Fall Out Boy Vs. Family Values?

[10 May 2006]

By Jason Gross

Normally, you could laugh off a story about an ignorant parent who misconstrues what they hear hears at a rock concert but this story in particular had some troubling implications: Enraged Mother Calls Fall Out Boy Concert ‘Liberal Homosexual Rally.  From the article, FOB bassist Pete Wentz posted this message on the band’s website:

“The only thing I said in Charlotte was, ‘You can leave this show and say, ‘I think this guy is an arrogant jerk,’ or think, ‘This band is better than this one,’ because these are your opinions. The only thing we consider unacceptable is for you to engage in sexist, racist or homophobic behavior. If you do, we don’t want you as a fan.’”

Which you think would be harmless (and righteous enough) but evidently one mom in the crowd didn’t think so, deciding that the band was promoting homosexuality and insisting that she was going to start a campaign against the band to get their fans to turn on them.  Of course, this kind of stupidity will fail and probably backfire (it’s getting them media coverage) but it’s also telling for a few reasons.  Once you get past the ignorance of the complainer (curiously un-named considering her seemingly passionate convictions), it’s interesting to see that she seems to be exactly the kind of homophobe that the band was warning its own crowd about.  But then dig Wentz’s follow-up:

“(Our show) is not a liberal homosexual rally, but at the same time, it will never be a Ku Klux Klan rally.”

Fine for the second part but using a term like “liberal homosexual rally” sounds like more like neo-con rhetoric than blue state pride.  Is that a bit of back-peddling?  Is that to say that it’s much more dangerous for the band (or any band) to come off as racist as opposed to homophobic (where there’s less potential backlash)?  Make no mistake- Wentz’s (and the band’s) initial instincts were the right ones but language like that makes me wonder why the hateful things said about gays aren’t seen as being as dispicable as a racist comment.  Ideally, both kinds of speech should be seen as equally reprehensible.

Personally, I’ve always thought the best part of FOB was their Simpsons-derived name.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/fall_out_boy_vs_family_values/