Andrew’s recent writing in the Village Voice has been generating some extremely passionate reactions. His latest party columns about prayer and politics have quickly made their way around the world wide web and into critical discussions from Yale’s Briallen Hopper and atheist minister and author, Gretta Vosper.
Hopper discusses her thoughts after reading Andrew’s column about politics:
I hated Andrew W.K.’s response, even though (like the almost quarter of a million people who shared it) I found a lot to agree with in it. I have a 63-year-old father with whom I deeply disagree about LGBT issues and abortion, and I still love him, respect him, and learn from him. My friendships with people across the political spectrum are important to me. And it’s hard to argue with Andrew W.K. when he says that that no one is perfect; politics are complicated; we should see each other as persons, not monsters; and love should be able to bridge barriers.
More than anything, though, what struck me about Andrew W.K.’s response was how white it was.
I don’t know anything about Andrew W.K.’s background beyond what an Internet search can tell me, but as a white American I do know this: It is a privilege to experience political differences as differences of opinion rather than differences of power. It is a privilege to be able to view all political issues in indistinguishable shades of gray. And, as I’ve been realizing in the month since Michael Brown’s death: It is a privilege when loving your political enemy means loving your father, not loving the man who killed your son—or the man who killed someone who might have been your son, or who might have been you.
When asked for her thoughts on Andrew’s column about prayer, Vosper responds:
I don’t have an issue with Andrew W.K. giving his perspective on anything to anyone. And I agree: Part of the process of intentionally reflecting on our relationships is getting beyond our own hypocrisy and arrogance to look at ourselves as we truly are. That’s humbling for most of us.
But I was both amused and annoyed by his description of what “Not Gonna Pray” should do. Amused because it replicated evangelical emotionally-manipulative praise and prayer choreography beautifully: get inside the emotional wetsuit and make this baby feel something. Anything. At whatever cost. And angry because it was irresponsible, even reckless. W.K. has no idea what putting “Not Gonna Pray” in that position of vulnerability is going to do, and he takes no responsibility for the emotional or psychological cost it may exact. It was manipulative—and, as most manipulative things are, self-gratifying. It had nothing to do with “Not Gonna Pray” and everything to do with W.K. Which is too bad.