The Duranie Smackdown began a couple of days ago on Facebook. It started innocently enough with a friend of mine saying that she had been “rockin'” out to AYNIN on her status. My plan was to comment with a simple statement of support but before I could even do that, I noticed that another person had made a comment wondering if the band could “sing on key” or “play their instruments”. How could I let that go? I couldn’t and responded with a positive comment to my friend who was enjoying the album and another comment about how Duran had written and performed their own songs very well for over 30 years. Now, the other person could have just left it at that, especially if she didn’t want a debate, a battle, a lively discussion. She didn’t. She followed up her first comment with another one about how Robert Palmer could sing on key but that Simon “always had a pitch problem”. As for the rest of the band, she said that when she saw them live in 1984, they were definitely still learning their instruments and that she had more musical skills than them! Insert lots of eye-rolling here.
So, I took on the job of educating her. I explained to her that Robert Palmer was the lead singer of Power Station only. I gave her some facts about how Duran have sold a ton of albums and have received lifetime achievement awards. Her response was that the Reflex was off key and that I shouldn’t use their album sales as a means to show their talent because, according to her, Vanilla Ice had sold a lot, too. Oh boy. More eye-rolling. She ended that comment with a statement about how she isn’t the only person to think this way. Great, is she trying to say that she is a critic now? Whatever. I, of course, informed her of what I think the issue was with the critics in that they never gave any respect to Duran because GIRLS liked them. She returned to make more comments, including that anyone who doesn’t hear that Simon is off key should go to the ear doctor and that I had provided her with lots of laughs. That did it. I calmly explained to her that it is fine to have a difference of opinion about music since like all art, it is subjective but that there was NO reason for her to be insulting. Here’s where my friend and fellow Duranie (not the person rockin’ out to AYNIN) enters the picture.
My friend came in to be supportive and because she, too, thought that this person had gone too far. She pointed out to the hater that there are things that she likes that her friends would think are horrible, too, but that they probably wouldn’t insult her about it on Facebook. Of course, this person turned the situation around to where she was the victim as she said that my friend “baited” her and that we took it to a low level. She claimed that she was just trying to have some witty banter but that we probably aren’t capable of that. (My eyes were rolling around so much that I’m surprised they didn’t fall out!) I couldn’t let that slide, either, and commented that she would have been more mature to have just said that she apologized for insulting us.
So, what is the point of me sharing this story? First, it reminds me so much of what elementary school felt like. I will never forget sitting at lunch and debating who was better: Duran Duran or Michael Jackson. I was always on the losing side of that battle as there were a ton more Michael Jackson fans than Duranies where I grew up. I can recall trying to explain to my classmates that Band-Aid came out first and was better than USA for Africa who just copied Band-Aid on the cause. These classmates of mine didn’t want to hear any of the facts. They couldn’t just accept that we had different taste when it came to music as it almost always went to the fact that Duran were “sissy like”. (I usually argued at lunch with boys, by the way.) This conversation felt just like I had gone back in time. Of course, the really sad part is that this person is a grown woman. My classmates had an excuse–they were just kids.
Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t criticize Duran Duran as a whole or Simon, specifically. The world knows that I love to give Simon a hard time as much as possible. That said, I always do it from a place of love. I know that they are capable for greatness so when they fail to reach that, I’m disappointed and I say so. Now, this person doesn’t get that right. She isn’t a Duranie. She isn’t saying those things to give Simon a hard time. Nope. She is saying them to be mean—to the band and to their fans. What does this say about me as a Duranie? It says that I will ALWAYS defend them to the non-Duranie even if it is about things I disagree with. I would argue that RCM was a fabulous album with a non-Duranie, for example. I think that part of being a serious fan is about being passionate about something. I’m passionate about Duran. This passion can form into loving criticism with other Duranies or into fierce protection with non-Duranies. That’s how it always has been and always will be.