Archives March 2021

“Both Sides”

They aren’t the same but it still makes me nervous

When a conservative man who utterly snaps on women and he gets described as a “god-fearing preacher’s son” or “a good kid,” we all are angry and disgusted and don’t doubt the reality of the victims (plus this murder got to cover for his violent racism with “sex addiction,” which is a whole additional discussion).

But then when men (and people that engage in a similar problematic behaviors associated with that kind of social entitlement) on the left (or popular with the left) exhibit problematic behaviors ranging from casual sexism to outright assaults, they get to be “missing stairs” with people making excuses for their behavior or lack of meaningful improvement of their behavior because they’re vocal “allies” or “feminists”. They get to say the right words and skip doing the work and then they get a pass too on the minor stuff, or worse. And then people get to be surprised when the house of cards falls if they do something publicly bad enough.

I’m definitely having a lot of trouble processing this and other recent events and re-mapping that into my own experience; thst said, I’m sharing this as a concrete example and not as fishing for sympathy—I’ve gotten that already and I don’t need to rehash it. So: I told people about Jordan’s secret filming and my abuse and abuse of others at his hands, but people still loved going to his bar because it was popular, and he had the vocal “good person,” feminist public reputation—the Josses, the preacher’s sons. And it’s easier to dismiss intimate partners, because truly we can’t know what goes on behind closed doors. I get it; I struggle with it too. But right or left, a lot of the excuses we make for truly disturbing or problematic behavior are so similar.

Conflict is not abuse. People are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, but people that have a base disrespect for The Other will feel more comfortable acting entitled (or worse) toward vulnerable populations.

And jesus FUCK this was so clearly a racially motivated hate crime. I’m not trying to make it only about the violent misogyny part because it’s so deeply used to amplify the vocal racism against AAPI people. I’m pissed off he gets to “have a bad day” and use “sex addiction” to cover for his hatred.

Also he “had a bad day”? The fucking victims had a bad day. That sheriff… the excuses are terrifying. I’m sure he’s a “good person” even though he posted racist memes about the “Chinese virus.” Is he just one bad day away from yelling a racial slur? Harassing Asian Americans? Abusing women? Murder? That man gets to have a gun.

I remember my name

I’m the same no matter what fucking makeup I wear

I came into non-monogamy through a really positive, ethical, organized, and safe swinger culture. There’s a lot of polyam overlap, but typically it was established couples with established couples.

Or roughly that–people might be in long term, caring (even loving, romantic) relationships with other couples, member with different primary relationship structures, or single people but you didn’t refer to or think of partners outside of your primary dynamic as “partners” in the same social sense. That’s not good or bad compared to most polyam I’ve been around or in—just a difference.

So the first time I engaged in a traditionally recognizable polyam relationship of my own, I think I missed a lot of red flags and incompatibilities because of that partner’s insistence that I was “new” at “meaningful” non-monogamy even though I’d been active in non-traditional lifestyles for almost 15 years myself.

When I wanted to have a conversation about levels of involvement, time expectations, and boundaries with other partners—weeks after we started sleeping together and it was clear we were becoming emotionally involved—the phrase he used was that I was trying to “exert control” over things and he was used to “letting things find their own level.”

But he insisted—even in his OKCupid profile, which he sent me unbidden—that he was good at relationship communication (“at the risk of sounding like a Nice Guy(tm)”) so I took that at fairly face value; that he’d respond to checking in on our “levels” like I would.

I feel like I became a convenient scapegoat for problems in his other relationships because I was farther away. I know for a fact there were instances where if he didn’t outright lie to absolve his responsibility of autonomy, he either attempted to or successfully controlled the flow of information between his partners to avoid his own actions or decisions. I mean, I can armchair people to death and it won’t matter but I feel like he avoided difficult feelings or situations while simultaneously building his sense of self on being “good” at handling them.

Everyone was always acting upon him, preventing him from taking action; and god knows what he might have told me about his other past or current partners that was either a lie, an exaggeration, or such a severe narcissistic misperception as to be upsetting in retrospect. I’ve been lucky–in a way–to have had parts of my experience verified by people I would not have expected.

So much of my professional and personal confidence was gutted by someone who claimed to be a self-appointed “mentor to women” despite both casual and overt sexism; he frequently referred to me as a “colleague” though he assumed the lone and language of “showing me the ropes” rather than talking shop or acknowledging our different knowledge bases in practice.

This started in very late 2017; I had always had my independent career goals, network, and songwriting. I wrote almost no new songs or parodies while I was with David for a lot of reasons, but one of them was negging and intimidation. He commented frequently on my “simple” songwriting and contrasted it with how he “couldn’t write a pop song with fewer than seven chords,” or how he disdained experimentation or song writing practice. That’s just the surface.

It’s sad, and I don’t think it was intentional. I think he is deeply insecure, traumatized, and nuanced but there was comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one with these experiences. A think I’ve spent time (and still spend time) sorting in therapy are the ways I wrongly doubted myself and the ways I could have shown more empathy or confronted our different experiences in practice.

But–charitable human stuff aside–he made me feel like absolute shit on a bunch of levels and was privately hostile toward me while being publicly supportive during the investigation against my abuser.

He also responded to a comment thread I made on another friend’s post that he “wasn’t going to demand forgiveness” for overtly misogynistic comments about the intersection of my body and my music, though he directed all that discussion specifically to other people rather me. I felt he was co-opting the language of mental health (ie “no one owes me forgiveness”) to avoid having to make any kind of apology in the first place.

I don’t even know what I would want; I’ve learned enough that I’m not sure I’d find an apology at this point anything but hollow, and I acknowledge that. That said, I also want to be able to run into him at professional event without being afraid of his verbal retaliation. I’ve had time to sit with what’s a reasonable fear and what isn’t–especially given that the last time we spoke was right after Jordan had been charged. Frankly, I see that he weaponized that and other details of my abuse against me in ways I was right to find scary, and still do. 

Regardless, I feel I made a good faith, documented attempt to resolve professional issues with David before he made the “tits and ass” comments. He’s the only person who’s ever been asked to leave the Social Justice Bards roster, and I’m not the only reason for that. I am not aware of any attempts on his part toward de-escalation. 

I’m tired of feeling like I can’t speak up about this more publicly because he was a former partner and I’m acutely aware of how much easier it is–from both sides–to live with the dissonance that what happened to someone is *real* but also maintain a relationship with the other person socially or professionally. 

As for me, I don’t want to continue professional associations where I promote him but I don’t have strong opinions on people that do–partially because I recognize the realities of networking, friendships, and regional associations. There’s no hill to die on here. I’m happy to talk about my professional interactions with him (both positive and negative) but I generally reserve the very personal for relevant parties or close friends.

Anyway I wrote a bunch of songs about it, like, “Shake and Sweat” from FAWM this year.

“Shake and Sweat” from FAWM 2021
Shake and Sweat
Key: Am

Chorus:
I [G]shake and I [C]sweat
Do I de[G]serve what I [Am]get
Hear[G]tache vi[C]gnette
Was I [G]wrong to be [Am]upset

Verse 1:
[C]Lord I [F]know I can [G]beat a dead [F]horse
[Dm]Til I have[C] blistered [F]hands[G]
[C]Lord I [F]know what a [G]fool's errand [F]is
[Dm]And what will [C]happen to my [G]best laid [F]plans

[Am]This is how they [G]get you though
[Am]They take your normal [G]doubts
[Dm]Amplified [C]through their a[Dm]ssessments half-[C]true
[Dm]Any [C]sane per[G]son would [Am]just...

Chorus:
I [G]shake and I [C]sweat
Do I de[G]serve what I [Am]get
Hear[G]tache vi[C]gnette
Was I [G]wrong to be [Am]upset

Verse 2:
[C]How do I [F]judge my [G]own reac[F]tion
When [Dm]hind[C]sight's far a[F]way [G]
[C]How do I [F]judge if [G]I'm the one who's [F]wrong
[Dm]And what will [C]happen to [G]some[F]day

[Am]This is how they [G]get you though
[Am]They take your normal [G]doubts
[Dm]Amplified [C]through their a[Dm]ssessments half-[C]true
[Dm]Any [C]sane per[G]son would [Am]just...

Chorus:
I [G]shake and I [C]sweat
Do I de[G]serve what I [Am]get
Hear[G]tache vi[C]gnette
Was I [G]wrong to be [Am]upset

Bridge:
[Em]A year a[F]go I [C]tried to write this song
A [Em]year a[F]go I [C]thought maybe I was wrong
But in a [Em]year I [F]see that I'm [C]better off as [F]me
And yeah I'd [C]do it different[F]ly
But I am [Em]not a[F]shamed of [C]anything I [Dm]said
But [F]trauma warms my [Dm]bed and

Chorus:
I [G]shake and I [C]sweat
Do I de[G]serve what I [Am]get
Hear[G]tache vi[C]gnette
Was I [G]wrong to be [Am]upset
Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

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BABY MERCHANT CHORDS AND LYRICS

Like many of us, I saw “Baby Merchant” from Cop Rock featured on “Last Week Tonight” and was immediately enthralled. I chorded it out! It’s waiting on approval at Ultimate Guitar, but in the mean time: chords!

This is an acoustic version of “Baby Merchant”; to simplify the chords or make them more ukulele-friendly:
1.) transpose down one half step into Dm and use a capo on the first fret to raise the key back to Ebm (or D#m, depending on how your brainmeats look at the neck!)
OR
2.) transpose up one half step to play it in Em (it won’t sound the same as the track, but you can absolutely still get your “Baby Merchant” on to it!

This is all just my best approximation from listening to it; if you think a different chord sounds better in a spot, go for it!
I put all three keys below if you don’t have a transposer.

Baby Merchant
Cop Rock
Key: Ebm (original key)


[Intro]
[Ebm] [Gb] [Ab]
[Ebm] [Gb] [Ab]
[Ebm] [Gb] [Ab]
[Ebm] [Gb] [Ab]


[Verse 1]
[Ebm]When you’re shopping for a [Gb]dream come [Ab]true
[Ebm]A little package in a [Gb]pink or [Ab]blue 
[Ebm]All depends on who you’re [Gb]talking [Ab]to
Now don’t you [Ebm]worry ‘bout a [Gb]thing
Cause you [Db]know I got the goods for [Ebm]you (yeah) [Gb] [Ab]

[Ebm]The city gives you such a [Gb]run-a[Ab]round
[Ebm]Those pencil pushes only [Gb]put you [Ab]down
[Ebm]But lawyers ain’t the only [Gb]game in [Ab]town
That’s a [Ebm]migraine and a [Gb]half 
I won’t [Db]put you through 

[Chorus]
I’m the [Ebm]Baby [Gb]Merchant, [Db]Tots-R-[Ab]Us
I give you [Ebm]all the [Gb]service with [Db]no damn [Ab]fuss 
Give the [Ebm]Baby [Gb]Merchant [Db]just a week or [Bbm7]two
[Ab] I’ll have your baby for [Ebm]you  [Gb] [Ab]

[Ebm] Oo-woo-[Gb]oo-oo, yeah[Ab]

[Verse 2]
[Ebm]I always got a good [Gb]supply at [Ab]hand 
[Ebm]Deliver anything that [Gb]you de[Ab]mand
[Ebm]A piece of heaven for [Gb]eleven [Ab]grand
That's a [Ebm]small price to [Gb]pay
For a [Db]toddler today[Ebm] [Gb] [Ab]

[Ebm]It ain't a question of [Gb]morali[Ab]ty
[Ebm]I'm not concerned with any [Gb]trumped-up ille[Ab]gality
[Ebm]We're just on big happy [Gb]fami[Ab]ly
It's a [Ebm]pleasure doing [Gb]business
The A[Db]merican Way

[Chorus]
I’m the [Ebm]Baby [Gb]Merchant, [Db]Tots-R-[Ab]Us
I give you [Ebm]all the [Gb]service with [Db]no damn [Ab]fuss 
Give the [Ebm]Baby [Gb]Merchant [Db]just a week or [Bbm7]two
[Ab] I’ll have your baby for [Ebm]you  [Gb] [Ab]

[Bridge]
[Gb]Picture yourself in your [Ab]house with a new son or [Ebm]daughter
[Gb]No one at all has to [Ab]know
That the parents who [Bb]brought her up [C]bought her

[Chorus]
From the [Ebm]Baby [Gb]Merchant, [Db]Tots-R-[Ab]Us
I give you [Ebm]all the [Gb]service with [Db]no damn [Ab]fuss 
Give the [Ebm]Baby [Gb]Merchant [Db]just a week or [Bbm7]two
[Ab] I’ll have your baby 

[Ab] I'll have your baby for [Ebm]you [Gb] [Ab]

[Ab] I'll have your baby for [Ebm]you
Baby Merchant
Cop Rock
Key: Dm


[Intro]
[Dm] [F] [G]
[Dm] [F] [G]
[Dm] [F] [G]
[Dm] [F] [G]

[Verse 1]
[Dm]When you’re shopping for a [F]dream come [G]true
[Dm]A little package in a [F]pink or [G]blue 
[Dm]All depends on who you’re [F]talking [G]to
Now don’t you [Dm]worry ‘bout a [F]thing
Cause you [C]know I got the goods for [Dm]you (yeah) [F] [G]

[Dm]The city gives you such a [F]run-a[G]round
[Dm]Those pencil pushes only [F]put you [G]down
[Dm]But lawyers ain’t the only [F]game in [G]town
That’s a [Dm]migraine and a [F]half 
I won’t [C]put you through 

[Chorus]
I’m the [Dm]Baby [F]Merchant, [C]Tots-R-[G]Us
I give you [Dm]all the [F]service with [C]no damn [G]fuss 
Give the [Dm]Baby [F]Merchant [C]just a week or [Am7]two
[G] I’ll have your baby for [Dm]you  [F] [G]

[Dm] Oo-woo-[F]oo-oo, yeah[G]

[Verse 2]
[Dm]I always got a good [F]supply at [G]hand 
[Dm]Deliver anything that [F]you de[G]mand
[Dm]A piece of heaven for [F]eleven [G]grand
That's a [Dm]small price to [F]pay
For a [C]toddler today[Dm] [F] [G]

[Dm]It ain't a question of [F]morali[G]ty
[Dm]I'm not concerned with any [F]trumped-up ille[G]gality
[Dm]We're just on big happy [F]fami[G]ly
It's a [Dm]pleasure doing [F]business
The A[C]merican Way

[Chorus]
I’m the [Dm]Baby [F]Merchant, [C]Tots-R-[G]Us
I give you [Dm]all the [F]service with [C]no damn [G]fuss 
Give the [Dm]Baby [F]Merchant [C]just a week or [Am7]two
[G] I’ll have your baby for [Dm]you  [F] [G]

[Bridge]
[F]Picture yourself in your [G]house with a new son or [Dm]daughter
[F]No one at all has to [G]know
That the parents who [A]brought her up [Bb]bought her

[Chorus]
From the [Dm]Baby [F]Merchant, [C]Tots-R-[G]Us
I give you [Dm]all the [F]service with [C]no damn [G]fuss 
Give the [Dm]Baby [F]Merchant [C]just a week or [Am7]two
[G] I’ll have your baby 

[G] I'll have your baby for [Dm]you [F] [G]

[G] I'll have your baby for [Dm]you
Baby Merchant
Cop Rock
Key: Em

[Intro]
[Em] [G] [A]
[Em] [G] [A]
[Em] [G] [A]
[Em] [G] [A]

[Verse 1]
[Em]When you’re shopping for a [G]dream come [A]true
[Em]A little package in a [G]pink or [A]blue 
[Em]All depends on who you’re [G]talking [A]to
Now don’t you [Em]worry ‘bout a [G]thing
Cause you [D]know I got the goods for [Em]you (yeah) [G] [A]

[Em]The city gives you such a [G]run-a[A]round
[Em]Those pencil pushes only [G]put you [A]down
[Em]But lawyers ain’t the only [G]game in [A]town
That’s a [Em]migraine and a [G]half 
I won’t [D]put you through

[Chorus]
I’m the [Em]Baby [G]Merchant, [D]Tots-R-[A]Us
I give you [Em]all the [G]service with [D]no damn [A]fuss 
Give the [Em]Baby [G]Merchant [D]just a week or [Bm7]two
[A] I’ll have your baby for [Em]you  [G] [A]

[Em] Oo-woo-[G]oo-oo, yeah[A]

[Verse 2]
[Em]I always got a good [G]supply at [A]hand 
[Em]Deliver anything that [G]you de[A]mand
[Em]A piece of heaven for [G]eleven [A]grand
That's a [Em]small price to [G]pay
For a [D]toddler today[Em] [G] [A]

[Em]It ain't a question of [G]morali[A]ty
[Em]I'm not concerned with any [G]trumped-up ille[A]gality
[Em]We're just on big happy [G]fami[A]ly
It's a [Em]pleasure doing [G]business
The A[D]merican Way

[Chorus]
I’m the [Em]Baby [G]Merchant, [D]Tots-R-[A]Us
I give you [Em]all the [G]service with [D]no damn [A]fuss 
Give the [Em]Baby [G]Merchant [D]just a week or [Bm7]two
[A] I’ll have your baby for [Em]you  [G] [A]

[Bridge]
[G]Picture yourself in your [A]house with a new son or [Em]daughter
[G]No one at all has to [A]know
That the parents who [B]brought her up [C]bought her

[Chorus]
From the [Em]Baby [G]Merchant, [D]Tots-R-[A]Us
I give you [Em]all the [G]service with [D]no damn [A]fuss 
Give the [Em]Baby [G]Merchant [D]just a week or [Bm7]two
[A] I’ll have your baby 

[A] I'll have your baby for [Em]you [G] [A]

[A] I'll have your baby for [Em]you
Original song I wrote about all this after reading “Rage Becomes Her”

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