Fans of Exene Cervenka must be feeling a little torn right now. On the one hand, her ability to thumb her nose at convention and question the status quo are what make her punk rock royalty. But then you go and read her Twitter feed yesterday and realize there's a definite line between revolutionary and wacky. The Weekly's former columnist (Ask Exene/ Exene Says) took to Twitter yesterday posting a few links to truther videos about the shooting rampage that occurred last week near UC Santa Barbara, saying she was "sick of these hoaxes." Not surprisingly, the tweets have inspired a bit of a rampage of their own. Bloggers, commenters, even her own followers are pretty peeved. Indie culture blog Dangerous Minds (who already pokes fun at Cervenka and her YouTube channel plenty) called Cervenka "the Victoria Jackson" of punk rock, to which Cervenka replied via Twitter "who's Victoria Jackson?" Zing!
Rather than write some essay on the flimsy merits of the truther's YouTube journalism, let's just say we're glad that the singer for X and the Knitters spiked her column here before tweeting this mess. Even though we've parted ways, as a publication that has long respected her work on and off the stage and written about her quite a bit and also worked with her as a writer, we're not ashamed to say this is downright embarrassing.
See below for updated apology from Cervenka.
Whether you want to believe these truther theories or not, ask yourself this: would you have the balls to roll up to UCSB and do the job of an actual journalist and seek out the coroner's office, go to the crime scenes, talk to witnesses, and then visit each one of the parents of the murder victims and say "Hmm, I'm not convinced this really happened"? If you're not, then any attempt to assert the alternative truth of what's been reported is not only insensitive, it's just lazy.
What's in it for all the actors in this supposed hoax, anyway? Surely Elliot Rodger's father, the assistant director on all the murderous Hunger Games movies, must have a secret axe to grind over our state's gun laws (the strictest in the country). That's why he let his son go out and pretend to kill all those people and himself, right?
In any case, I'm sure her bandmates in X are stoked to see all this unfold as they prep for their string of shows at the Roxy coming up. This is a great distraction!
Then just hours ago, after all the blog hate, we see the inevitable backpedal on her Twitter feed. "I never said no one died," she tweets. "It's the media that covers up and lies to us about these events. Questioning authority is ok, people."
Sigh…yeah, that made it better. The media did what, now? Ok, time to roll up the car window and drive away…bye!
We're glad we can all have 1st Amendment rights and can say whatever we want. And now we can put it up for all of our family, fans and followers to see it, including the the knee jerk stuff we tend to regret later. If her intent was to inspire people to seek an alternative to the mainstream media's reports, maybe she nabbed a few. But mostly, we're guessing she lost a lot more fans.
Update: 4 p.m.: Today, Cervenka posted an apology for her comments on X's Facebook page. Full text below:
I want to apologize for using the word 'hoax' in a comment I made on social media. I realize people have died in these violent events and we have all experienced that in our own lives. No one wants anyone else to ever have to go through that.
The point I am always trying to make is that we need to start thinking critically, looking past the headlines at all available information and make an informed opinion. My issue is with the media's coverage of events that will shape our public policy and laws for generations to come. We all need to be involved in that debate but we cannot contribute unless we have accurate truthful and complete information about what happened at any of these events.
The hatred, rage and intolerance of ones opinions and the threatening language that I have been receiving through the media makes me realize that this is not a path I want to be on. I don't want to be a source of hatred and rage. I don't like it being directed at me and I don't want to create it in anyone's mind. It was not my intent.
I wasn't expecting this kind of response to a comment I made, but it has been a wakeup call and has radically altered my own views as to how I want to live in this world. I always try to do what I think is right. I've always been very vocal and opinionated, but this experience with the media has not been positive, nor productive.
It's only through positive energy that things will get better in this country for all of us.