Commercial EDM doesn’t encourage bad behavior—we do

Don’t blame the DJ: Music’s scapegoat du jour: EDM.
Photo: Claire Hart

Lords and princelings of douchedom: It’s not your fault. Nor is it the fault of your beloved EDM.

On the April 20 edition of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, the restaurant raconteur dedicated the hour to our not-so-humble burg, including a visit to Marquee nightclub, where he showed the audience just how awful people look and act inside a Las Vegas nightclub. You know: B-roll of dudes wearing sunglasses indoors, cocktail waitresses with breasts barely contained by their outfits and general creepy-feely insobriety.

His fall guy? EDM, or the commercial version of electronic dance music. He even threw Marquee resident DJ Jason Lema under the bus, asking him whether he just “pushes a button” to feel like some sort of nightlife god.

The segment went viral, mostly due to narrator Bourdain’s unique mix of eloquent wit and acidic tongue, and because he was trashing a music style currently in its backlash phase—partly ushered by traditional rock enthusiasts like the celebrity chef/TV host. (Also: New York media types who can’t resist a dig at the Strip.)

It never fails: A style of music becomes popular, and it’s the scapegoat of bad behavior. Twenty years ago, it was hip-hop. Fifteen years before that, it was punk rock. And 20 years before that, off and on, it was rock ’n’ roll and rhythm and blues, from Elvis to The Doors.

EDM doesn’t enable people to act like morons—we do. We created the nightlife infrastructure so people can behave as heathenly and obnoxiously as they want. We encourage it. We bank on it; what happens here benefits here. If the raucous rock Bourdain loves was mainstream instead, hammered 22-year-olds from Anaheim would still be waving their tatted arms and groping each other to it.

Bourdain should recognize this lack of inhibition—he used to be quite the partier himself. From a 2013 Reddit discussion about his terrible 20s: “I was a complete asshole. Selfish, larcenous, druggy, loud, stupid, insensitive and someone you would not want to have known.” Must have been The Ramones’ fault.

Of course it wasn’t—nor is it Hardwell’s, either.

Tags: Nightlife
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