As I’ve said before on this site, Babymetal are one of those bands who divide opinions. For everyone who finds their mix of metal and J-pop gloriously entertaining, there is another who thinks they’re too far removed from their narrow version of the spirit of metal. So when they were named as band of the year by Metal Hammer, it was all too predictable that some self-appointed defenders of genre purity were not happy with the result.
Unfortunately the bottom-feeding clickbait media got hold of the story.
I won’t name the publication or link to it because quite frankly those sleazy hacks don’t deserve the clicks. When you use inflammatory language like “Metal bros losing their shit” and “Manbabies throwing tantrums” you make it clear you’re not interested in constructive discussion. Cherry-picking the posts from a handful of idiots and using them in an attempt to smear a far wider subculture for cheap outrage is little different from the way alt-right scandal sheets like Brietbart treat Islam.
You get a sinking feeling reading garbage like that. It’s disturbingly reminiscent of those “Gamers are Dead” articles that did so much to inflame the toxicity of GamerGate two years ago, and you wonder if they’re going out of their way to provoke an equivalent backlash from metal fans. I hope metal fandom is wise enough not to rise to the bait.
Social media gets a lot of the blame for the increasing toxicity of online discourse. But the online media that actively fans the flames of the culture wars for profit shares an awful lot of the blame, and this is yet another example.