Apparently it doesn’t smell like teen spirit for Dave Grohl. In defense of his friend, Nathan Followill from the band Kings of Leon, he made this statement during a recent appearance on the cable talk show Chelsea Lately:
“I read somewhere that the creator of ‘Glee,’ who I never met, and I’ve really only watched three minutes of the show, I don’t really watch TV…I read something where he was kind of mouthing off about some friends of mine in rock bands. And I just felt like, you know, as a musician, you should be able to say no, should be able to say I don’t want to do your show, you should be able to say I don’t want to do anything that someone tells me to do.”
You’ve probably heard this story already. For the uninitiated and those that have lives: Grohl was referring to the rather public tiff that Kings of Leon had with Glee creator Ryan Murphy, who asked the band if he could use one of their songs for his show. They refused. Murphy was quite vocal about his disappointment. Then the band’s drummer, Nathan Followill, wrote this response on Twitter: “Dear Ryan Murphy, let it go. See a therapist, get a manicure, buy a new bra. Zip your lip and focus on educating 7yr olds how to say f–k.” Needless to say, an uproar ensued. Because Murphy is openly gay, Followill’s remark was seen by many as a homophobic rant. Realizing how his comment might be taken the wrong way, Followill later tweeted this apology:
“I’m sorry 4 anyone that misconstrued my comments as homophobic or misogynistic. I’m so not that kind of person. I really do apologize.”
Of course, this is not the first time a celebrity has gotten into trouble with perceived bigoted comments. In May, country singer Blake Shelton started an online fracas with the following tweet:
“Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song. Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy…”
Apparently, Shelton has a habit of taking existing country songs and adding his own new smarmy take on the lyrics. Although this has gotten him laughs in the past, his take on Shania Twain’s song “Any Man of Mine” didn’t go over so well. Shelton, known for his stint as a coach on The Voice, then received complaints from many of his followers as well as GLAAD. Many thought he was making anti-gay comments. His defense was that he was actually re-writing the song from Shania Twain’s point of view, not his own. As in, “Wouldn’t it be funny if Shania sang it this way instead?” After some abrasive defensiveness, Shelton realized the irony of his initial comment and released this apology to clear things up:
“Hey y’all allow me to seriously apologize for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night…It honestly wasn’t even meant that way…I now know that their are people out there waiting to jump at everything I say on here or anywhere. But when it comes to gay/lesbian rights or just feelings…I love everybody. So go look for a real villain and leave me out of it!!!”
Although the examples above are from celebrities with tons of followers, these are lessons for us all. We need to be extremely careful about how we communicate online- and that goes double for our children. It’s too easy for comments to be misconstrued. Smarmy people like myself have to be extra careful, since readers often don’t get sarcasm. So what do we do exactly? That’s hard to say. There really is no handbook for this. Since the technology is relatively new, we’re all figuring this out as we go along. And though we welcomed the Internet with open arms as adults, our kids will be the first generation to grow up with this technology already existing. We need to provide the example for them to follow. So choose your words carefully. For myself, I try to take the time to re-read everything I type before hitting send. Then sometimes I read it again. I ask myself, “Is this really what I’m trying to say? What will someone think if they read this out of context?” It’s a constant battle. Irony is always ready and waiting to bring you down.
Which brings us back to Dave Grohl. He might use colorful language at times, but he speaks clearly and directly. We don’t misconstrue his meaning in the interview above. He simply doesn’t want to be pressured to have a song on Glee. This is a good example of not confusing the message. That being said, why not be featured on the show? It could have been a cool scene. Imagine it: One of the leads sings “Best of You” to some kid who’s been bullied. Then the football team goes on to win the state championship…Could’ve been nice. Why’d you stop believin’, Dave?