As you probably know by now, this year, to raise money for Northwest Harvest, current and former Stranger staffers are telling stories about times people have called us up to shout at us. My story isn't about being yelled at over the phone, as it is about being yelled at over the internet by the pop punk army and their bitter leader, Ben Weasel of the band Screeching Weasel.
When I was a teenager, and even into my 20s, I fucking loved Screeching Weasel. Ben Weasel, the band's leader, was a known asshole—their songs were snotty, and his attitude was too. They've had a revolving door of members because, it is rumored, he is hard to get a long with (seriously, there are 20 "former members" on their Wikipedia page). Then, last year, Ben Weasel punched a woman in the face during the band's SXSW performance. She had been taunting him, he lashed out. He also took swings at another woman who was trying to break up the fight. Then he said some not-so-nice things about a transgendered person on a message board, shit like "I'd like to see you without your wang tucked between your legs" and "You'd think if you wanted to be a chick, you'd want to be a hot chick; this dude looks like the Church Lady."
Not cool, Ben Weasel. My love for Screeching Weasel was over.
But that doesn't erase the fact that they were a huge part of my teenage years. And earlier this year I wrote about pop punk, puberty, and how so many of pop punks lyrics could be (read: were) interpreted as either misogynistic or otherwise harmful to a young woman's (read: my) self-esteem. It was an autobiographical piece, about my experience growing up listening to dudes sing songs about girls. Namely, how girls have done them wrong and are terrible, unless they meet some very specific, unrealistic standards.
I mentioned at least a dozen artists and songs—the Ataris, Fenix, TX, Blink-182, the Vandals, Less Than Jake, MxPx, the Mr. T Experience, and others, and I also recognized how I was pretty dumb for taking so many of the songs seriously at the time. But oh boy, Ben Weasel was not happy that I mentioned his song "Peter Brady."
He posted a link to the piece on the band's Facebook page and his pop punk minions came running. They left dozens of comments on the story, as well as on the Facebook link. My favorite is:
i cannot believe you have a job, must have nice tits, idiot
But the real good stuff came from Ben Weasel himself. On Facebook he said: "Moron writing for hip Seattle weekly makes me out to be a jerk because of her own cluelessness, managing to completely (and kind of hilariously) misinterpret a Screeching Weasel lyric. I'd write a new song about boneheads who can't manage to figure out the meaning of even the most obvious lyrics but she'd probably insist it was about gingivitis, or the moon or something."
I defended myself with this post. And Ben did not like that either. He said I was "magnificently dishonest at every turn," and "Your problem isn't a bunch of dumb punk bands you listened to when you were a kid. Your problem is you."
Then it became a back and forth dance, the first and only Facebook fight I've ever had. He was so worked up about getting me to apologize for the way I interpreted his song when I was 15, that all I could do was say: "Take a nap, Ben Weasel."
Then he called me a child. I really hope he took that nap.
So if you are all for cranky men taking naps, DONATE NOW! We've already raised $7,564! But we can raise more! Even if you only have a little bit to give, do not feel like you can't help. It really doesn't take much to make a difference—it costs only 67 cents to feed a family of three a meal through Northwest Harvest. So what if you gave $6.70? That's ten families! What if you gave $13.40? That's 20 families!