While I was over at Taki’s Rag checking out that Derbyshire piece about how you should avoid black people unless you want to die, or something like that, I noticed this “letter” to Henry Rollins (apparently a mock tribute to the segment of Rollins’s old IFC show in which he composed acid letters to various celebrities, e.g., Ann Coulter) over in the sidebar. I don’t have much affinity for the Taki’s crowd, in general, but I have to admit, this strikes me as spot-on, in particular:
While you seem to think your political opinions are still perceptive and edgy, they’re mostly recognizable as the default liberal opinions of the LA set you hang with these days. But having read a few books by Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky does not make you somehow more enlightened than the average Joe with whom you claim affinity but toward whom you actually condescend. At this point you have a lot more in common with Tori Spelling than you do with Sid Vicious.
I’ve been to two of Rollins’s verbal bludgeonings, aka “spoken-word shows,” the most memorable aspects of which were their sheer length and the numbness in my ass by the time they finally ended (I had no interest the second time, but I allowed a friend to talk me into going), and I’ve seen several episodes of the IFC show, and pretty much the exact same thought occurred to me on more than one occasion. I remember him ranting, for instance, in the “teeing off” segment of one of the IFC episodes, about the creationists sneaking “under God” into the pledge of allegiance, as if it somehow ruined the majesty of an otherwise rousing work of poetry.
I know we’re all supposed to get more conservative as we age, and I have no idea if Rollins’s political views were ever anything beyond a half-step to the left of tepid mainstream liberalism, but all I could think the whole time was here’s the former lead singer of a punk band called Black Flag defending the integrity of the pledge of allegiance. The pledge of fucking allegiance, for crying out loud! Take away the tattoos, the black T-shirts, and the sudden outbursts of shouting, and you’re looking at someone whose next gig could be as the angry white dude on The View.