The Social Commentary behind Die Antwoord’s “Evil Boy”

It’s no secret that I’m particular fond of foreign music. I find myself drawn to genres of music in other regions of the world that I would not enjoy produced in the states.

One song in particular that drew my attention is the song “Evil Boy” by the South African Zef group Die Antwoord (Afrikaans: “The Answer“). The song is written in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa and has a sound similar to American hip hop.

Admittedly, what drew me to the song originally was the total WTF/NSFW nature of the video associated with the song. Dark, grungy and incredibly phallic symbolism is used throughout the entire video. Watching the video for the first time, with no lyrics or context is very confusing. Which is what led me to dig around deeper.

The lyrics have pieces of social commentary about adolescent circumcision within Xhosa tribes as well as a shout out to AIDS awareness campaign from 2002, to encourage condom use across Africa and even a word play joke on the armed wing of the African National Congress.

Before saying much more, I’ll let you watch the video for yourself, pay special attention to the period of 1m24s to 2m10s. This section is sung in Xhosa by Wanga:


On first pass, you’re probably very confused and upset that I didn’t mention NSFW about a dozen times. If you read the english lyrics in the section of the video I mentioned, it may on first glance sound as anti-homosexual commentary. However, as the band has explained, these lyrics are in regards to Wanga’s personal experience with his tribe’s ritual circumcision:

So, the story behind this video and song (or part of the story — there’s so much going on!) is that Wanga felt that he was being coerced into a form of ritual circumcision by his community. It’s sort of taken for granted within his ethnic group that you must do this, so much so that if you are a young man and you do not participate, you are ostracized, as the band explained to me.

The thinking, and this is communicated very directly to the young men, is that if you don’t participate, you’re gay. You’re effeminate. You’re not a real man. You never mature from being a boy to being a man.

He struggled with all of this in real life: with what it meant for his personal and cultural identity. And he came to a point where he was like, you know what? Fuck you all. The fact that I won’t consent to having my penis sliced with an unsterilized knife, out in the bush, and risk infection or worse– that doesn’t mean “I’m gay,” as you say. I reject this tradition. If that’s what being a man is, fuck it, I don’t want to be a man. I’ll be an “evil boy for life,” even if it means I am ostracized from my community.

You might have chosen different lyrics, but dude, it’s not our story or our culture or our world experience at all.

It’s his.

It’s gone into more explanation about the environment of ritual circumcision:

We’re not talking about the same thing as what happens in Western countries, with babies in a sterile hospital environment… we’re talking about boys in their late teens going off into the bush with an unsterilized knife and a blanket, no anesthesia, etc. The ritual apparently results in some number of casualties, infections, and permanent (unintended) injury to the teen males who go through the tradition, and some of the kids who are now more urbanized, with access to other ways of thinking, want to opt out. That’s what Wanga’s lyrics are about.

This ritual circumcision is performed in unsanitary conditions, often with the same knives that has caused the spread of STDs and HIV.  Post initiative deaths are extremely high and there is great social stigma associated with the ritual.  There is much attention (but still not enough) towards the practice of female genital mutilation, yet very little attention has been turned to the practice of adolescent ritual circumcision.   

Loving your geeky beau

I asked earlier today on Twitter, "You've got a geeky male love interest, how would you sweeten his day?" I was surprised by the responses, not the suggestions but more of the people who reached out to me privately saying, "Let me know what people say, I'm curious!" With stories of their geeky beau they want to make happy.

Without getting into the multitudes of types of geeky men, I can break this down in one answer: Show interest and curiosity in what he does. 

If you're beau is a programmer, you don't need to know how cache invalidation works, Big O notation or the finer points of functional programming, you just need to listen.  You're not going to understand everything, but I promise if you take a moment to ask him about his work he'll tell you.  If you have a programmer love interest, try asking them if they've "solved any cool problems this week," in regards to their job.  Chances are, you'll have them asking you if you seriously care (and do show interest) and then going on to tell you what they did. Perhaps they work at a webby startup and has been fighting some bug all week and after finally vanquishing it, discovered that they were able to speed up request times on the site they work for by a couple of milliseconds.  

It's not hard to talk to a programmer, even if you don't think you're not smart enough to hold a conversation with them.  I've only had good experiences talking with programmers, most of the ones I know are very opinionated and passionate about their specialties. Communication isn't a one way thing.  
I've known many a geeky male to be more than happy to sit back and let me talk about myself, my interests and my work.  That's not a conversation though, don't let them get away with being listeners.  You also don't have to pretend to understand what they are talking about to get them to converse and potentially respect you.  

Which brings me to my next point, there is no shame in telling some one "I don't know." Repeat that phrase, learn it and embrace it.  You'll gain far more appreciation and respect if you own up to things you don't know and seem willing to learn.  Learning doesn't mean being a master of something, it just means knowing more about a subject than you knew five minutes prior.

The above suggestions can go for whatever genre of geekery your interest is into, be it video games, physics, medicine, programming or math (and all the other genres of geekery).  It really doesn't matter, just show interest.  Nine times out of ten, you'll not only get an explanation of what your interest did at work, but they will also try their best to explain what it means to you in laymen terms so that you can better follow the conversation.

I'm sure you probably were thinking I'd have a list of things you could buy your geek instead of something as simple as "listen." So, I've put together a list of nice things that I know some geeks appreciate:

  • Composition Book - This is half line paper and half graph paper, if you have yourself a programmer or an electronics aficionado this composition book is great for mathematical proofs and circuit diagrams with notation.
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War –  Check to see if they don't own this already!  Not only is this book a great read, it's about zombies too!
  • IM Me Device – If it's a hardware hacker you've got on your hands, this little device is a really great way to have a hackable radio on the cheap. 
  • Cling-on whiteboard sheets – Whiteboards are the vitae of many a geek's life.  These are static cling on whiteboard sheets that one can plop up on their wall for some giant sized whiteboard awesomeness.
  • Dr. Who USB Hub – There is never enough USB ports for all of your devices, why not let him celebrate it with geekery.
  • Battlestar Galactica, the boardgame – YES It exists, surprise your geek with it and enjoy this "semi-cooperative" game with them.
  • Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers – Chances are, if they are a boardgame geek they already have the original Carcassonne.  Do they have this version yet?  Also, why aren't you playing Carcassonne with your boardgame geek yet?
  • Cowboy Bebop CD Box Set – I've yet to meet an anime geek who didn't absolutely love the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack and cheaper than the entire DVD set.
  • The Black Mages: Final Fantasy – If you have a gamer geek on your hands, they might appreciate this collection of final fantasy music. 

If you have any suggestions or additions leave me a comment or tweet me to: @tia_marie

It’s your dick in a PRÄNT.

I stumbled upon this item from Ikea and it has reinforced my desire to have a wang for a day.



Seriously? What more do you need men!  You don't even have to cut a hole in a box. You can even customize it in a classy way:

"Untreated wood; can be treated with oil, wax or glazing paint for increased durability and a personal touch."
Oh I know what personal touch people will be adding…And now for your listening pleasure the inspiration for it all:

Musical Musings – “Tear you Apart”

So I've always been a bit of a music fan, I get pretty into it. One of
the things that I get into the most is song lyrics. Lately (and by
lately I mean for the past four years) I really haven't been
discovering new music outside of the genres that I have already been
listening to or foreign music. I don't really listen to the radio
anymore and I don't watch MTV so my exposure to new music is very low.

broken the habit recently though. I have a friend online who has been
exposing me to new music and the most recent band is a little band
called: She Wants Revenge. I discovered them because my friend wanted me to help him acquire the song "Tear you apart". I have found myself reminded of the music from one of my more favourite bands, Placebo, who I have found to have not only such a unique voice but very poignant lyrics.

I loved it so much I had to put the video up here too. Anyhow the reason why I'm so into this song because of the lyrics. Admittedly the monotone sound of his voice kind of gets to me a bit and there is a mildly irritating feeling of the seemingly unchanging beat of the drums (but now I'm just being overly harsh), however, the lyrics are just amazing. I'm kind of a sucker for songs with a strong sexual undertone, who knows what that means. I've been listening to this song a and trying to judge the meaning behind the lyrics. During the verses it has such an innocent tone about it with a reminder of timid infatuation with lyrics like:

It's cute in a way, till you cannot speak
And you leave to have a cigarette, knees get weak
escape was just a nod and a casual wave
Obsess about it, heavy for the next two days

Only to have it starkly contrasted in the chorus with a strongly
passionate sexual tone in which one has to make the interpretation of
what imagery the lyricist is trying to evoke by the last line.

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, and close your eyes girl
So lovely, it feels so right

I want to hold you close
Soft breath, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I wanna fucking tear you apart

I've been thinking about the last line
and all of the obvious imagery it could bring up. I guess one could go
with the obvious two interpretations of sexual violence or a sexually
deviant fantasy like BDSM.
Personally I take another view on it. Looking at the lyrics of the song
through the verses it has a very infatuation feel to it. In the verses
prior to the first chorus every line is ended with very internalized
feelings on the part of the boy who is interested in the girl, "Obsess about it, heavy for the next two days." This
really leads me to believe that the majority of the set of verses after
the first chorus could possibly be an internal fantasy of sorts. The
chorus representing strong infatuation's progression into strong and
most likely repressed sexual desire. Also of note that the grammatical person from the chorus is in the first person, while the verses are in the third person. I
think that this distinct change in the grammatical person is an
indicator of internal dialogue at least the first representation of the
chorus is and I think that the next verses and second chorus entirely
are internal.

Anyhow it's a good song, the video was directed by Joaquin Phoenix who has been directing music videos for other bands. I have to say that the video puts me in mind of the video for the song "Shame" by Stabbing Westward. It has that same mini-movie feel to it that I am actually rather fond of in music videos.

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