October 21, 2011I've been mulling our conversations here concerning the innocence of the early Westerns vs. the crassness of society today. Or, put more succinctly, the reality of any time vs. the sugar coated version we seem to seek and enjoy.
For example, for the raw reality part, here's an excerpt from Empire of the Summer Moon: "It is impossible to read Rachel Plummer's memoir without making moral judgements about the Commanches. The torture-killing of a defenseless seven-week-old infant, by committee decision no less, is an act of almost demonic immorality by any modern standard. The systematic gang rape of women captives seem to border on criminal perversion, if not some very advanced form of evil."
First of all, that a writer is even admitting this in today's politically correct climate is refreshing to say the least, but it is ultimately depressing if you have any hope that people will ever love one another, like in the song.
And, speaking of songs, last night was the annual Art Walk on Main Street in Scottsdale and Shannon Schwind and I went down to man a True West magazine table and meet and greet all the art patrons. It was a great night. Very nice people came by and we talked about all things western.
On the way home (it's a 45-minute-drive back out to Cave Creek) I was scanning the radio dial and happened on a heavy metal group called Steel Panther, who sound like a cross between Van Halen and Metalica. Here's a taste of the lyrics:
I did 17 girls in a row last night
I can't get 'em out of my head.
I hit the team tomato on a dollar bill
I'm cleaning six girls off my face
Yes I did
The very next day I told the guys
But they said that's all lies
Gotta admit I was a little beat
Stix and Lexxi wouldn't believe
I did 17—17 girls in a row!
I rocked 17 girls in a grocery store and never lost my erection!
They had the saying aisle 3
and my love in sec-sex-section.
When I told the boys in the band they said
'Michael Starr, you're outta your crazy head! '
I don't lie about the girls I screw
So jealous 'cause you know it's true
Believe it or not, it actually gets more crass in the next verse (in a church!) but I'll spare you those lyrics. I have a hunch the song and the lyrics are a joke, or a put on, but still, I wonder if even the Commanches would consider this around the bend?
Anyway, it made me long for an older version of Rock n' roll, that didn't seem so nasty, although, I have a hunch a bunch of my parent's friends thought my guys were crass beyond belief. . .
"She was just seventeen, if you know what I mean. . ."