Getting a spot on one of the most talked about Netflix shows of the moment seems like it would be a big deal for a rising indie band. That said, Car Seat Headrest frontman Will Toledo doesn’t seem all that thrilled about 13 Reasons Why, which features his group’s song “Oh! Starving.” In fact, he took to Twitter over the weekend to share some biting words about the controversial program, which deals with the aftermath of a high school student’s suicide.
Toledo summed up his thoughts on the show by calling it “kind of f*cked”:
“As someone who contributed to the soundtrack for ’13 Reasons Why’, I am obliged to tell you all that it’s kind of f*cked. Writers: please don’t tell kids how to turn their miserable and hopeless lives into a thrilling and cathartic suicide mission. Kids: this is not a narrative you need to subscribe to. go watch ‘Spring Breakers’ instead.”
Punk group Titus Andronicus took exception to Toledo publicly calling out the show, especially since he was paid to be a part of it. In a series of tweets beginning last night and continuing this morning, the band wrote that the world isn’t Toledo’s “private safe space” and accused him of being “selfish and typically millennial”:
“At least sixty people want to know what happened to the money from the ‘kind of f*cked’ show to which you contributed yr song and I am one. Pretending that suicide isn’t real, and keeping it out of the art so it doesn’t give anybody ideas, is the opposite of art’s purpose. And just because one depiction of suicide doesn’t ‘help’ one particular indie rock singer doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help someone like me. And just because a depiction of a real thing doesn’t give YOU the help YOU need, well, YOU are not the entire world.
The world isn’t yr private safe space, okay? Real sh*t is going on out here and the real artists don’t wanna be censored bc y’all can’t deal. If you don’t like what you see on the screen, then turn it off and watch something else. Don’t try to take away something that helps someone else just cuz it doesn’t help you — that’s just plain selfish and typically millennial. And don’t talk sh*t on the ‘bad guys’ while you ‘add value’ to their project and spend their money because THAT is ‘kind of f*cked.'”
Toledo was quick to respond, tweeting back:
“Hi, not sure what’s going on here but the reason I tweeted my opinion instead of doing something ‘real’ is bc I don’t consider the world my ‘private safe space’. I’m not petitioning that the show be pulled out of circulation, or saying it’s devoid of merit. I’m saying that I personally don’t endorse the way that it handled the narrative. That’s all I can do! As for the money, I spent it all on hard drugs.”
Titus Andronicus capped off the discussion (at least for the moment) by writing, “Slide up in my DMs if you want to have any kind of dialogue about this because you, my friend, are way way off on this one, sorry to say. ‘Escape into the fantasy — real life is not happening — there is no teen suicide epidemic in America — nor an opiate crisis — party.'”
Regardless of whose side you take in this indie band debate, it seems that this is the type of discourse that the show’s writer, Nic Sheff, hoped it would start, since he recently wrote in Vanity Fair:
“When it comes to suicide, I believe the message should be exactly the same. Facing these issues head-on — talking about them, being open about them — will always be our best defense against losing another life.”