November 8, 2001, - 7:39 pm
“We don’t comment on whales and the rain forest. We don’t try to be ambassadors to Bosnia. Duh. You need a rock star for that? Some idiot who couldn’t tune a guitar six months ago is now an environmental specialist? I blame media for giving rock stars more credence than they deserve. Why don’t they ask Al Gore how to play bass?”
That was Gene Simmons, founder and bassist for the rock group, KISS, in a 1997 interview with USA Today’s Edna Gundersen. Simmons was right. That’s the kind of rock star we need more of in America. Stick to music and stay out of politics.
It’s especially good advice in 2001, with the War Against Terrorism. But unfortunately, especially now, every rock star apparently feels the need to spew forth an opinion though it’s neither needed nor wanted.
Even Simmons has now unwisely chosen to ignore his own advice. On a recent episode of ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” his comments about the war were either completely wrong or nonsense. First, he said, “‘Islam,’ by definition, means ‘peace.'” No, it means “submission.” Then he attacked Christianity for the Crusades, which happened how many centuries ago? That justifies attacks on the WTC in 2001 by Muslims? (FYI, the Muslims had their own crusades, and forcibly converted thousands of Jews and Christians to Islam.)
Another Simmons gem: “At the end of the day, this guy Bin Laden, he’s not evil. He’s not good, he’s not evil.” Not evil?! Huh?
But at least Simmons only sounds non-sensical and foolish. It’s the rock stars who sound like they might really know something–but don’t–that are worse.
Like Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith. I previously wrote about his recent hypocritical, phony patriotism. But worse, he’s now sounding even less patriotic, blaming America.
“After the Cold War, we could have had Genesis in Afghanistan,” he told the Boston Globe, last week. “We could have given them some schools. We could have fed them for a couple of years until they were back on their feet. Instead, we pulled out, and Russia came in and blew them apart. Bin Laden comes in and feeds them, and gives them a couple of roads–it’s like feeding heroin to pigeons. They always come back to you.”
This is ludicrous. There’s no denying Tyler’s expertise on heroin, cocaine, and many drugs to which he was addicted for most of the last three decades. But that’s about all he knows. He’s got his timeline a little wrong. And to explain away–or in any way qualify–the wholesale murder of 5,000 innocent Americans because, in Tyler’s ill-informed opinion, we didn’t make Afghanistan the newest welfare-queen satellite state, is just plain ridiculous.
And it’s wrong.
The U.S. funded Afghanistan to the tune of billions over the last two decades. In Fiscal Year 2001, alone, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture, and other U.S. agencies provided over $117,869,525 in aid to Afghanistan. And that was only the figure through July 9, according to a USAID Information Bulletin on that date. The aid included food, educational assistance and many other things beyond what the new secretary of state (in his own mind), Steven Tyler, thinks we “should have done,” but, in fact, did.
And still, Afghanistan allowed the Taliban to take over and the terrorists to live and flourish there, anyway. Talk about feeding heroin to a pigeon, Steven.
Then there’s John Mellencamp, aka John Cougar, aka John Cougar Mellencamp. Remember his patriotic tunes “R.O.C.K. in the USA” and “Pink Houses” (“Ain’t That America”)? Well, he apparently ain’t too proud to be an American, these days. He’s denouncing the war, denouncing the bombing of Afghanistan and says “he’s particularly disturbed that Arabs in America have taken heat since Sept. 11,” according to Detroit Free Press rock critic Brian McCollum. I guess, to Mellencamp, the real victims–the 5,000 Sept. 11 slaughterees whom he never mentions–are just chopped liver.
Sounding like the knee-jerk nincompoop that he must be, Mellencamp thinks that, “Instead of worrying about somebody having a pen knife on an airplane, we should be figuring out why a brother of ours would behave so incorrectly. What have we done to make this part of the world family so hateful to us?” Puh-leeze. Mellencamp sounds like Ted Kennedy liberals who say, “Don’t jail the muggers and murderers. They can’t help it. Let’s look at the root causes.” Put him on flights with box-cutter-equipped murderers, while they’re looking for those root causes he uses to justify our “brothers” the terrorists’ “incorrect behavior” of murdering 5,000 innocent Americans.
Hopefully, Mellencamp doesn’t really believe this baloney and is just using it to hype his latest failed CD that no radio station is playing and no one is buying. As for dividing the “world family,” Mellencamp is starting at home–with his divisive “Cuttin’ Heads” song, featuring the chorus, “Don’t Call Me N—–, which he performed with Chuck D, of the anti-Semitic, pro-Farrakhan rap group, “Public Enemy.”
And don’t forget Bono (of “U2”), the politically correct, pro-Green Party, pro-gun control, pro-U.S.-debt-forgiveness-to-Third-World-countries rocker. Bono, who employed a convicted IRA terrorist as a bodyguard, and guitarist “The Edge” skipped their scheduled appearance at “the Concert for New York City,” honoring fallen WTC heroes and aiding their families. But they showed up to their paid gig, a Madison Square Garden gig, and according to the New York Post, Bono lectured the crowd on “empathy with Muslims.”
It’s time for rock stars, including Gene Simmons, to heed Simmons’ advice and shut up on politics. Or better yet, put on some KISS make-up and disappear.
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