Culture
2:07 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

The Great Republican National Convention Death Metal Non-troversy

With thousands of out-of-town reporters expected this week, it’s inevitable Tampa gets reduced to a series of exotic stereotypes.

There’s the strippers.

And that Tampa is an anti-urbanism dystopia run by paranoid conservatives.

But Reuters has weighed in with a new one: That Tampa’s locally-born death metal music genre is getting the shaft at the Republican National Convention.

From the story:

Homegrown acts such as Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel are not booked for the plaza-filling concerts or high-dollar fundraisers that will keep conservative and evangelical Republicans occupied in the convention's off hours.

That is not surprising for a style of music in which "brutal" is a compliment. Drummers play at breakneck speed, guitarists peel off dense, atonal riffs, and vocalists sing lyrics about gore and Satan in a low-pitched growl.

Death metal has gained followers worldwide since it emerged from Tampa in the late  1980s, but its appeal is far from universal.

Is it really surprising the RNC wouldn’t include a form of music that has content that could offend Republicans, Democrats and independents?

And do “some” really find it “ironic” that a metropolitan area of 4.2 million, according to the U.S. Census, might have some subcultures which don’t live their life according to the Republican Party platform?

Is death metal to Tampa what corn is to Iowa? Of course not.

Did Reuters write a story questioning why Prince or the Replacements didn't perform at the RNC's St. Paul convention in 2008? Or why there wasn't a CBGB stage at the 2004 RNC in New York City? Or a Nathan's hot dog eating contest in primetime?

Tampa Bay Times media critic Eric Deggans is fed up with the simple stereotypes too. Here’s his take:

I'm not expecting puff pieces to spark tourism. But one thing I do know, it's easy to fly into town, talk to the mayor, some protesters and a few other people, pile on the stereotypes and produce a tart column about the rubes who couldn't even get the 2000 election right.

I hope some of the estimated 15,000 credentialed journalists in town for the RNC take some time from the convention and weather coverage to get to know this area a little better.

We're more than jokes about mosquitoes and strippers. But we just might be America's future, and it would be good if a few journalists took a little time to get to know us a bit better.

At least the Scientology coverage has been light so far.