An Open Letter to The Baron:
The following is my response to Rob Miller’s (aka The Baron’s) exposure as a holocaust denier conspiracy theorist. This came to light when he thanked a holocaust denier in his personal acknowledgments in Tau Cross’ newest record, Messengers of Deception. After being alerted to this by German magazine, Ox, Relapse decided not to release the record. Rob has released two statements condemning Relapse, his band mates, and his audience for the backlash. He never denied being a holocaust denier, and specifically mentioned being inspired by a holocaust denial book and a Nazi Germany favoring revisionist history video series. Brooklyn Vegan has some very good posts about this.
Amebix was one of the most important bands to me. For Halloween, I sang in an Amebix cover band for two shows in 2007 as a benefit for an environmental center in East Kalimantan (Borneo) Indonesia. We dressed like Amebix circa Monolith with mullets and eyeliner. We even had a cardboard Stonehenge. I sent Rob photos of the show and we became sort of cyber pen pals. This led to introducing him to my Pointless Fest partner Greg Daly to facilitate the booking of Amebix’ US 1st tour.
I arranged to have Rob make one of my best friends (and Amebix cover band mate) an Amebix themed sword as a surprise for his 40th birthday. I’d talk to Rob occasionally since then and saw him when Tau Cross played. I reached out to Rob twice since the news broke, but he has yet to respond. I decided to write this open letter because: I do know Rob personally, Amebix meant so much to me, and most importantly, because of my disdain for the dangerous nonsense of conspiracy theorists.
I don’t know which is harder to swallow – the fact that you have become an anti-Semite, or the fact that the person who wrote some of the lyrics I hold most dear is this stupid. You need to be slapped. You are not clever enough to be onto something that the rest of us haven’t figured out. Your intellectual insecurity has led you to the drug of conspiracy theory. You get high on thinking you have figured out something the rest of society hasn’t. You needed a stronger fix, so you went deeper into the rabbit hole.
Here’s the thing about conspiracy theory — to the conspiracy theorist, everyone is in on it but you. If something like the holocaust could be faked, then anything could be faked. The sheer magnitude of effort needed to pull off that type of mass deception means that we cannot trust anything. Hundreds of thousands of “crisis actors” would have to have been recruited to live the rest of their lives in this fiction. I knew holocaust survivors; you are a bit older than me, so you must have known some too.
If deception can be perpetrated on this scale, then why believe anything? How could you trust your supposed truth anymore than the prevailing narrative? How can you possibly vet any evidence in such a world? If nothing can be trusted, then why put so much effort into this most wretched subject? I hope you are just an idiot; the alternative is very painful.
This reek of backwards engineering an excuse for hatred. You speak of truth, however putting a holocaust denier’s name in your personal acknowledgments, unbeknownst to your band mates, isn’t being truthful; it’s a cowardly dog whistle.
The arrogance of your statement is bewildering. The path of “truth” you offer is nothing more than a middle-aged man self-radicalizing by looking at dumb shit on the internet. We can all just hang out with our meme-sharing uncles for the same effect.
I put some distance between the punk scene and myself to pursue my own truth. I needed to know if what I signed up for when I was 15 was my authentic self. I put my band on hold and immersed myself in the real pursuit of truth — science. I went back to undergrad and then graduate school. I learned how to evaluate evidence. I learned the tools to understand and perform research. There are millions of highly educated freethinkers who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of truth. The scientific community loves nothing more than proving each other wrong. As a scientist I am trained to look for patterns.
I see a pattern here. I observe that those most concerned with "free speech" seem to always express bigotry. Where are these free speech advocates when the Trump administration is suppressing climate change and LBGTQ terminology? They always seem to demand “free speech” only when a record label or university elects to not give a voice to anti-Semitism or transphobia.
Stepping outside of my insular bubble was humbling. There are a few things that many punks get wrong: GMOs, outside cats, anti-vaxxers…. But punk gets it mostly right. The bulk of the DIY punk scene is made up of good intentioned people trying to make a difference. You gave us some of our best anthems. In your smug parting shot, you call your fans “kids” and declare that now you can no longer be part of our community. You were, until recently, happy to be touring and releasing records to this audience. It’s only after your pathetic attempt at a shibboleth for your fellow idiots exposed you, that you are exiting. You say: “burn with me.” I say you burned your legacy.
Tony Croasdale aka Tony Pointless
P.S. When I turned 40, the friend we got the Amebix sword, arranged to get me a Spanish Civil War pistol made my the CNT. Still circling that A, motherfucker.