4:42 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anytime the Ninties calls me, it just says 07734.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:05 PM on October 27, 2008


Any time the 80s call me, it says 0U812.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:12 PM on October 27, 2008


Yes, 90125
posted by waraw at 5:24 PM on October 27, 2008


Hey, I say if a song called "Punch "em in the Dick" makes the sidebar, pretty much anything goes.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:42 PM on October 27, 2008


The 90's never call my phone anymore; they just use my pager.
posted by ErWenn at 5:56 PM on October 27, 2008


The 90s called me and sang Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay. It was the 1890s, of course.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:59 AM on October 28, 2008


Oh yeah, flapjax? We'll the 1980s called back and reclaimed Ta ra ra ra. Sort of.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:29 AM on October 28, 2008


That was a cool track, Burhanistan. Reminded me that I need to listen to more Mark E. Smith.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 AM on October 28, 2008


But then the 80's call back again and said "shit I mean too ra loo ra too ra loo rye ay sorry".
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2008


THIS is pretty much the best way this thread could have gone. In any cast, I've put up a new song that we recorded the night of the fracas, featuring absolutely no racist invective.
posted by 235w103 at 7:27 AM on October 28, 2008


The Gay '90s called and, well, let's just say there was a misunderstanding.
posted by box at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


This one goes out to my peeps at tha MeFiiiiyeeee.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:00 AM on October 28, 2008


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