Being artistic or idealistic is one thing, being ideological or political another entirely. I don’t mind it when people listen to music that corresponds to their worldview, but when the music becomes a tool for brainwashing and when it drastically influences someone’s thinking, it’s time to question that person’s maturity, as well as the artistic credibility of the author.
Art, Mythology and history blended together are a recipe for disaster, or indeed, brainwashing propaganda, as experience would have it.
Art, here music in particular, is a purely fictional (imaginative) creation. If it has any purpose other than the artistic purpose itself, it is called kitsch or propaganda.
Mythology is, roughly put, an amalgam of folklore art, oral historical record and the definition of psychological archetype, ethnical or otherwise.
History is a study of different existing records with following viewpoints and argumented theories. It employs disinterested investigation, a scientific (or, rather, scholarly) methodology and peer review, in order to discern scientific research from a tendentious one (or, simply: no, not every piece of text to your liking, spewed out by a random idiot is history).
The differences between them are: Art is relative and highly subjective. Myth is definite and archetypal. History is investigative and developing (on scientific basis), but neither relative, subjective (ideally), nor definite.
Now, all of these three are, naturally, very important and serve their respective purposes. Where the problems ensues is when all the 3 are misunderstood, misinterpreted and misused. Corrupting the three, we end up with:
Propagandic art – rather than inventing or representing, it aims to influence opinions (especially national, racial or political in general) and shape perceptions deliberately using the corrupted or tendentious versions of myth and history. As naïve as it may sound in the 21st century, no, not everything can be shoved into the “artistic freedom” box.
Mythology posing as history – mythological figures become deified, myth is accepted as the historical truth, myth is glorified and put on a pedestal over the supposedly depraved current times (more simply: denouncing Christ only to put on a winged helmet or bow to runes or wooden idols does not suit an adult person).
Manipulative or tendentious history – history becomes a mythological refuge for people discontent, unadjusted or deeply unhappy with their lives (and, in particular cases here, the past of their families). A random historical era is celebrated as the superior “golden time” with which a person identifies.
For instance, if you are a Caucasian person (that’s “Aryan”, not Armenoid for you fanboys and fangirls) from Europe or America, born in the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s, listening to RAC or NS metal and you believe yourself to be a national-socialist, you are as spacially and temporally (and, more importantly, reality-wise) removed from the truth, as if you were, in all seriousness, claiming you were a ninja.
One of the typical example of the abuse of art, mythology and history despite the time/space discontinuity is the raging fascination with swastika*. Swastika (or sunwheel), originally a cult symbol without any relation to nazism whatsoever is undergoing a revival in use as an ancient symbol. Personally, I find the symbol and its historical, ethnological and archeological links with the European cultures very interesting. The problem is that it is obviously nowhere nearly enough of a researched subject for the said symbol to become an omnipresent sign of paneuropeanism and the pagan revivalism.
I am not really sure which band exactly started the swastika-on-the-cover craze, it might have been one of the seminal Eastern-european folk/black metal bands who, more or less overtly, champion the NS ideology.
The 2000’s saw a hilarious surge in the use of swastika/kolovrat (a slavic term for the sunwheel) on the album covers. It was obviuosly not a consequence of the suddenly-improved education, but a trend started by one of the trademark bands, and followed by the minor acts and fans alike.
This mythomania and the speculative way of reinventing tradition is to thank that last.fm has a myriad of adolescents with sunwheels and swastikas whirling all around on their profiles. A huge number of them is still largely clueless on the subject, of course. The sheer number of them, though, makes you think they have to know what they are talking about. Well, not really. A decent number of them uses sunwheel as a traditionalist pretext for harbouring overtly nazi ideology, the others are just mostly toying about with the idea and the imagery without having the slightest clue just why or how this crooked cross actually symbolises their ethnical or cultural heritage.
Besides being a prehistorical and neolithic symbol in Europe (to be fair, India, Tibet and other cultures are largely irrelevant here), Swastika did not popularly survive into modern times. It WAS used in the 19th and early 20th century as an ornament and “lucky sign”, by the early offsprings of mass culture, but your average European Joe was absolutely ignorant on that. It may have retained a genuine continuity only here and there in Europe (purportedly in some of the Baltic countries), but most peoples of Europe did not have an effing clue about it until a couple of years ago. And not just because of nazism. The symbol simply did not exist anywhere as a part of the fokloric heritage.*
The problem is not in the fact that somewhere back in history, predecessors of current European nations employed swastika as a cult, ceremonial or sacred symbol. It lies in the fact that the continuity of its use simply does not exist and if you draw on common ancestors… it is worthwhile to notice that Nazi scholars thought Hitler’s ideology “correspondent” with that of Buddha because they shared “a common heritage”.
The point (and reason) of all of this:
1. Last.fm is teeming with identity-wise insecure users who have problems discerning their fascinations from the objective reality, have a hard time taking responsibility for their own words and are preaching half-truths and myths.
2. Last.fm is teeming with identity-wise insecure artists who have problems discerning their fascinations from the objective reality, have a hard time taking responsibility for their own words and are preaching half-truths and myths.
*So as to avoid being drawn into further historical argumentation (I dare say I know my history quite well), I emphasise that wikipedia, with its ridiculous sources on the subject, obscure sensationalist sites and dubious online research papers, without sufficient backing are not a valid source on the continuity of the use of Swastika.