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New Zealand News - 2012-08-04
New Zealand News
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Billy Corgan Interview with David Farrier in Auckland, New Zealand on August 4th, 2012


Fans, Social Media, Music Industry, Civil Rights & Same-Sex Marriage:

In this interview, Billy Corgan and David Farrier discussed fans, social media, the music industry, environmental issues, civil rights & same-sex marriage. Billy commented on how there have been both positive and negative aspects to being able to directly communicate with fans. On one hand, he can directly see all the negative comments, but he is also made aware of all types of people that are great supporters of his music.

On the music industry, he reiterates that the energy exchange to produce an album is not entirely there anymore. In today's world, he finds it difficult to determine exactly how many people really take the time to listen and appreciate an album in it's entirety with the vast amount of illegal downloads. However, he is still committed as an artist to produce high-quality works and that it is just a matter of figuring out how to commoditize great art. At the end of the day, he is not willing to compromise his integrity to make a sale. He does not subscribe to the "I'll do anything to get you through the door" mentality.

On same-sex marriage, he breaks it down into both social and legal aspects. He explains that the issue should be primarily viewed from a legal standpoint as that clearly shows a violation of civil rights. He believes that reformed laws will eventually lead to changes over time in social and moral perceptions. He feels that discussing same-sex marriage from purely a moral or religious standpoint clouds the real argument of a violation of civil rights.

He also remarks how New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and he admires the authenticity in environmental awareness. He does not feel that there are ulterior motives behind their Green movement and that it's truly based on ecological concerns.

Billy Corgan on Same-Sex Marriage:

"Well, I think it's pretty simple. You have two elements to gay marriage. You have the social aspect, which is "Does the community recognise it as a social engagement?", and secondarily "Does the state or the government recognise it as legal?"

I think there is no way the state or government can justify why two people cannot go into a legal partnership that affords them equal benefits across the board. I don't get that, and that has always been the crux of the argument in America: If two men and two women or a man and a woman want to get into a partnership, that's really not unusual: There is plenty of historical basis there to show that homosexual relationships have been a part of humanity since the beginning of time. It's not like it just sort of creeped up all of a sudden.

Now, the other aspect is to whether or not people socially want to accept that – that's a different issue. I think that it always starts with the legal issue and in America, where we have states that try and deny partners' rights: Where people have bought a home together, say you have a lesbian couple, one of them dies, suddenly the family moves in: There is no getting around that?I think people have the right to enter into civil unions.

The moral argument, the religious argument – that really a lot of times is the smoke that covers up the real argument which is that people are being denied an essential right. If a man and a woman have a right to enter into a legal civil partnership, then so should a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Everything else then becomes community standard: That is a different issue. That takes time and debate – people have to learn from one another, social associations and stuff like that. You're not going to change – you know, I grew up with a bunch of racists in my family: You're not going to change – but because Uncle Johnny was a racist, just because I show him some thing, he's not going to stop being a racist overnight. He's going to have to realise that for himself and that's an epiphany. That's what I'm saying – but I don't get why the state gets off of denying people's rights. I don't get that.

It becomes a political football, and then politicians start running with the political football. It's a simple rights issue. I don't get why it's not recognised as such.

Look – for anyone who's uncomfortable – I'm not, obviously, for anyone who's uncomfortable with alternative lifestyles: Like, one of my former girlfriends was a dominatrix – you know what I mean? I've grown up with all sorts of people: Lesbians, gay men included and transvestites. And for anyone who's uncomfortable as I said – that's a social issue to work out amongst yourself.

Now, if you're a religious person – your teachings tell you that you must look at that person with compassion. And more than likely, almost everyone knows someone, or someone in their family, or their friend's family, that is gay or lesbian. So if you can't look at those people with compassion, you're really doing yourself a disservice and your community a disservice, because they're a part of your community, and they're going to be a part of your community. You can have a very public debate about whether you want those values in your community, and whether those values are consistent with what you think your values are. But, if you're coming from a place of judgement – you're going to have a hard time making that argument because it's not going to go away. It's not going to go away.

And in the world of social media, people are only going to organise even more so. I think those are important arguments to have. It's not a right or wrong, black or white, he-said-she-said issue; it is a community standard issue which always takes time to evolve. And we need to have more sophistication as people on this planet when we deal with very sensitive issues.

There are issues close to my heart and it pains me when I see politicians creating moral arguments because they don't want to deal with the real vote. Because they're afraid of losing their right wing or left wing constituency. In America for example, we have Obama going way out of his way to appeal to the gay and lesbian community, but from my vantage point it looks like a pandering for votes. Now, if he really believes that – great, but on the surface it looks like an awful pandering for votes. And then of course you have the right wing reaction where then they start running around with the term "family values". Fucking bullshit code-word.

That's what I'm saying. For people who are uncomfortable with the issue – ask yourself whether you can accept it as a civil union. If you can recognise it as a civil union, and recognise the right as a civil union, then the moral argument, the social argument, can take place over a different period of time.

But if you have, say, a very non-progressive man who is in a marriage with a woman, do you have the right to tell a homosexual man he can't be married to another man? Why would you deny him the same right you've been given? If you say it's a moral issue, well give him that right so you have an even playing platform to then have the moral argument or the social argument. But, when you deny something to somebody you give yourself then they're never going to listen to you, and then you're never going to find an adaptability between your community standards. Then it becomes a bullshit thing and it will never go anywhere. Then, politicians start running in and playing for votes, and they trump up the flames? and then it's a bunch of bullshit."

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