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This Business with Ryan Adams

Keith Higgons

Posted on February 13, 2019 21:22

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Another one bites the dust.

Come on, are we really that surprised?

Look, I have to be upfront and cop to being a fan of Ryan Adams music for going on close to 25 years now. However, based on my one interaction with him in 1996 or 97, and what I’ve heard about him and read over the years, I can say I’ve never been a fan of the man.

He's always had a pretty horrible reputation. For example, it's not too hard to get the ire of Courtney Love and in 2003 Ryan Adams allegedly turned it into an art form.

Certainly, the behavior that these women accuse Adams of is awful. And it also seems that the evidence being reported suggests it’s true. In one case, the girl was a minor when he engaged in inappropriate behavior. And if possible, he should be prosecuted.

In other situations being discussed, his behavior is abominable. Illegal? Probably not. Reprehensible? Definitely.

Am I surprised to find out Ryan Adams is a manipulative jerk who lorded his status over women? No. I've read a few rock biographies.
Am I disappointed? Yes. Do I think he should be prosecuted? Absolutely, if possible.

But with all that said, do I think he's a talented songwriter? Yes.
Am I going to stop listening to him? Probably not. But then I’ve found his recent work to be disappointing at best and reductive at worst so I kind of already have. Will I stop listening to his music entirely? No.

Now, there are many who will call for his head on a spike, if they haven’t already.

And while his behavior is abominable, I’m left thinking three things. One, how do we separate the art from the man? If we were to burn all the art of men (or even the men themselves) behaving poorly, what exactly would be left? Two, for those crimes or offenses that can't be prosecuted, how do we determine what the appropriate punishment is? Lastly, exactly who parses out that punishment?

As a white, middle-class male who respects women, and people as a whole, and who behaves on the safer side of normal (most of the time), exactly how much am I even allowed to say? In today's climate, guys like me can't say too much of anything.

We can only empathize with the victims, as best we can, and hang our head in shame for our entire gender.

As this pathetic trend seems to show no sign of stopping, maybe it’s time to take a breath and think about how we as a culture want to handle this stuff. Or, at least open a dialog between both genders.

Ryan Adams certainly doesn’t deserve or get a pass here. He needs to retreat, be silent and re-evaluate how he wants to navigate his career. For how long? As long as it takes.

Equally important is what we do the next time this comes up. Because it will.

Keith Higgons

Posted on February 13, 2019 21:22

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Source: E!
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