Headbangers for Jesus
The entire planet officially jumped the shark in February of this year, and hardly anyone noticed! It happened when Megadeth guitarist and singer Dave Mustaine endorsed Rick Santorum for president. Tell me, in what kind of world-gone-mad does the famously debauched frontman for a thrash metal band tell us to vote for the stick-up-the-ass, hardcore conservative evangelist?
Since the script for our lives is now being written by monkeys stomping on typewriters, nothing should surprise us anymore, including the lunatic rants of a neocon headbanger. To demonstrate my point: Apparently Mustaine has gotten tired of Donald Trump and Ted Nugent hogging the demented right-wing paranoid schizophrenic spotlight, so he decided to do them one better by claiming, during a concert in Singapore last week, that the mass shootings at the theater in Colorado and the Sikh temple in Wisconsin were staged by President Obama in an effort to build support for a gun ban.
We don’t have to elucidate how utterly stupid and insulting that statement is on every level, especially to the victims and their families. We don’t have to shake our heads at all the tea party supporters swarming online comments pages in veiled support of Demented Dave. It no longer baffles us that people don’t realize the so-called socialist Obama is to the right of Ronald Reagan on most issues. After all, the world is controlled by monkeys stomping on typewriters. Anything can happen.
Monkeys fling poo, by the way. This suggests, through extrapolation, that they are not good at plot logic.
What does it say for a political party – I’m talking about the Republican Party – when the celebrities who speak for it lack even a fundamental grasp of reason? With Trump and his refusal to let go of the birther conspiracy in the face of contrary facts, Nugent’s incoherent rage, and now Mustaine’s bizarre exclamation, you’d think ordinary conservatives would be doing everything possible to distance themselves from these fruitcakes.
Smart guys like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger – guys who stumped for Bush in 2000 – seem to be throwing their hands up and saying, “Yeah, I might sit this one out.” It’s one thing to be for lower taxes and for trashing stimulus spending while simultaneously asking for it (I’m looking at you, Paul Ryan). It’s something else entirely to say the most pro-military president since Dick Cheney wants to ban guns and that he’s secretly an African Muslim who wants to replace the Constitution with Sharia law.
Christ, can you believe I’m not making this up?
You are welcome to like or dislike Charlton Heston for his politics, but the man was highly intelligent and articulate, and certainly the type of well-spoken celebrity I’d want endorsing my ideology, if I had one. It is not necessary to expound upon Ronald Reagan’s similar attributes in this regard. Naturally, in a society where freedom of speech is prized (or tolerated in some cases), Trump and gang can say what they want. They are not on the payroll of the RNC, either, so you may claim they are not speaking “for” the GOP. I just wonder, where are the alternative voices? That is, the not-crazy ones.
Judging from the scope of public reaction, it appears as if horror-turned-art house movie director David Cronenberg’s recent comments about the Batman franchise were far more unconscionable than any nutty thing that Dave Mustaine can dream up. Cronenberg, out promoting his latest flick, Cosmopolis, had the audacity to say in an interview on Wednesday that The Dark Knight Rises is “boring” and that people who call it art “don’t… know what the fuck they’re talking about.”
This viewpoint is not sitting well with legions of Batman followers who, according to comments around various news and entertainment websites, are practically calling for Cronenberg to be thrown in prison. Some are boycotting his entire oeuvre (their loss) or calling him a talentless jerk, and so on.
I ask you, is there a more entitled group of movie fans than the Batman people? If you trash Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, or knock the lightweight approach of the Marvel films, fans generally shrug, laugh, or agree to disagree. But Batman folks often express genuine outrage (or pity) toward those of us who don’t see what the hype is about.
Like many of you, I’ve seen Chris Nolan’s Batman movies, and I’m afraid I have to at least partly agree with Cronenberg. Where’s the art? The acting is appropriate for the genre, the cinematography is slick and consistent, and the tone is gloomy, if you like that in a superhero movie. To be art, though, I think you need to have substance… or provocative ideas… or a story told through arresting imagery rather than a conventional three-act plot that unspools through alternating sequences of dialog and stunts/action/effects.
I’ve asked people to explain what elevates these films, and the typical reasons are that they are “dark,” or that Heath Ledger was brilliant as the Joker, the latter response being a bit like Obama still dragging George Bush’s name through the mud in 2012 (see, I criticize Democrats too). That’s a mighty performance if the two films without the Joker are masterpieces as well.
Unlike David Cronenberg, I am not a cantankerous eccentric who doesn’t give a shit what people think. I’m just a facilitator who genuinely wants to know why he is wrong. No need to be offended by the question. It’s not like he said these films were poorly made… or written by poo-flinging monkeys.