In a slew of recent interviews, the singer and songwriter best known as Father John Misty has made it clear he’s not interested in being woke.
The man whose real name is Josh Tillman is letting his absurdist stage character out of the proverbial basement for a third album, “Pure Comedy,” set to be released April 27. It’s all about “the counterfeits of freedom,” he told The New York Times last week. “That theme resembles some Pentecostal injunctions against worldly pleasure and distractions.”
Tillman, who grew up in a Pentecostal home with parents who were obsessed with the end times, has since rejected the church of his childhood. But Tillman says he’s returned to many of the religious themes of his youth in “Pure Comedy,” which he describes as a “secular gospel album.”
“The real takeaway from religion is the idea that we’re just passing through this world,” he said. “If so, why not help people? Why not speak the truth?”
Consequently, Tillman is not a fan of political correctness or the outrage culture we frequently find ourselves in today, and he’s not keeping quiet about it.
On Political Correctness
In an interview with Pitchfork earlier this month, Tillman explains why he doesn’t adhere to the rules laid out by PC culture when writing songs.
‘When I listen to music, I don’t think about correct, prescriptive, how-to-live shit,’ he says, taking a shot at political correctness in the music world. ‘I think that life is messy and that human beings are insane. In some way, music demystifies the parts of us that we’re most afraid of. When I was growing up, I was taught that a sexual thought equaled sexual deed, and the thing that really disturbs me about the current liberal environment is how eager liberals seem to impress upon you how infrequently they ever have an incorrect thought.’
On Feminism In Pop Music
It’s “categorically anti-woman,” he said.
The pop music machine, he said, ‘is categorically anti-woman. I know a lot of women in that industry. They were pitched an American narrative about success equaling freedom, when there couldn’t be anything further from the truth.’
He’s quoted in Pitchfork as saying that it’s childish to believe pop music is feminist.
When you lionize pop music, you lionize the very thing that feminism purports to be against, which is a culture of exploitation and overcharging. Which is what cracks me the f*** up when you read these ridiculous puff pieces about how wonderful major-labor pop music is, and the whole f***ing industry is run like you actually buy into the idea that that woman that’s onstage, wearing next to nothing, is powerful. Because that is like being a child.
On pop music in general: “A lot people make sh-tty music, and there’s so much space in this world for sh-t music because we don’t have values.”
On Being White
He’s sick and tired of being told to smile and act like his pain is no big deal because it doesn’t fit into the leftist tiered system of privilege and intersectionality. He knows he’s unwoke and doesn’t care.
‘I have a pretty good idea of what it looks like on the internet today about me,’ he said. ‘I’m symbolic of a thing white people really hate about themselves. And the fact that I appear to be enjoying it is a bridge too far. It’s like, ‘You should be sitting around, hating yourself on Twitter, like all of us.’
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‘I know who my audience is,’ he said. ‘Not to say it’s only educated, isolated weirdos who grew up on message boards, and for whom the substance of their life is electronic distraction, but there are a lot of them.’ He added, ‘I think they get a lot of messaging that their pain is invalid, is inauthentic, and the things in life that are hurtful and make you feel alone are [malarkey] problems, and you can make yourself look sophisticated by constantly laughing.’
On Outrage Culture
He speculates how his song “Total Entertainment Forever,” which contains the line: “Bedding Taylor Swift / Every night inside the Oculus Rift,” will play out on the Internet after his performance on Saturday Night Live.
“The internet is going to read, ‘King Indie Troll Father John Misty Slams Taylor Swift on SNL,’” he said.
“Interpretive thinking, as an art form, is dying,” he told The New York Times. “We enjoy the dopamine rush of outrage so much more than the slow-burning nutrition you get from thinking with nuance.”