What Was The Kiffness Thinking?
Whether you love him, hate him, or are just kinda indifferent to him, The Kiffness is going to keep getting onto your timeline.
If you’re one of the 2000+ masochists who follow me on twitter, you’d have noticed that taking the piss out of The Kiffness has become one of my favourite past-times. It’s kinda become my schtick, with me hounding the poor dude anytime he leaves himself remotely open for critique. Why? I dunno. Projection, probably. Also, bantz m8. Mostly though, I’ve had a few issues with the way David tackles sensitive topics, with it sometimes feeling exploitative or attention seeking. After he caught heat last week for posting a photo where he was apparently spraying insecticide in his face to rid himself of his white privilege, I figured I’d just chat to the dude about why he creates such a ruckus online.
I don’t always appreciate his methods but after chatting to him I feel like he’s sincere in trying to bring up issues like white privilege and LGBT+ representation in the media. He definitely doesn’t get it right all the time but he seems to be trying a lot harder than most (“That’s the problem Bob, he’s doing the most”- I hear you white dude who reads Urban Dictionary, I hear you.) I still don’t really know how to feel about his methods. I’m still questioning a lot of my own, if I’m honest, but I do find it strange just how much criticism he gets from people who don’t do much to add to the conversation other than say “That’s wrong because of this thing I read on Huffpo.” But also, sometimes people do wack shit and need to get called out. The line between legit offense and rabble rousing is blurry af on social media these days and David has often found himself on both sides of the coin. We give David a chance to explain himself in the edited Facebook Chat you can read below.
DIY: Okay, first things first, did you really spray insecticide in your face or are you good with Photoshop?
David Scott: I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Come on… The world needs to know.
Let’s just say that people who want to believe I’m stupid enough to poison myself for a Facebook post are entitled to their opinion.
Haha, fair enough. So what was the point of the post? I’ve noticed you’ve been trying to work off your white privilege lately…
I may be speaking for myself, but white privilege feels a lot like a monkey on my back – something that I would get rid of if I could. I think a lot of white South Africans either think white privilege doesn’t exist and/or flat out ignore it, because coming to terms with it is a very uncomfortable process. I’ve found that making fun of my own privilege makes the whole process more bearable, but just because I make fun of my privilege it doesn’t mean that I don’t see the seriousness of the problem. My hope is that using satire as my medium for talking about white privilege would make it sound less like a swear word and encourage more whities to talk about their privilege more openly.
Did you expect the backlash you got? Do you think people missed the point?
It’s the nature of the beast with these kinds of posts. If a post reaches a lot of people, there will be those who get it and those who miss the point completely, and it’s often those who miss the point that are the loudest online – so I think the backlash may seem worse than it actually is. I was well aware that something as controversial as “spraying poison” in my face would receive backlash, but the overwhelming support I got made every slander on Twitter worth it.
The thing that annoyed me was seeing really privileged whites taking a dig at you when at least you were taking the piss out of yourself. Still, to a lot of people, you often come across as insincere and many feel it’s for RTs and likes. Why do you think that is? And does it actually benefit the band to do these things when it often draws ire?
I can understand how some people may think I have ulterior motives to what I say online, and in no way do I blame them for throwing me shade – it’s just part of the territory. But it’s interesting that you say that it seem to be rich white kids in particular who I seem to rub the wrong way, because I’ve noticed that pattern myself.
I think it was John Cleese who said that he actually wishes to offend certain people, because by offending them he’s forcing them to think about something that they wouldn’t have thought of before. I think what it boils down to is one of two things:
1. What I’m saying holds elements of truth and poking holes in my character is a way of defending themselves from coming to terms with their own privilege, or
2. I’m an easy target and the hatred they give me is just a projection of hate that they have for themselves, and hating me is just one of the ways that helps them feel better about themselves.
Whether my posts benefit the band or not is irrelevant. I made the decision earlier this year to speak my mind on things that matter and whatever consequence that has for my professional career is something I’m prepared to deal with regardless of the outcome. That being said, I must say the benefit (so far) far outweighs the negative – not only in my personal growth, but I’ve never been busier as an artist.
But you also piss off black people. Which really matters here, and on the other side of the coin, people criticise you of exploiting issues for your benefit. I think I likened you to Macklemore when I first saw the ‘You Say You Love Me’ video, and that’s cause often when white dudes swim in these waters that they’re the ones who benefit. Do you see why people think that way? Especially people who aren’t white dudes?
I totally do get it, and again I believe criticism is just part of the territory. No matter how good my intentions are or how much positive feedback I get, I just know that there’ll be someone who thinks I’m a dick – and that’s fine. I’d even go as far to say that can’t call yourself a successful artist if you haven’t received some sort of criticism. That being said, I know I am far from perfect and there have been times where I have pissed people off for reasons I was totally unaware of. In these instances I will be the first to admit I was wrong, and I will grow & learn from my mistakes.
As for the ‘You Say You Love Me’ video, I totally get how it can come across as exploitative – but like anything, I think you can always judge a tree by the fruit it bears. I don’t want to speak for Manila Von Teez (the drag star of the video), but if you had to ask her what her experience of working with us was like & what the video has done for her career & the LGBT community around her I’d like to think she’d only have good things to say.
Well, yeah, after I said that, I saw that Mamba Online loved it and I realised that my opinion on it isn’t really needed. I also think some people hate that you’re just always nice, and by some people, I mean me. Does it ever get tiring? Always responding positively to the people that give you shit?
The foundation of my mental health, and the thing that allows me to keep saying whatever I want to say without fear of what other people say in return is the fine art of never being offended. It’s important to realise that when someone is mean to you, it almost always has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person’s total life experience up until that point. So when someone tunes me, I’ve trained myself to not say “how dare you”, but rather ask “I wonder what difficult thing that person has gone through that would make them say such a thing?” That being said, turning the other cheek is always going to be harder than retaliating. I like to think of it as dying to your natural feelings and surrendering to something bigger than yourself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the sting of a harsh word – I am human after all. It just means I will always try to make the harder choice, because I believe the harder choice is always the right choice.
Cool man, well, thanks for your time. Anything else you want to say?
I just want to say that although you’ve given me a lot of grief over the years, I appreciate your wit and sense of humour – that time I tweeted “It’s important to take the piss out of things, otherwise they’ll keep tasting like piss” and you replied “Too bad you can’t take the kak out of your music” is still one of the greatest burns I’ve ever seen – even though it was directed at me. But in all seriousness, I appreciate how you play devil’s advocate – your questions/thoughts keep my ego in tact and have often lead to very careful introspection. I’m also really looking forward to meeting you at OutLand Festival next year – it was a really pleasant surprise to hear that you were keen to book us.
To be honest, I’m at a point where I don’t think it’s necessary for me to give you grief anymore. Hundreds of other people, some of whom actually have a legitimate gripe, are doing a much better job of it. And by the way, we booked you cause more than a few people say you and Clem put on a phenomenal live show. Please don’t suck.
Well then I guess I’m going to have to rely on the rich white kids on twitter to keep my ego in check. No pressure re: our live show, we’ll try not to disappoint.