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2006.01.10

[Call_&_Response_#_9]

Last night, while I was shootin' the shizzle with my old friend Baal Glyttr on the interbot chatter, discussing, for like the 4783rd time, the preferability of a more natural approach to pubic grooming vs. the creation of an artificial little wedge of ornamental fur, he, arguing in favor of crotchal tidying-up, posited that notre amour avec les pantalons scintillant was OBVIOUSLY more of a groomer than a farmer, if you get my gist.

Obviously?! Of course, I strenuously objected to the horrific notion that peeling those sparkly pants off that hot rig would reveal a nancyish little gay-porn-style topiary and balls as smooth as a baby's ass, rather than a lush forest of fragrant, manly, natural growth. I cited photographic evidence of the state of Trent's scrumptiously unwaxed hairy shoulders in a desperate bid to shore up my position, but Baal contended that Trent is 100% meticulously self-invented, and that, in view of his alleged tight-assed control freakery, there is no way that he sports a natural downstairs.

And, by the way, I know you're cringing right now, but I feel like it's ok to talk about this topic, because my friend who's rich enough to be a card carrying retard for Trent told me that on The Spiral, there is an entire thread, some 7 pages long and growing, dedicated to speculation about Trent's favorite sexual position. I shit you not. Unless she is shitting me, of course.

Whatevs.

Oh, hey! Are you getting all revved up to post your speculation as to whether or not Trent trims the verge in his pants? Well, hold up, cowboys and girls, because as riveting as that would surely be, it is NOT today's topic. I think we've had enough "cockfro" talk around here to last a fucking lifetime.

The truth is, Baal's contention that there is nothing "natural" about the Trent we know was an interesting one, and his contention, along with Gabriel's constant douchebag harping on about "projection," and the fact that he seems to think that lately the former Gothic Princeling of Pain has morphed into the 4 Star General of Lies, makes me want to ask you this: how much of what Trent says as part of his job as a rock star do you believe?  Do you think Trent levels with us, or do you think he is constantly constructing a meticulously invented public persona, his heart of hearts hidden from our prying eyes? When Trent says something, do you take him at his word, or do you take it with a generous sprinkling of salt? Do you take his drama literally, or do you savor his melodramatic theatricality?

Do you take Trent Reznor for a paragon of naturalism and authenticity, or a master of artifice?

Do you love him, or are you sick of his shit?

Both? Neither?

Do tell...

Posted by Dierdre ~ in call_&_response / with_questions | Permalink

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Comments

Arguably, the "Trent we know" does not include his pubic styling choices.

Just saying.

Posted by: Jane | Jan 10, 2006 7:12:15 AM

I think he relied on the artifice more at the beginning of his career--all the cornstarch and the keyboard humping--but now I think his persona is more stripped down, and what you see is probably what you get.

I wouldn't say that every facet of the public Trent is meticulously crafted, but I think he was given credit for being a lot gothier than he ever really was or is. In interviews and the like, he always seemed really confused by the fans who would write him angst-filled poetry and letters written in their own blood. By his own account, he had a happy childhood. Sounds like he got all the juicy parts in school plays...I don't think he was as tortured at the outset as his songs made him out to be. Then he essentially destroyed himself, so by The Fragile, yeah, he was pretty much *that* fucked up.

But now Trent's let out his inner bodybuilder, and his concerts are about as "bare essentials" as you get, and the things he's been saying about With Teeth seem to be about deflating his rock star ego and owning up to his struggles of the past five years.

In conclusion, I think he built a solid foundation on gothy theatrics, but I think he's shedding a lot of that now.

And of course I love him no matter what he does.

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 7:20:30 AM

I agree with Maise.

He's probably a lot more direct and honest now, which is why the whole thing's a lot less fun.

TERRIBLE LIE!

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 7:48:17 AM

I also agree with maise... to a point.

I wonder if he is being completely truthful. Do you guys remember right before the fragile came out how he was saying he was all clean n shit and drinking protein shakes.

That was a fucking lie and a half right there.

I think it's quite possible that he could be lying now. Seriously, how surprising would it be if two-three years from now we find out he had a major addiction to steriods during the with_teeth period?

Though I would be saddened, I would not be surprised.

Do I still love him, of course I do. The little fucker does piss me off at times with his lies about upcoming releases and tendancy to wear vans with socks and shorts, but, I still love him and probably always will.

Posted by: Nicole | Jan 10, 2006 7:56:25 AM

I'm into the honesty. And the post-rehab confessions. Makes me feel all warm and maternal.

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 7:56:26 AM

Well, if interviews are to believed, he was clean while *making* The Fragile, but fell right off the wagon when he finished. So depending on when people talked to him, he might not have been lying outright.

I mean, yeah, it's not like we're ever going to really know The Truth. And if I'm just going to be your average (if goofy) Nine Inch Nails fan, then I probably don't want to. I've got my own mental image (see: executive transvestite) that suits me just fine. Not like I don't enjoy learning things about him personally, but I don't feel as though I've got some inalienable right to know. He can keep going about his business, making music and saying funny, bitchy things in interviews, and I'm perfectly happy.

Meanwhile, he's buff (certainly in comparison to before), but it's not like he's looking like this.

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 8:05:03 AM

I can't believe how much you can't get your story straight, Gabriel.

Posted by: Dierdre | Jan 10, 2006 8:11:15 AM

For the record, Dierdre: I don't prefer pubic trimming. I just think Trent trims is all.

As for the artifice question: I don't think the issue is whether or not Trent "lies" to his public. The issue is to what extent does Trent invent and reinvent HIMSELF. Some folks are who they are and don't give a thought to what they might become. I think Trent's entire process is bent on transformation. Moreover, he wants 100% control over that transformation. It's an artifice of a sort - the sort which doesn't attempt to cover up the truth, but rather to redefine it.

Ergo, he trims his pubes.

Posted by: Baal Glyttr | Jan 10, 2006 8:48:48 AM

That's a really compelling argument in favor of pube-trimming, Baal.

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 8:55:09 AM

Meanwhile, if Trent wouldn't mind informing some of us as to who our opening band will be in a month, that would be nice. I'm rather curious, although currently my feeling is, "Oh, just announce that it's Autolux already."

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 8:58:51 AM

Love you, D!

Believe it or not, I'm not contradicting myself -- I think he's being more honest in interviews and not trying to play the role. On stage is a slightly different story, as we've discussed hundreds of times before, but you were talking about interviews.

No talking about kissing dudes, no pushing the taboo boundaries of wonderbread america... he's just all "Yeah, i was addicted to shit, and now i'm clean." More truthful, less fun.

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 9:43:34 AM

I do miss the days when he said WAY too much for Details.

He hasn't promoted masturbation in a long time. However, it's worth noting that no one asks him about his masturbation routines or pets or herbal remedies anymore. I think journalists (the term is used loosely) just want a neat 200-word article about overcoming addiction and touring.

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 9:56:13 AM

Well whatever the reason: BORING.

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 9:57:35 AM

You guys almost made me spray mashed potatoes out of my nose!

Posted by: bex | Jan 10, 2006 10:20:06 AM

What do you mean, Maise? He claimed, only a month or so ago to masturbate constantly!

Gabriel, let me just clarify what I meant, because I did not exclusively mean to address what he says in interviews. I mean anything he says, in his work, in interviews, WHAT HAVE YOU. If I meant "in interviews," I would not have mentioned the issues of authenticity and artifice.

Baal, you are the king, and I agree completely with what you say, although I am less sure that the Trent of today has that same deathgrip on control that he once did. Personally, I think the question of authenticity and artifice is a false dichotomy, and I have always thought that Trent's act had an integrity that would be impossible without the kind of intentional manipulation that is involved when a guy's entire process is very consciously bent on transformation.

Gabriel and I have often argued this point into the ground, but I think Trent is almost incapable of lying in the context of his work, because even if the words he speaks are false or misleading, some other aspect of it will give up the truth of what he is, what he means, and what he is doing.

I think you're right about the fact that he doesn't ever look to cover up the truth, he seeks to redefine it, and I think that is a complex process.

Also, I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but every drop of eloquence I have is apparently gone at this moment. More later, when I am less scattered, I guess.

Bottomline for me: I have never taken the things Trent says at face value, but I have also always felt that in the only way that matters, he has always told the absolute truth, and I could never be sick of that.

Posted by: dierdre | Jan 10, 2006 10:20:39 AM

it's not that complex, D.

New Trent = BORING.

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 11:12:58 AM

Yeah, I know! It's simple, G.

Gabriel = Asshat

Posted by: Dierdre | Jan 10, 2006 11:19:54 AM

Oh, I forgot about that. But that was in some Spiral chat, no? Trent seems to enjoy answering weird questions. (see: "What if your name was Ass Whore?") I just don't think he gets asked them terribly often by professional journalists.

I found this point of yours, Dierdre, to be very interesting:

Personally, I think the question of authenticity and artifice is a false dichotomy, and I have always thought that Trent's act had an integrity that would be impossible without the kind of intentional manipulation that is involved when a guy's entire process is very consciously bent on transformation.

What about something like "Big Man with a Gun"...I know he apparently intended it to be a parody of gangsta rap misogyny, but doesn't the song's inherent shock value betray just the tiniest bit of intentional manipulation? I'm not offended by the song, and I think it makes a good point about the role of power and control in rape. But there's a million different ways to write a song about rape, and do you feel that he was playing up the song's provocation by adopting a fictional first person voice (POV of the rapist) and making the lyrics inflammatory? He said at one point that he regretted putting it on the album...would that be because of all the flack he received about it or because it doesn't quite fit?

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 11:22:50 AM

Gabriel, are you not entertained? What are you looking for Trent to do?

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 11:25:12 AM

What am I looking for Trent to do, Maise?

Hmm, good question. Wear a cape maybe? Or perhaps a big old viking helmet, that he'd run into things during the climax of "Head Like a Hole"?

Yeah.... Viking helmets rule.

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 11:40:57 AM

Well, I guess I can't argue with that.

Trent needs his own cooking show. A cooking show where if things don't go just right (and they frequently don't), he'd get *pissed*. He'd throw eggs at the cameraman and stomp on his chef's hat. "If this souffle deflates, something's gonna get BROKEN!!!!"

Posted by: maise | Jan 10, 2006 11:48:41 AM

Yeah! And when he's making eggs, and they burn, he goes "Goddammit... that was a TERRIBLE FRY!"

Deedle-doo.

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 11:53:21 AM

Pretty Chef Machine

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 11:54:00 AM

Well, I have to tell you, Maise, that I LOVE that song. I love it on it's own -- short, full bore and horrific -- and I love it's place in the narrative of that record -- tragic, pathetic and yeah, horrific.

I think the feminists who get their panties twisted over that are just fucking ON THE WRONG PAGE, because they should be throwing a party that a man like Trent is capable of simultaneously admitting that evil like that does lie in his heart, and producing such a succinctly flawless dispatch of stupid, macho, fratboy power.

I love that it's in the first person, because on that record, he creates a persona that you want to love, with his little moments of softness and grace, but he keeps reminding you that he is dangerous, and that he will hurt you. I don't think that song is all parody, frankly, and that's why it's so legitimately uncomfortable. I think it fits perfectly, and the segue from the end of "I do not want this", where he's saying he wants to "fuck everyone in the world" and "do something that matters" is devastating.

In short, yes: there is intentional manipulation, but I don't mean, when I said that before, of other people, I mean of himself. I think his greatest gift as a performer is his ability to completely inhabit every goddamned thing he says, and it's what got him into trouble, very likely. I think he intentionally manipulates himself first, and if you feel it, and follow along, that's a side effect, because his process is truly primary.

Posted by: Dierdre | Jan 10, 2006 11:57:41 AM

The Fondue Spiral

Posted by: Gabriel | Jan 10, 2006 11:58:49 AM

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