March 9, 2007

The punk rock opinion on the Kaplan story, etc.

Hey, Ben Weasel is talking about me. Hi, Ben. Let me just say we have many Screeching Weasel CDs at my house. But Ben isn't talking about my taste in music, he's weighing in on the law school's Kaplan story. Here's the pub
The story is pretty much always the same: A professor tries to fan the dim and flickering flame of intellect he sees in his students and makes the tragic mistake of not using "I'm Okay You're Okay" language. The little Marlos and Phils get an attack of the vapors from hearing such hateful words and go whinging off to the dean who, typically, says, "There, there, my little lambs" as he announces to the world that such slights against their feelings will not be tolerated.

Cue outrage from the vast majority of Everyone Else In The World who can't believe that such weak-minded crybabies are going to enter the adult workforce so ill-prepared to co-exist with their fellow man without having somebody to whom they can run and blubber. The latter assertions, sadly, miss the point that these sensitive muffins will likely live and work their entire lives within arms length of any number of willing wet nurses who will file lawsuits on their behalf every time their precious feelings are bruised. Such a world does indeed exist.

It certainly exists in punk rock - and especially on the West Coast, where witch hunts of this type have been conducted with regularity as long as I can remember. Even in a subculture that on the face of it would seem to be a bit more muscular, these sorts of Romper Room antics thrive (at least in the fertile soil of the SF Bay area). You'd be right if you pointed out that punk is as much a fantasy world as college life, but one can conceivably earn a living in punk - it's hard to be a professional student.

As it is, nobody's career was ever on the line when some punk dingbat who read too much Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi decided that those of us who weren't gay were de facto rapists. And there were always enough people in punk who loathed such nonse[n]se that it really was and is relegated to the absolute lunatic fringes. As many times as I've been targeted in the crosshairs of some delicate flower who didn't care for my choice of words and who tried to sabaotage some this or that of mine, it's never actually worked.
Oh, there's some nice potential here for connecting the Kaplan story to the current feminist attacks on me for mocking a Yale law student for overreacting to a stupid chat board where guys talked about her picture.

I like this Ben Weasel character, who lives here in Wisconsin. (See, here he is shoveling snow.) He looks a lot like the guys who played punk rock -- and, less to my taste, prog rock -- in my basement throughout the 1990s. I'm putting him on the blogroll.

I appreciate his take on this story, and I guess I should go read some of the lyrics to those old songs of his. My son John tells me a lot of the songs have pretty amusing satirical lyrics. He mentions "I Want to Be a Homosexual." I Google that and the first thing that comes is an FCC opinion!
Several complaints filed with the Commission indicated that on July 12, 1992, Radio Station KNON(FM), Dallas TX, broadcast the song "I Want To Be A Homosexual" (lyrics transcribed in Attachment 1) at 3:55 p.m. during its "Lambda Weekly" program."...

KNON's broadcast, while relatively brief, details sexual activities in very vulgar and explicit terms, warranting, on these grounds, a substantial forfeiture. Taking into consideration, however, the licensee's prompt response to the complaint (before a Commission investigation began), and the licensee's financial records submitted in response to the NAL, we believe a forfeiture of $2,000 is reasonable.
So let's check out Attachment 1:
Oh, Ben, gee, I think you're really cute and sexy,
and well, I know you're straight.
But look, I know you have a girlfriend.
But if you really want to have a...
Go read it over there if you want! What I really like about it is that it includes the subject of guys wearing shorts, which you know is one of my big concerns.

UPDATE: Ben notices this link and says about me: "Her stuff seems to annoy the living hell out of reactionary leftists, who insist on calling her a conservative even though she really isn't." He also expresses sorrow over that typo I kind of couldn't help drawing attention to. So never let it be said that concern about spelling does not exist in the punk rock community. About that FCC case, he says:
I remember reading about this years ago as the station was under attack by some Christian fundamentalist group for playing the song. In our early days we tried to ignite this sort of hype for ourselves several times, phoning and faxing Chicago TV stations pretending to be members of one outraged group or another who were protesting a Screeching Weasel performance. It never worked, of course. By the time the Dallas thing happened we were already doing okay for ourselves so we didn't really care so much. If I'd known they'd been hit with a 2K fine I would've chipped something in!
And he makes fun of the FCC for getting his lyrics wrong. They heard "beat-me-leather fag" for "beefy leather fag," not "beat-me-leather fag."
It's an important distinction because "Beefy leather fag" is funny whereas "Beat-me-leather fag" sounds like something translated from French by Babel Fish.
Leave it to the FCC to miss the funny.

18 comments:

Palladian said...

He's cute and smart too! You can easily become an official homosexual anytime you want, Ben. Just call my office.

I'm just disappointed that you don't like prog rock, Ann. It's about the only kind of "popular" music I can stand. Well, check that. Bad prog rock is unbearable. And most of it is bad.

SteveR said...

Always tough to follow a Palladian comment.

KNON(FM), Dallas TX, wow that brings back some memories, the style of a college station (except run by grown ups) in a non college huge city. A very unique station.

Hazy Dave said...

I thought of our blogger as I was watching the Live At Lyon DVD-ette that came with the Who's latest, Endless Wire, the other night. It starts with "I Can't Explain", that's cool... OMG, is Roger wearing shorts? They hang below his knees, but they're white shorts, all right. (Lucky they're not tighter, or they'd look like capri pants.) Damn. Well, besides that, the remains of the 'Ooo look pretty good for their ages. I sorta hoped Zak Starkey would look more like his old man, but that's genetics for ya. Good drummer, though, and a better musical match for the Who than Kenny Jones was.

Dewave said...

I like this guy! He's quite right. The culture of victimhood has grown to obscene proportions.

Newsflash to college students: you do not have a right to sail blissfully through life free from being offended.

You will frequently be offended in life, and it is best to learn how to deal with it. College is the best place to start. At least, it used to be, back when colleges were places where controversial topics could be freely discussed and competing viewpoints were analyzed and discussed.

paul a'barge said...

Bam!

This guy is "the nuts" as they say in Texas Hold'em. Right onto my .HTML page that holds the blogs I like to visit, in some semblance of order (Althouse is #3).

Speaking of radio stations, ever listen to WEVL out of Memphis? It's low on the FM dial, and is listener subscription but not part of the commie-driven NPR family, I believe.

One excellent radio station.

paul a'barge said...

Oh yeah, he needs to add an update expressing gratitude for the Annalanche.

Simon said...

Echo Palladian re prog - the problem is that it's so easy to get prog wrong, but when it's done right, it's great. I treasure my original vinyl editions of Yessongs and The Wall.

rightwingprof said...

I think the shorts thing is generational. We're about the same age, and you're correct, men didn't wear shorts, boys did. But I've given up ever mentioning it, because younger folks always look at me like I'm nuts.

Palladian said...

No, no Simon! Both of those albums do it wrong!

If you insist on Yes, the best album is "Relayer" or perhaps "Close to the Edge" if you need to have Rick Wakeman.

In my estimation the best prog albums are "In A Glass House" and "Free Hand" and "Acquiring the Taste" and, oh well really anything from Gentle Giant up to and including "InterView".

"Starless and Bible Black" and "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" by King Crimson.

"Thick As A Brick" and "A Passion Play" by Jethro Tull.

But be careful! The great British progressive rock bands of the 'Seventies had an alarming habit of turning into TERRIBLE bands in the late 'Seventies and early 'Eighties. Witness the slide from "Shindleria Praematurus" to "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes...

SteveR said...

Witness the slide from "Shindleria Praematurus" to "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes...

ouch the pain!.. make it go away

What's next? "Heat of the Moment"

Kill off a whole genre.

I was almost to the weekend

SGT Ted said...

Hm I didnt know that was called prog rock back when listening to it in the 70s. We called it fusion.

And try telling a Navy SEAL or SAS Commando that he's not a man when he's wearing shorts. :)

Theo Boehm said...

This guy is not only a "rock stah," as we say in Boston, he's a damn good writer.

As an official heterosexual, I can't say anything about his being cute.  I'll ask my wife.

But I can say the Dean should have had Mr. Weasel edit his statements. We then would have seen Weasel words replace weasel-words.
 
Please compose your own Zen koans to suit.

Simon said...

Palladian - actually, my favorite Yes album is The Yes Album - the production is a little ropey, but in terms of pure song-oriented prog, it's hard to beat. :) I'm genuinely surprised if someone whose favorite song is God Only Knows dislikes I've Seen All Good People.

As to Eighties Yes - lookit, I'm not going to try and argue that 90125 is a great misunderstood prog record (although Changes is one of my favorite Yes intros), it just isn't; but I'm not a purist, and it is a great pop-rock record on its own terms, IMO. Leave It is one of my favorite Chris Squire basslines, and a great bit of close harmony.

Ironically enough, I like every song on Close to the Edge EXCEPT Close to the Edge. :p

Palladian said...

"Ironically enough, I like every song on Close to the Edge EXCEPT Close to the Edge."

So you only like 2 songs on the album then!

I'm not a purist, but I only listen to rock albums if they feature either a Fender-Rhodes piano, a reed organ or a hurdy-gurdy.

I quite like "The Yes Album" as well, especially "Starship Troopers".

"And try telling a Navy SEAL or SAS Commando that he's not a man when he's wearing shorts. :)"

Oh, way to distract me. Now I'm never going to finish my work. A SEAL or a Commando looks good whatever they wear. But I'm not an anti-shorts purist like Althouse.

Simon said...

"So you only like 2 songs on the album then!

Right, but that seemed an appealing way to put the point, even if it's a little misleading. ;)

"I'm not a purist, but I only listen to rock albums if they feature either a Fender-Rhodes piano, a reed organ or a hurdy-gurdy."

I believe Low Man's Lyric by Metallica fits that bill. ;) I have pretty eclectic tastes, so when bands stray off the reservation, I'm fine with that as long as it's still good. Prog seems like an appealing genre to claim to be writing, because it has such a broad definition that you can claim more or less anything is prog (compare Dream Theater, Images & Words with Marillion, Misplaced Childhood), and it's very freeing. I like that I can have a heavy, chugging section followed by a country riff. :)

reality check said...

The latter assertions, sadly, miss the point that these sensitive muffins will likely live and work their entire lives within arms length of any number of willing wet nurses who will file lawsuits on their behalf every time their precious feelings are bruised. Such a world does indeed exist.


He likes you, but he seems to hate what you produce.

mcg said...

A SEAL or a Commando looks good whatever they wear.

Hmm, I first read this as a "SEAL goin' Commando".

Paco Wové said...

Yes... gahh. The only thing they ever did that I could stand was Würm.