Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Whither Reason, Mr. Gore?

I've watched with interest recently as Al Gore has been promoting his new book, "The Assault on Reason." I have listened with interest to Gore's appearances on the talk show circuit, bemoaning the loss of reasonable discourse in today's political landscape.

I've watched this with such interest because, much like the elephant, I don't forget....

I am not wowed by Al Gore's new Hollywood persona. I do not have stars in my eyes because he has a successful movie or an Oscar. I am not impressed with his Global Warming arguments, no matter how true I think his cause is.

I am not impressed by these things because Al Gore, to me, will always be the Senator who trumped up a congressional investigation committee because his mentally disturbed wife got her underwear in a knot about the music her kids were listening to.

So, for all you Al Gore sycophants out there. For all of you who laud him as the savior of the planet and the man who strives to bring reason back into the world of politics, I give you a young Senator Gore, a man so in love with "reason" that he tries in the following text to argue with a songwriter about the meaning of a song that he, the songwriter, wrote...

"The CHAIRMAN. Senator Gore.

Senator GORE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. SNIDER. Excuse me. Are you going to tell me you are a big fan of my music as well?

Senator GORE. No, I am not a fan of your music. I am aware that Frank Zappa and John Denver cover quite a spectrum, and I do enjoy them both. I am not, however, a fan of Twisted Sister and I will readily say that.

Mr. Snider, what is the name of your fan club?

Mr. SNIDER. The fan club is called the SMF Fans of Twisted Sister.

Senator GORE. And what does "SMF" stand for when it is spelled out?

Mr. SNIDER. It stands for the Sick Mother Fucking Fans of Twisted Sister.

Senator GORE. Is this also a Christian group?

Mr. SNIDER. I do not believe profanity has anything to do with Christianity, thank you.

Senator GORE. It is just an interesting choice. I was getting the impression from your presentation that you were a very wholesome kind of performer, and that is an interesting title for your fan club.

You say your song "Under the Blade" is about surgery. Have you ever had surgery with your hands tied and your legs strapped?

Mr. SNIDER. The song was written about my guitar player, Eddie Ojeda. He was having polyps removed from his throat and he was very fearful of this operation. And I said: Eddie, while you are in the hospital I am going to write a song for you.

I said it was about the fear of operations. I think people imagine being helpless on a table, the bright light in their face, the blade coming down on them, and being totally afraid that they may wake up, who knows, dead, handicapped. There is a certain fear of hospitals. That is what, in my imagination, what I see the hospitals like.

Senator GORE. Is there a reference to the hospital in the song?

Mr. SNIDER. No, there is not. But there is not a reference to a woman, sado-masochism, or -- well, bondage, yes.

Senator GORE. There is just a reference to someone whose hands are tied down and whose legs are strapped down, and he is going under the blade to be cut.

Mr. SNIDER. Yes, there is.

Senator GORE. So it is not really a wild leap of the imagination to jump to the conclusion that the song is about something other than surgery or hospitals, neither of which are mentioned in the song?

Mr. SNIDER. No, it is not a wild jump. And I think what I said at one part was that songs allow a person to put their own imagination, experiences, and dreams into the lyrics. People can interpret it in many ways.

Ms. Gore was looking for sado-masochism and bondage and she found it. Someone looking for surgical references would have found that as well.

Senator GORE. Why do you think there is so much sado-masochism and bondage in some of these new songs?

Mr. SNIDER. I cannot speak for the other artists. I am really only here to defend myself, and hopefully by speaking for myself as one person, songwriter in a band that I feel has been unjustly dumped on, that will just warn us of the dangers of what we are trying to do here. I really cannot speak for the other bands.

Senator GORE. Now, you made reference to a comment about T-shirts. I would simply note for the record that the word "T-shirts" was in plural, and one of them referred to Twisted Sister and the other referred to a woman in handcuffs. And it was not intended, as I understand it, to say that you appear with a woman in handcuffs.

There are a lot of different T-shirts and advertisements around today. I have noticed from some of the fan magazines particularly featuring heavy metal music that little sado-masochistic outfits are advertised, with the fingerless gloves and spikes and studs on them, and that these little S&M outfits are marketed to teens and preteens. Is that correct?

Mr. SNIDER. Well, they are marketed. Who buys them I am not sure.

I would just like to say, in reference to the comment about T-shirts, I have with me a taped cassette of the exact --

Senator GORE. No, I am reading from your transcript of it in your statement.

Mr. SNIDER. I will have to check the transcript, but when it was said there was no question she was referring to a Twisted Sister T-shirt. There was no question if I played the tape for anybody.

Senator GORE. Well, in your own transcript it is in plural, "T-shirts," and two examples are cited. But I do not want to belabor that point.

Now, you said that you can look at the titles of albums and look at the covers and tell what kind of material is inside. Does the title "Purple Rain" give you an indication that the material is about masturbation?

Mr. SNIDER. You mean the album title "Purple Rain"? No, it does not. I did not say in all cases. I believe I covered that there are occasional albums that are a bit misleading. I said I do not
think a store would refuse a parent who came in and said, "I do not like what is on this record. I would like my money back."

Senator GORE. So the choice the parent has, then, is to sit down and listen to every song on the album; right?

Mr. SNIDER. Or read the lyrics if they are on the record.

Senator GORE. I think that is pretty general agreement that if the lyrics are printed that is one possible solution for this.

Let us suppose the lyrics are not printed. Then what choice does a parent have? To sit down and listen to every song on the album?

Mr. SNIDER. Well, if they are really concerned about it I think that they have to.

Senator GORE. Do you think it is reasonable to expect parents to do that?

Mr. SNIDER. Being a parent is not a reasonable thing. It is a very hard thing. I am a parent and I know. OK. I am a new parent. I only have one child, maybe. But I am learning that there is a lot to being a parent that you did not expect. It is not just always a cute baby. There is a lot of labor, a lot of time, and a lot of effort that goes into it. It is not totally pleasurable.

Senator GORE. And you will find when they get a little bit older that when they are exposed to the kinds of themes that we were presented with earlier, if you love your child you are going to be concerned about that. And if you want to protect that child from unnecessary exposure to inappropriate material, you sometimes need a little help, the kind of guidance that is presented in the movie industry.

It is totally unreasonable in my view to expect parents to sit down and listen to every single song in the albums that their children buy in order to fulfill their responsibilities as parents.

Now, the only thing in your statement that I felt at all comfortable about was when you said you shared some of the concerns of the PMRC. I would simply conclude by expressing the hope that artists and the record companies will find a way to manifest that mutual concern in some self-restraint, and show a responsibility and give parents a break.

You are right: It is tough being a parent. It is even tougher being a kid. And if both are going to be able to deal with the kind of material that is coming out in popular music, it seems to me the industry has a responsibility to give them a little help.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. "

There you have it. Al Gore, Mr. Reason, getting owned by a heavy metal musician. I'd post the transcript of his debate with Frank Zappa as well, but it's just piling on. Frank Zappa is one of the true geniuses of our time. Al Gore is a politically connected bully.

"But he's changed!" some of you will say. Fine. Show me where he's apologized for the largest censorship grab since McCarthy. Show me anywhere that he's said "my wife was off her happy medicine and I was just along for the ride." Show me where he's properly penitent for his past sins. Show me those things, and I'll join the Al Gore movement.

Until you do, Al Gore is, and always will be to me, a censor. The lowest form of human life, below evangelicals even. Worthy of nothing but dishonor and scorn. Unworthy certainly of being the "savior of reason" and unworthy wholly of being the highest defender of a Constitution he holds in contempt.

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Blogger Kate said...

I am not a big Gore fan either, and the censorship issue is one of the reasons. The others are less political- I lost respect for him when he gave his balls to Tipper. Say what you will about Clinton, he still has his balls- and Tipper ain't half the woman Hillary is. Less than half if you just go by brain power.

9:48 PM  

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