Republican is the new speed polka
Man, this is what I get for traveling for a couple of days and not reading blogs. I finally caught up last night, and saw that I had missed Sadly, No and Whiskey Fire had linked to Big Hollywood reaching for new levels of douchebaggery—past whining that they’re millionaires that are oppressed at cocktail parties and past perhaps even whining that they let girls invade sci-fi TV show (leaving them only with Grand Theft Auto to prove their manhood to themselves, though no one else), and onto levels of self-delusion such as believing that you turned purple last night but no one else can see it. Oh yes, Doug TenNapel is pulling the classic right wing insecurity thing—knowing that the left has all the cool clothes, good music, and best heroes, they try to come in and claim that stuff was actually all theirs all along, unaware that there’s nothing sadder than a Republican weenie claiming he’s got a great sex life or that MLK would have voted for McCain.
Republican is the New Punk
BWAH HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHBWAHHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH *hits floor* GASP GASP BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHAH *wipes tears from eyes, stands up to write more*
D. Aristophanes explains that this is about exploiting the ambiguity of the phrase “punk rock”, a term that TenNapel avoids defining because any reasonable definition would kill his thesis that “Republican is the New Punk”—
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA OH SHIT I CAN’T BREATHE GASP BWAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH *crawls to the bathroom, slipping on a puddle of tears* BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH RETCH SPLASH *leans on toilet, still giggling* ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Okay, sorry about that. It’s just that I kept thinking about the coalition of Ann Coulter, prairie muffins, men with giant beer bellies and belt buckles to match, cranky old people who want you off their lawn, and Dennis Prager being anything close to “punk rock”, when all of the above find it their sworn duty to get irate at manifestations of punk rock that enter their visual or aural space. But it’s like the desperate claims that MLK would have been a conservative. They do it because MLK’s dead and he can’t defend himself. Perhaps TenNapel saw a T-shirt that said, “Punk is dead,” and figured he could pull the same stunt. But while many punk innovators are dead (including the sole Republican in the group, Johnny Ramone), there’s plenty still kicking around that may not enjoy being slandered while they’re still alive. (Though we lost Lux Interior last night.) Of course, this article isn’t about convincing anyone. It’s about making a bunch of two bit nimrods who’ve never set foot in a punk club in their life feel like they’re so cool no one else can see it.
It’s also hugely racist.
Johnny Cash was punk rock. The birth of rock came when Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Cash toured small towns and set the youth on fire. Parents were outraged. The long dippity-doo hair atop gyrating men “dancing like the negroes” before frothing young girls set mainstream culture against this rebellious little movement. It was our first smell of anarchy and it scared the establishment.
Look, parents weren’t upset because rock and rollers were “like Negroes”—they were also upset because they were in fact black people. I can’t believe the nerve of this motherfucker to write this paragraph. Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison invented rock? You know, more than Ike Turner or Chuck Berry? Why not just come right out and claim that Pat Boone invented rock with his smashing original compositions “Ain’t That A Shame” and “Tutti Fruiti”? It’s probably easier for the know-nothings in his audience to swallow than the idea that a country-western musician like Johnny Cash somehow invented rock without ever playing it.
But there’s a reason for this unsubtle racist revisionism, which is that this is all about how betrayed he feels that white rock musicians backed Obama. I fully expect the next essay to be about how there’s nothing more rock and roll than grousing about young people with their hip hop music, which is of course nothing like a bunch of grumpy conservatives in the 50s complaining about what they called “Negro music”.
The rebellious spirit of rock is dead. No better evidenced than by its formal endorsement of President Obama. Never before has rock been so central to the inauguration of a president. Bono is an ambassador in sunglasses who still knows how to pull a string and get an audience of thousands to put their fist in the air.
He goes on from there, but that’s the most important part of the argument. He’s trying to position Republicans as anti-establishment because they have a minority party that represents wealthy white people who run the country regardless of who’s in office. Indeed, we can all expect TenNapel to switch to the Democratic party immediately when the Republicans gain power, because real punk rockers embrace a rebellion so mindless as to be utterly meaningless. If you’re drinking Pepsi, he’ll be hitting the Coke to show you what anarchy means.
But wait! He has a picture of Johnny Ramone, who voted for Republicans, looking cool!
Devastating argument, that one. At least if you know for a fact that your audience knows absolutely nothing about punk rock, and doesn’t know that The Ramones released (over Johnny’s complaints) the devastating protest song “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down” and, in another song, implied that being a Republican was like being in the KKK.
The real victims here are the morons who take Big Hollywood seriously, as they are being played for fools. (And, of course, anyone who suffers the effects of them voting, which is the rest of the nation.) They swallow these crackpot theories whole because they’re too ignorant to know any better, and because they have a reasonable expectation that they’ll never encounter someone who really is punk rock long enough to share this crackpot idea. Without the risk of having someone laugh in their face and make them realize to the tips of their toes that they really do suck as much as they feared, they’re free to trade these self-serving, blatantly racist ideas until their fingers loosen and they finally let go of their last grasp on reality.
But hey, there is one Republican punk band I know of, especially for those out there (such as the readers of Big Hollywood) who have a complete tin ear for irony. The Austin-based band the Yuppie Pricks can fill that need for you, so buy their album:
Here’s a band that played in the same clubs at the same time as The Ramones, expressing how punk rock is the exact same thing as the begrudging red state pseudo-populism: