Here’s the thing that makes Deadmau5, if not compelling to non-EDM fans, at the very least interesting: He came up with the greatest marketing hook any DJ ever had by putting on that mouse head, but he doesn’t show any indication of wanting to play the same self-promotion game that chipper, relentlessly positive DJs normally do. He can command hundreds of thousands of dollars a night to pump tracks over a sea of glow sticks, but he just did a drop-in set at XS for, if the hype is to be believed, free.
He told Justin Bieber to “grow the fuck up” and said of Madonna’s cynical foray into dance music that he “fucking can’t smack my head hard enough right now.”
In other words, he’s acting like a good old-fashioned temperamental artist. It’s wonderfully retro.
That don’t-give-a-fuckness is what made his Twitter account one of the incredibly few DJ social media channels worth following, and also what seemingly made him rage-quit the whole shebang in November.
After posting a suite of songs that had the Latin names for the seven deadly sins—one of which was “Ira” for “Wrath”—Deadmau5 started catching static for it on Twitter.
From people who thought he was supporting the Irish Republican Army. The IRA. (And not, as I originally suspected, from legions of furious Ira Glass fans.)
Deadmau5 claims he didn’t flee Twitter because of the heat. In a statement, he said, “I’m going to let management deal with that account. My reasons are my own, not because of something I said, not because of this hilarious IRA vs “Ira” craic, not because of Lady Gaga’s infinite legions of brain-dead fans. But as I said … reasons of my own.”
On the one hand, we’re pretty much obligated to take those “reasons of his own” at face value. Deadmau5 hints at the need to focus on work instead of checking his phone every five minutes, and there’s no reason to suspect that he’s using that to cover for his crippling Legend of Zelda addiction. (Everyone knows you budget in your crippling Legend of Zelda addiction to your weekly planner, anyway.)
On the other, the Irish Republican Army? That is a transcendent achievement. It’s the Felix Baumgartner Stratos jump of achingly beautiful stupidity: A stunning testament to man’s ingenuity in a field no one actually asked for. Who wouldn’t take a long, hard look at an elemental force like that and walk away from that particular pipeline of the inter-tubes? It’s John Wayne turning back into the wilderness at the end of The Searchers. Sometimes a man has to know when he don’t belong.
The idea was to break down the wall between artist and audience in the spirit of harmony and cooperation, which would have been our birthright if not for the cynical meddling of the commodity men. In theory. In theory, communism works—in theory.
Instead, we’ve got ourselves a Frankenstein scenario, where outrage stands in for torches and pitchforks. To the point where it’s left poor Deadmau5 huddled alone, by himself, on an ice floe—with nothing but two synthesizers and a mouse head to keep him warm.
Actual smart people can sit down and figure out where the Internet Outrage Machine came from, what it wants, and whether or not it will achieve sentience and launch a coordinated nuclear strike against humanity on August 4, 1997, July 25, 2003, July 25, 2004 or April 21, 2011, depending on which part of the Terminator canon you buy into.
In the meantime, the rest of us are left to sort through some spectacular point-missing. Like in several reviews for the Ridley Scott/Cormac McCarthy moviemaking superhero team-up, The Counselor. It’s a deeply cynical, bleak flick (which you knew as soon as we wrote “Cormac McCarthy”) that deals in the finer points of McCarthy’s misanthropy.
There were several reviews, though, that went out of the way to note the flick’s misogyny. Which misses the point on two very important levels: A) McCarthy has never once in a decadeslong literary career indicated he thought anyone, male or female, was worth a damn, and B) the mastermind, the person who wins, the one who carefully maneuvers enemies into the most unescapable traps (and I’m about to spoil the holy living hell out of this movie because the plot mechanics are like the 10th-least important part of it, slightly behind “Whatever happened to Cameron Diaz’s cheetahs”) is Diaz.
If all you’re going to tune into is the misogyny—out of the mouth of Javier Bardem’s character, and not systematic to the film—you’re missing out on a flick that will sucker-punch you in the soul. Why would anyone, especially a critic, trade in a blistering moviegoing experience for a few seconds of cheaply won moral certitude?
Deadmau5’s decision to leave Twitter is utterly defensible in that light. If he’s going to take the time to put together an interconnected suite of songs—and the thing people start talking about is a manufactured faux pas by way of 4 a.m., 14th martini logic—it’s readily apparent that he can’t win. With all those Space Invaders tattoos, the dude obviously is a student of the ’80s. He learned the lesson of War Games: The only winning move is not to play.