111 Battle of the Bands and Spring Fling

David Walker

I chose to participate in Battle of the Bands at Plymouth State University, and what I attended was an auditorium full of crit theory. Of all my friends who managed to show up in support, I was most impressed to find Louis Althusser in the crowd. He was the one who helped me understand the outcome of the event.

The winner would receive $500 and the opportunity to open for headlining rapper, Hoodie Allen. My drummer, Killian, and I decided it was worth seeing how far a two-piece punk band could go in the competition, despite our fears. Fears, like stage fright? Absolutely not. Our fears were purely ideological.

Earlier that day, we learned that one of the acts, GALLOW, was not a rad sounding punk band name at all, but a talented rapper–the only rapper on the ticket. GALLOW brought with him a minor ideological discouragement for all the other acts. Since the headliner for spring fling is a rapper, we knew the audience would most likely pick an act of the same genre. Upon this realization, it felt like everyone who’d put in so much work refining their acts were suddenly faced with an insecurity based on an imaginary idea of what ought to be according to our even more imaginary ideas of “typical Plymouth kids.” Pancakes of ideology, I tell you.

At this stifling awareness of the Spring Fling Apparatus, I accepted my band wasn’t going to win. Less specifically, I knew punk, alt rock, and funk wouldn’t win. Could a more talented two piece punk band than Killian and I swoop in and steal the title? Maybe, if they were insanely good, but we hardly possessed the skill to pierce the apparatus. Our petty frustration led us on an investigation of interpellation. It can’t all just be Hoodie Allen … who is turning these people into hip-hop’s subjects?

It was after the music ended, a friend of mine from the rock band, Squatch, informed me of something that gave my sore ego the validation it was so craving. Apparently one of the tables responsible for distributing ballots at the door, not knowing he was competing, hailed him down and told him to make sure he voted for GALLOW. Aha, interpellators! What’s more is that he impersonated the girls behind the table as if they were “typical Plymouth,” he didn’t even have to say it. I knew something was going on, here!

Moments later, I was informed that some of the people involved in counting the ballots shared a post on Facebook urging people to come see my band. And then I found out that almost all the acts were within 10 point range. Perhaps it was an even competition … maybe there was some slight ideological treachery that was too small to notice and record in this post … how can I wrap this up to satisfy my ego is the real question …

How about a confession of hypocrisy? Those normally get the likes. If anybody has an incomplete imaginary idea of me, a self-humbling confession will absolve that, and somehow my own idea of me will flourish. My life is imaginary. Ideology is great.

Here are my options:

I could kick and scream, “of course the rapper won!” That would be spiteful.

I could concede, “the best act won,” but that would be saying ideology had nothing to do with it and I can’t know that for sure, considering the affinity for hip hop in Plymouth.

Either way, we’re all ideologically fixed. All I know is that nothing is keeping me from not giving a damn, so whatever ideological residue this may be, I will continue to go with it.


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by David Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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