Jane Fraud weighs in with thoughts sparked by the Tim Lambesis situation
To the Readers of The Monolith:
The recent internet hail storm surrounding Tim Lambesis has been largely unavoidable for those of us who follow extreme music and its accompanying public cultures, archives, and prominent figures. Since I am not as embedded into this world as some of my esteemed colleagues over here at The Monolith, it took me a bit longer to learn about the tone of the situation and the wildly varying opinions on Lambesis in general. I’ve never listened to As I Lay Dying and, in fact, I had never even heard Lambesis’ name until this story broke. Christian metalcore simply is not my scene and the only time it even hits my radar is when bands or their members make homophobic comments (like when the guitarist of For Today took to Twitter earlier this year to speak out against homosexuality).
So, when Quigs wrote, in my opinion, an excellent editorial on the situation I began to think about it more seriously. First off, I’m not here to say if Lambesis is guilty or not; that’s between him and his conscience (and probably lawyer). Lambesis is a free agent in the world and can choose to act in any matter he sees fit. Like Quigs told us a few days ago, one of the greatest tragedies of the matter lies in his estranged wife, whose life is undoubtedly forever indelibly altered no matter if Lambesis was planning anything malicious or not. Relationship experts tell us that establishing trust is one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining any type of connection, and whether there was a plot on her life or not, she will probably never trust him again. To even have to consider the possibility that the partner who you have had and raised children with is violent in any way is a circumstance that no person should ever have to live through, especially under the microscope of an eager media that wishes nothing but to sell salacious news stories or features.
What I will say is that what I am truly disgusted with is not the allegations themselves (even though those are quite serious), but rather, nasty female responses that have littered the internet. Women are coming out in droves to say Mrs. Lambesis was probably “a cunt,” among other things, and in the same breath articulating that they will never stop listening to As I Lay Dying. Music is music and I understand that, but to slander a woman who is in the middle of a domestic abuse case is not just bad form, it is deplorable, especially if you are a woman (not that men have the right to do this either).
Madeleine Albright once said “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I think situations like this one (and the Chris Brown/Rihanna mess) help us articulate the validity of this statement. Throwing insults at a woman who is perhaps going through the most trying and scary time of her life is not productive, does not make you “one of the boys,” or enlightened; it just makes you look like a horrible person. Yes, gender is a concept based in socially constructed and plastic rules, but nowhere in any gender’s social rules does it say to not treat your fellow humans as anything less than that – human. We all are critical. We all make mistakes and say things we do not mean. Calling Mrs. Lambesis a cunt does not erase any potential guilt her former husband may or may not have; it does not give you permission to mindlessly continue to listen to As I Lay Dying without considering that the producer of said Christian metal could be violent (like we all have the potential to be); and it is not funny, clever, or interesting. We have enough bullies, we do not need any more, and we especially do not need women bullying other women.
In the words of George Harrison, my favorite Beatle, “With our love, we could save the world.” We need to start imagining a world where fear and accusations of violence (particularly fear and accusations involving interpersonal relationships) are a memory and love comes a bit easier for us all.
To conclude, cultural moments like this continue to provide us with reminders that we must carry on and be tender towards one another – our romantic partners as well as each person we meet (in real life or on the internet). I wish Lambesis and his family privacy during this challenging time and my thoughts are with them all.
If you or another person is involved in an abusive relationship, you are not alone; there is help:
In the US (and Canada): call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.