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the art of gore
i sold my soul for rock and roll
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
9.19.00
pop culture


I know nothing about politics.

I don't belong to a particular party. I don't research political issues. I don't even read the newspaper, really. I get most of my information from the idiot box in my living room. What I don't gather from the tube, I suck down from the Internet - consequently I'm much more aware of the latest developments in pornography and get-rich-quick schemes than I am of who's running The Big Show and where they stand on the important issues. I admit it, I'm part of the problem. I contribute nothing to the overall structure of society, with the exception of filling my role (splendidly, I might add) as a good little consumer.

It's really no surprise, is it? Most of the people in my age group have only been of legal voting age for two Presidencies or so, give or take a Bush. As for me, all of my voting strategy has been based loosely on figuring out which candidate I am most afraid of - and who is the person most likely to get enough votes to keep the enemy out of the office. I know I'm not alone here. As for local government, well, who has time for that low-budget stuff? There's simply no Hollywood in local politics.

All that being said, I am loving the Democratic and Republican national conventions. I am endlessly amused by the media coverage - these big-budget blitzkriegs are the ultimate in Jenny Jones-style programming.

I love the laughs I get from the Republicans, but the Democrats are giving me more psychological thrills for my money. Let me qualify my earlier statements by saying this: I am a LOT more afraid of George Bush than I am of Al Gore. Since that is the extent of my political strategy, and it is a gut-level reaction to his unavoidable associations with his father, it's likely that this good little consumer will cast a vote for Al.

That was a tough sentence to get out - not just because I have the literary skills of a music school dropout, but because in this day and age a vote for the President is a vote for their spouse. Some of you reading this will feel a nagging itch at the base of your spine. Still others will quiver with stomach spasms. Many of you will grip the arms of your chairs, stare silently into the past....and whisper her name....

Tipper. Tipper Gore.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again (I really don't have much else to talk about), I come from the land of thunder and lightning, a time of blood and fire, a place of 12-inch leather heels and acid-washed jeans. I am a product and a preacher of the Heavy Metal movement, and though at the time I had little tolerance for such things as rap and performance art, between us we shared a common enemy.

Whisper her name again. Shhhhhhh........Tipper............

In 1985 the PMRC (Parent's Music Resource Center), led by Tipper Gore, endeavored to apply a 'ratings' system to popular music. Performers like Ozzy Osbourne and Chuck D. were specifically targeted, and in many cases villainized, by PMRC supporters. I can remember seething with rage at the idea that this bunch of grandstanding senator's wives wanted to CENSOR my beloved art form.

"Parents can thank the PMRC for reminding them that there is no substitute for parental guidance. But that is where the PMRC's job ends. The beauty of literature, poetry, and music is that they leave room for the audience to put its own imagination, experiences, and dreams into the words".

- Dee Snider, Twisted Sister

Can you imagine the pride I felt when my hero, one of three musicians questioned by the senate hearing committee, spoke so eloquently to an audience of stuffed shirts? Here was Dee (along with John Denver and Frank Zappa, I should add) just leaning into these conservative prigs. What a glorious time for the metal minions.

Of course, the PMRC won, and we have tidy little stickers on every bit of media produced for wide distribution. We even have TV ratings now. And lo and behold - Al Gore could be our next President. He may soon find himself seated in the plush confines of the oval office, laughing quietly as he reflects upon the poor souls who's sad little votes for the lesser of two evils helped him attain the American Dream. Tipper, naturally, will stand behind her man.

Do I feel like a sellout? A little. I would probably feel a lot worse if I actually cared about politics. Forunately, my apathy and ignorance protect me from realizing the full consequences of my actions. You never know - Al might be left behind entirely, and Tipper, like a hysterical, mascara-streaked Tammy Faye, will be found wailing in the back alley behind a Washington crack house.

Dee Snider for President!


ABOUT JEFF MILLER

Brown eyes, brown hair, bluejeans and a T-shirt. Digs loud guitars and good design. Easily hypnotized by green-eyed blondes, shiny leather, B-movies, and brightly packaged foods. He's got a bustle in his hedgerow - but he is NOT alarmed.

more about jeff miller

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COMMENTS

tim lockwood
9.19.00 @ 3:14p

Al scares me. W scares me. I'm not even sure I like Nader, although he seems the best of a fairly sorry lot. I think I will just follow what has become a personal tradition and exercise my right not to vote.

jeff miller
9.19.00 @ 10:54p

For what it's worth, I wrote this article about a month ago. Since then, I've reconsidered my plans to vote for the Ken doll. Instead, on election day, I'm going to take the day off from work and walk up and down Commonwealth Avenue all day with a giant sign that reads ' Frank Zappa we Need You Down Here!!!'

joe procopio
9.19.00 @ 11:47p

Jeff, you've nailed it on the head and I love this column. So far, I'm voting for Bush. Why? Because all politicians are sleazy, megalomanical, deluded pawns. But I feel like you can at least see the Republicans coming.

travis broughton
9.20.00 @ 10:34a

I've been voting my wallet instead of my conscience for a while now (basically since I started earning more than minimum wage). But I'm seriously thinking of doing the protest vote thing this year. Nader scares me more than either of the mainstream candidates, though. At least if you vote Libertarian your name will be in a Government database for a good reason.

adam kraemer
9.20.00 @ 11:01a

Well, I originally wasn't going to put in my 2ยข because I generally like to stay out of other people's politics, but here goes. A) Nader's not going to win. Bottom line. If you're gonna vote at all, vote for someone who has a chance. You wouldn't bet money on the odds of pulling a red 3 out of a full deck of cards; why bet the country's welfare on an even worse call? b) I appreciate what Joe says about being able to see the Republicans coming, but I have three words: "right to choose." I can't find myself voting for, nor can I believe anyone I know would vote for a candidate who has openly admitted to being anti-abortion. I just can't fathom that anyone who wasn't religiously opposed to a woman's right to choose could vote for a man who was. C) Why rock the boat? Sure Clinton was a womanizer and a liar (many politicians are). But seriously, why invite back the economic wonderfulness of the "trickle down theory"? I don't k

adam kraemer
9.20.00 @ 11:09a

Oops. I don't know why, but practically everyone I know is financially better off now than they were after 8 years of Reagan and 4 years of Bush. Period. I don't know if this period of prosperity will last, but I certainly don't want it to end because we elected a man with a new economic viewpoint. D) Anyone get the feeling that George W. Bush is a moron?

Sorry this is so long, but I just don't know how it got this bad. I understand that we're all supposed to be cynical nearing-30-somethings, but it pains me to think that it's gotten so ingrained that government sucks that people are actually willing to throw away votes or to vote for a man who advocates a state-wide "Jesus Day" simply because his shortcomings are more obvious. You people have seriously depressed me. Thanks.


adam kraemer
9.20.00 @ 11:10a

Oh, one more thing. No one ever mentions this one, but in point of fact, Tipper Gore quit the PMRC because she felt they were getting too zealous and out of hand. So there.

jael mchenry
9.20.00 @ 11:21a

Bush is only useful as an entertainment device. A friend called me yesterday when GWB was on Oprah to tell me he'd answered some question about mistakes and forgiveness by saying "I understand human fallacy." Bzzz! Thanks for playing, Dubya, here are some lovely parting gifts.

I know the President relies heavily on advisors but I still want somebody smart at the top of the operation.


jeff miller
9.20.00 @ 12:40p

AK - I had no idea that Tipper quit the PMRC - once again, I have been proven to be the ill-informed, reactionary idjit that I am. I still say she's a menace to society though.

joe procopio
9.20.00 @ 1:22p

I don't know, today is just argument day. I'm not throwing away my vote, and I do agree with you Adam, that it's GOP or DEM or nothing. The abortion thing pisses me off. The DNC has been hanging this over the head of every Republican candidate since Roe v. Wade, and unfairly since George I. It's a scare tactic, IMHO. Flatly, Bush can run the country and Gore can't (also IMHO). Gore wins on the populist and promise front, but seriously, W will be more likely to stay out of my life.

She should have disbanded the PMRC.



sayf sharif
9.20.00 @ 2:42p

how lax

jeff i totally respect your viewpoint here, and i agree with you in many ways, as im also voting for the big bad gore. lets be honest about this though, as if you weren't being such. tipper isnt some nazi censor coming to snuff out dee snyder. that just wouldn't work. it's not censorship, its self ratings which are two very different things.

now i'm not saying 'ooo baby...ratings!' but what i am saying is that we shouldnt bandy about the word censorship when its not really applicable. censorship would not be rating a thing, it would be banning its sale or even the possesion of the album say in the country. imagine that! how horrific would it be if the police came to your house and you were more worried they'd see the twisted sister cd in your stereo than find your pot.

look, most people hate this crap, and even i find myself calling it censorship sometimes. its not though. end of story.


sayf sharif
9.20.00 @ 2:43p

oh and you're a real cutie, honeypot...

*wolf whistle*


travis broughton
9.20.00 @ 3:16p

Joe & Adam -- I have to disagree with your position on the two-party system. In this particular election it may be the case that no one else has a snowflake's chance in hell. However, I remember voting for Clinton in '92 because I didn't think Perot could pull it off. I voted the next-best-thing because I didn't want to "waste" my vote. Perot wound up getting almost 20% of the vote, even with a lot of people (myself included) buying into the idea that a vote for Perot was a wasted vote.

If third-party candidates can pull off double-digit percentages in a couple more elections, maybe those parties will actually mean something. So to me a protest vote is a vote for long-term change, rather than a short-term (4-year) solution.


tim lockwood
9.20.00 @ 3:21p

In an ideal world, we would vote our consciences on who is the best candidate. In a more practical world, we must vote the lesser of two evils.

This time, though, even this does not exist. We've got pro-abortion Al on one side, and we've got pro-capital-punishment W on the other. If they're not killing you at one end of your life, they're killing you on the other. No thanks.

Maybe I'll write-in vote for Leslie Nielsen. He looks distinguished enough to be President, but doesn't seem to be mean like the two losers we've got now. Besides, I think it would be cool if the President would slip a whoopee cushion under some dignitary's seat cushion once in a while. Sure would liven up those state dinners.


tim lockwood
9.20.00 @ 3:30p

And I'm not calling anyone "cutie" either.

sayf sharif
9.20.00 @ 3:37p

Is Leslie Nielsen still alive?

Man why can't we have a cool president. I don't mean cool in a 'hey baby' way, i mean politically cool.

Like...I don't know...

hmm...

has anyone in politics ever been cool? I can't think of one good decent cool leader. they all have faults.


jack bradley
9.20.00 @ 6:59p

Waving smugly at you all from Australia.


joe procopio
9.20.00 @ 9:28p

jack, I love that comment so much that I hate that this follow-up will remove it from the top page.

Travis, you are absolutely correct sir, and a third party will never catch on until enough people get behind it. However, they need a valid candidate, and rest assured that my dismissal of an alternative party this year is due to the lack of candidate, in my view.

I also want to thank everyone for approaching this topic so intelligently. It makes me proud. Even though I know I just opened up a big can of flame


sayf sharif
9.21.00 @ 8:16a

Joe you're right on the money, honey.

People always dismiss the third party idea, but really what we're dismissing are what ammounts to pretty sad candidates.

Now all of them are sad candidates, but the dems and repubs are already in power and also have money. Therefore they're immune to having to prove themselves 'good'. Third parties though are having a tough time because if they don't have an amazing candidate they just won't work.

hypothetically we can look at it this way. What if someone who was relatively famous and popular were to run on a third party ticket. Lets say Colin Powell ran on the libertarian ticket. Lets say that he won the lottery before hand and had 100 million dollars to through around (not alot mind you but enough). Lets say that he appealed to people. He was a good speaker, he had good ideas (not saying powell does or does not, just using him as a what if).

Lets say he got 25% of the vote, but didn't win. T


sayf sharif
9.21.00 @ 8:19a

oops..

Then he would get matching funds the next year, and maybe even do better..

Long story short, if the third party candidate is smart, good looking, wealthyish, slightly famous, and a good speaker with good ideas, who has the patience to run for president for 12 years, while maintaining his dignitiy the whole time and not having a checkered past, then maybe then...we'll elect a third party. don't you think that if Perot was good looking, and intelligent, and just a little sane then there's a chance that he could have scored more votes in 96, and if he stuck around, possibly even made a valid threat this year for president?


jeff miller
9.21.00 @ 10:58a

WOW. what an excellent discussion group. And so well behaved. Joe, I never imagined that someday we'd be exchanging political views (or in my case, misinformation and inflamitory ranting) with our peers in this way. Let's hear it for Joe for making all this possible!

lila snow
9.21.00 @ 8:39p

You guys are all really just so adorable, and I hate to be the one who brings the intelligent discussion down to the level of pointless and petty name-calling and finger-pointing, but, hey, that's what I get paid for. Adam, we're not all hip turning 30 people, and some of us believed that Reagan was the answer when we voted for him in 80. His economic policy looked new and bright and shiny, and we thought we'd be able to move up the ladder of success ever so much more easily with him in office. What can I tell you? We were young hip turning 30 at the time. Today I'm 110% with you though, but I hate like hell to make this a one-issue election, so I've made it a two-issue election. One, the president of the NRA has triumphanly declared that with W in office, it will be as good as having their own office in the White House. And two, God help us if our president doesn't support women's right to choose. Thank you all, and good night. (How official sounding

adam kraemer
9.22.00 @ 11:05a

I'm overwhelmed. I'll try to be less long-winded this time. First, I'd forgotten about gun control. That's right. Yet another reason why the Republicans scare me as representatives of the human race. No one will ever be able to convince me that it is our God-given right to own semi-automatic weapons.

Whoever it was that labled Gore "pro-Abortion" should be tarred and feathered. No one is "pro-Abortion." I'm not advocating the early termination of every single fetus. I am saying that it shouldn't be illegal to have surgery to avoid bringing an unwanted child into an already overcrowded world.

The thing about a three-party system, remember, is that it effectively steals votes from whichever party the 3rd candidate's political views are closest to. Think about how Bush might have done had Perot not run. This year, the 3rd party will be stealing votes from the Democrats. Imagine how silly Nader's proponents will feel when they realize


adam kraemer
9.22.00 @ 11:09a

that Nader's, say, 10% of the vote, stuck us with a fully-conservative government.

Something no one's brought up yet: the next president may have the opportunity to appoint as many as three justices to the Supreme Court. People scoff at the Dems waving the pro-choice flag, but is it so unfathomable that a Supreme Court one-third appointed by Bush might be able to overturn Roe v. Wade? If I didn't already have sleep appnea, the thought of a Republican majority in all of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches would probably keep me up at night.

Just think really hard about what a conservative Supreme Court could do....


adam kraemer
9.22.00 @ 11:41a

that Nader's, say, 10% of the vote, stuck us with a fully-conservative government.

Something no one's brought up yet: the next president may have the opportunity to appoint as many as three justices to the Supreme Court. People scoff at the Dems waving the pro-choice flag, but is it so unfathomable that a Supreme Court one-third appointed by Bush might be able to overturn Roe v. Wade? If I didn't already have sleep appnea, the thought of a Republican majority in all of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches would probably keep me up at night.

Just think really hard about what a conservative Supreme Court could do....


adam kraemer
9.22.00 @ 11:41a

Whoops.

joe procopio
9.22.00 @ 11:47a

See, now I'm in it.

Adam, it's that very tar-and-feather philiosophy that gets under my fingernails. We move from an argument of fact to an argument of rhetoric. Yes. It's pro-abortion because we're talking about the law, not the procedure. Anti-choice, pro-life, pro-choice, pro-woman, call it what you will.

This is also why I can't stand Gore. He was pro-life until that stance would no longer get him elected in Tennessee.

DEM vs GOP, in my mind, is still a question of promise vs reality - The Democrats tell you what you want to hear and never get it done. The Republicans tell you what they will do, whether you like it or not, and let the voters put them in or out of office.


adam kraemer
9.22.00 @ 3:50p

I agree with you on that, Joe, but I'd much rather vote with an ideology that I agree with than with one that will get the wrong things done. I'd be interested to see if your theory would still hold up with a Democratic majority in Congress.

The problem, as I see it is that liberalism is much nicer than conservativism. My example has always been that AIDS could be stopped and contained with a quarantine on anyone with HIV. It would solve the problem, but not in a very humanitarian way. Just because one party's solutions tend to work in the real world, the ends don't necessarily justify the means.


adam kraemer
9.22.00 @ 3:53p

And there's that pesky Supreme Court issue that you didn't address.

jael mchenry
9.22.00 @ 4:32p

I saw a 60 Minutes/48 Hours/ 20-20/type show last year claiming that Cuba is, in fact, using the AIDS/HIV Quarantine solution that Adam suggests. (Well, not "suggests" in the sense of actually suggesting it, but y'all know what I mean.) Would you consider that a conservative/Republican government? I wouldn't. Then again, I'm more focused on becoming "wealthyish" and "slightly famous" so I can meet Sayf's profile of the theoretically successful third-party candidate. I'm so profoundly middle-of-the-road that I think I could even bridge the considerable gap between Adam's and Joe's politics. Really. I am my own third party.

lila snow
9.22.00 @ 9:20p

Joe, you ignorant slut.

No, no, not really, Joe. I just always wanted to say that, and in my last message I forgot to stoop to name calling.


jeff miller
9.22.00 @ 10:20p

The way I see it, it's all conservative. Until some long-haired, dope-smoking athiest woman is on the ticket, then we're really just choosing between suits. Let's face it, whether it's drugs, sex, abortion, censorship, foriegn policy or AIDS, the parties will swing in whatever direction suits their needs. My mom read the article and all this discussion - she sent me this comment, and I just had to paste it in: 'I used to vote for the lesser evil too, but when I saw all the Republicans align themselves with the religious right during the impeachment hearings, I knew I could never vote for another one. When the chips are down...or when they think they can gain power by doing it, they are willing to do things that scare me. And yes, George W does appear to be a moron.' Gots to give props to my mom, yo.

adam kraemer
9.25.00 @ 10:47a

Jeff - your moms sounds like one hip, hip lady. Word.
Oh, and Jael, I would so totally vote for you. I think at school we always sort of considered you a party unto yourself, but I don't know if we meant the same thing back then.

chuck p.
9.25.00 @ 11:39a

Jeff, Jeff, Jeff...See what ya started? For the record...I was in Maine this weekend & saw a sign posted on someone's lawn that read "America Needs Bush"...true story.

adam kraemer
9.25.00 @ 11:55a

Personally, I think it's more likely that America needs Busch. And even that's a stretch.

jeff miller
9.27.00 @ 12:47p

I found this bit at Dee Snider's website. Thought it would be a nice little bookend to a great discussion. Dee Speaks: "Yes, I will be voting for Al Gore in the upcoming election. NO, I'm not the least bit happy about it. This is a clear case of the lesser of two evils, both of which are plenty evil. Let's face it: either Bush or Gore is gonna win this one. It's one or the other. One of those two will be responsible for appointing a number of supreme court judges. With Gore in office, I think we'll have a better chance of getting judges who will protect the environment, women's right to choose--the issues that I'm most concerned with. That's where my vote comes from. And look at it this way: chances are very good that I'll be the host of a nationally syndicated morning radio show throughout Gore's presidency. And I'll never forget my history with Gore, the PMRC hearings, etc. Remember folks: this is a man who, back in 1985, wo

jeff miller
9.27.00 @ 12:48p

"Remember folks: this is a man who, back in 1985, would have had me shot if he'd had the chance. I look forward to being a persistent thorn in his side every weekday morning from 6 to 10am."

joe procopio
9.27.00 @ 1:45p

Thank you, Jeff, for pointing out that the entirety of a very intelligent discussion from the hip and savvy intrepid media community can be summed up in two paragraphs by Dee Snider.

Parties be damned, I just can't vote for the guy who invented the Internet, was the basis of Love Story, gives the same meds to his mother and his dog, and penned and passed bills in congress a full two years before being elected.



jael mchenry
9.27.00 @ 2:47p

And I can't vote for someone who doesn't know the difference between 'fallacy' and 'fallibility.' To each his own.

tim lockwood
9.27.00 @ 3:07p

I still say, Leslie Nielsen for President.

tim lockwood
9.27.00 @ 3:08p

(And you probably think I'm kidding.)

adam kraemer
9.28.00 @ 9:36a

Okay, Joe, but when the conservative Congress tries to pass a bill to get Roe v. Wade overturned, and President Bush doesn't veto it, and Bush's Supreme Court upholds the new law, I'm holding you personally responsible.
Same goes for if my kid is shot in school with a legally purchased semi-automatic.

joe procopio
9.28.00 @ 10:05a

This is what I'm talking about. What good does it do to say something like that? How about: When Mother Russia overthrows DC and when your surgeon removes your appendix under the influence of crack, I'll blame you. First off, there's no good in that sort of empty threat (and I know you're kidding) and those provocations are ancient. Roe v. Wade won't be overturned. Ever. Ain't gonna happen. Sheesh - RU486 just got approval, no? Bush has also said he won't overturn it. And blaming school shootings on republicans (BTW, I'm an independent) is like blaming Zenith for Big Brother. I don't mind the argument at all, but that kind of thing just devolves and soon you'll have me looking like a clinic bomber because I want LESS government.

joe procopio
9.28.00 @ 10:06a

It is a friggin' CHALLENGE to be intelligent, witty, and sensible in 500 characters, no?



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