Bradford Cox is known to pull some weird stunts. Back in 2012, he covered “My Sharona” for an hour straight at an Atlas Sound show. Yesterday, he had a ten-minute conversation with a heckler in the middle of his Deerhunter concert at Seattle’s Showbox. Stereogum tipster Daniela B. shared footage of the incident, in which an audience member accuses Cox of appropriating Native American culture and yells “fuck you.”
Daniela B. explained the situation in an email: “During the set, Bradford Cox started a dialogue with a heckler accusing him of cultural appropriation because he said he’s a huge fan of Twin Peaks, and he said was planning on staying in North Bend at the Salish Lodge that night so that he could explore Snoqualmie the next day.”
In the video, Cox calls the heckler to the front of the stage and lets her voice her concern on the mic. “You’re appropriating Snoqualmie culture,” she says. Cox asks her to explain — “Is there something about North Bend that I should know? I’d like to hear it.” — but she declines. “Why should I, as a person of color, have to tell you about it,” she asks to collective booing. “So that I can empathize and relate to your point,” Cox responds.
“Ideas are traded between cultures through communication, not by insulting and yelling ‘fuck you’ at people,” Cox says. “I have been marginalized my entire fucking life…marginalized by heteronormative culture, marginalized by socioeconomic situations, marginalized by being differently abled.”
“What is your assumption about my life that makes you think that I am somehow privileged or I represent someone appropriating your culture? I believe that you have a very good point that you’re not going to share with me out of arrogance.”
“You obviously as a white person, male,” she begins. Cox interrupts, “Did you just call me male? I don’t even know that you can assume my gender, my friend.”
Watch it all unfold below.
UPDATE: Here’s more context from albinosaur:
I was at the show and was about 10 feet behind this conversation, so maybe I can provide a little context.
Bradford had been bringing out Twin Peaks a couple times throughout the night, crediting the show for opening his eyes to what surrealism could look like. He had a conversation with a guy in the audience about the Laura Palmer house. This was about the 3rd time he had brought up Twin Peaks, and that was when this young woman started shouting, then when he acknowledged her, she moved quickly towards the stage and kept yelling at him.
I do think Bradford genuinely wanted to know how he was appropriating her culture. I think he wanted to know if it was something specific he was doing, like visiting the area and not respecting the land it was on, or if it was a general offense like white people taking the land from native Americans. It seemed like she did not expect to have him hand her the mic and ask her to elaborate. When she got flustered and declined to give any reasoning, that’s when it felt kind of ugly. He came off more defensive than he could have been.
The crowd fed off of this defensiveness and did not help things. Once they started turning on her, it felt kind of ugly and gross. Maybe she shouldn’t have heckled him and ran to the stage, maybe she has a good point to make and just didn’t articulate it very well. I don’t know that it’s for me to say.
The person I went to the show with heard people in the crowd, white men in particular, yelling things at her and C-wording her as she left the front of the crowd in a hurry. That is not ok.
They also didn’t play “Nothing Ever Happened” either, which I was looking forward too. Other than that, the show was great.