Dear Nikki

I’ve not been around as much as I’d like.  No particularly good reason, just brain swimming, I think.  Occasional bouts of way too much too-much-time-spent in the old noggin, but otherwise generally making it through.  And, boy, the recovery reading.  It feels much more significant than grad school, but, man, does it ever feel like grad school sometimes.  I was hunting for my copy of the Tao Te Ching yesterday as a part of my reading and wondering why I’d never gotten around to getting the Tao of Pooh, so, yes, very much like graduate school in hunting for references and wondering how I made it so far without reading THAT (whatever THAT might have been at the particular moment**).   One day at a time, folks.  One day at a time.

Mired as I am in the readings for my particular, hmmm…. philosophical group, I wanted to spend a few moments on an open letter that has been batting about in my head for a week or so.  It’s only nominally related to the recovery readings (and mostly because the two exist in my head), but I’d like to try to get the letter out of my head and into print.  So, here goes.  An open letter to Sixx.

Dear Nikki:

I appreciate that you apologized for the rape remark, and I’m particularly glad that a friend pointed out that you did, since I don’t follow you on Facebook, only Twitter.  I’m glad you rethought your position, based on the reactions of people–and, as you put it, “people you respect” in particular.  Whoever those people are, would you please extend my gratitude to them?

That said, I wanted to unpack the comment you made on Twitter (and, I assume, elsewhere), because, well, you and I share experience in a particular philosophical (oh, okay, fine.  Spiritual) mode and tradition that asks of us to consider only doing the next right thing.  And putting this in print feels like the next right thing, even if the outcomes belong exclusively to a power far greater than me.

And, too, “Oh My God” is on your album, so, yeah, you get it.  You get that the world can be a better place. And if “Oh My God” and “Skin” can be there, and you can humble yourself to ask forgiveness, then, well, I have some hope in the matter.

My first reaction, upon reading your tweet about raping Santiago, was irritation, though not exactly the irritation the offhand use of the word rape normally inspires in me.  More of a, really?  That was the best metaphor you could come up with?  Nikki, I’ve been listening to your songs for, oh hell, 25 or so years; you came up with better metaphors in the WORST of your hazes. Which is not to suggest that your current way of life automatically makes you a better, more creative person, but there you go; I was annoyed, in part, because you were so very pedestrian.


But consider what you wrote for a moment (yes, you apologized, and I hope you’ve already heard this.  Irrespective, it needs to be said).  “Rape Santiago” suggests, though I don’t think you meant for this implication to be part of what you were saying (which is another reason rape was not the appropriate term), that you expected the concertgoers to be unwilling participants.  Which seems…odd.  Yes, odd, at best, given that it seems safe to assume that most everyone there is wanting to see Motley do your thing.

Also, you know the nice thing about concerts, as opposed to rapes?  You can walk away pretty fucking easily.   Also, for the love of HP, please tell me you didn’t mean anything like a Luke and Laura storyline.  *shudder*

Now, as with other terms in the English language, rape has a number of meanings, one of which, yes, is “to delight or rapture,” though, so far as I can tell, that particular usage died off somewhere in the 1850s (and likely before as the previous such usage was over a century prior), so I’m thinking that’s not really what you were going for (it’s worth noting that even the OED calls this usage obscure).  “Rape” can also refer to “carrying off (a person) by force,” which really doesn’t seem to fit, or “to plunder or despoil,” which, again, doesn’t strike me as the mood you were going for.  And certainly, current usage doesn’t have that particular suggestion, even if the Cleavland Plain Dealer as late as 1994 would care to suggest that rape is “To take or seize (something) by force” (in this case, it apparently referred to a fire: “To think you can have your happiness raped away by three kids playing with matches.”  I think, had I read that particular remark at the time, I’d have been equally irritated).

No, I’d like to believe (see remarks on your songs above), that you meant to suggest something about the power of your concerts, and while rape is certainly a matter of power (rather than sex), the term is not appropriate to what you meant (I hope) to convey.  I’d assume, at least you expect that concertgoers want to be there with you–want to share in what you are giving away.

That’s not rape.

You know it, I know it, and can we agree that the world might be a marginally better place if we didn’t conflate the joy of a concert experience with rape?

Oh my God, I’m so ashamed, /When we try to close our eyes and make this go away.

Yeah, that.

Our shared philosophy also reminds me to say thank you.  Thank you for your willingness to listen when a group of indeterminate size and voice spoke out to you.  Thank you for not closing your eyes and hoping it would go away.  And, as ever, thank you for your willingness to share parts of yourself with us all.



* Note: We’ll leave aside that 3, yes, 3 different hits came to this blog yesterday for “Pete Loran’s wrist.”  I have no idea.  Clearly a joke needs to be made, though.

* Bonus note:  I read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men last week, at the behest of TG, who read it for class.  While I still have no particular love for the author, this novel is an excellent example of a THAT.

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