The Two Minutes’ Hate, rock’n’roll style

The Wall Street Journal gives self-described “rock star” Ted Nugent space in which to vent his various hatreds.

Ted Nugent, a washed-up guitarist who still fancies himself a “rock star,” performed at Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s inauguration wearing a Confederate flag as a shirt. He thinks our mistake in Iraq was failing to use nuclear weapons, and he (naturally) claims George W. Bush among his fans. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, long a cesspit of lunatic-fringe hate speech, apparently decided to get ready for becoming part of the Murdoch empire by giving Nugent a chance to rant. And rant he did; his piece reads as if it were from The Onion.

Here are some of the hot spots:

Forty years ago hordes of stoned, dirty, stinky hippies converged on San Francisco to “turn on, tune in, and drop out,” which was the calling card of LSD proponent Timothy Leary. Turned off by the work ethic and productive American Dream values of their parents, hippies instead opted for a cowardly, irresponsible lifestyle of random sex, life-destroying drugs and mostly soulless rock music that flourished in San Francisco. … The bodies of chemical-infested, brain-dead liberal deniers continue to stack up like cordwood. … The 1960s, a generation that wanted to hold hands, give peace a chance, smoke dope and change the world, changed it all right: for the worse. America is still suffering the horrible consequences of hippies who thought utopia could be found in joints and intentional disconnect. … A quick study of social statistics before and after the 1960s is quite telling. The rising rates of divorce, high school drop outs, drug use, abortion, sexual diseases and crime, not to mention the exponential expansion of government and taxes, is dramatic. … While I salute and commend the political and cultural activism of the 1960s that fueled the civil rights movement, other than that, the decade is barren of any positive cultural or social impact.

Really, you can’t grasp how hatefully, hilariously ugly and stupid the piece is without reading it all. But of course a commenter on Daily Kos once used a dirty word, so we should treat the commercial media with respect and worry about the loss of standards of civility and professionalism due to blogging.

Footnote Note the careful genuflection in the direction of the civil rights movement. Somehow I suspect that Nugent, like the Wall Street Journal, is a somewhat late convert to the cause. (Someone ought to remind him what “liberal” meant in 1967.) But of course Nugent is right that until the 1960s entertainers never engaged in excessive use of intoxicants. Mickey Mantle and Dean Martin are merely figments of your imagination.


A reader writes:

I particularly enjoy the quote “Hippies instead opted for a cowardly, irresponsible lifestyle of random sex” coming from the man who wrote “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”, and, in another song, likened his face to a Maserati parking in his lovers garage. Nugent’s promiscuity, and musical celebration of it, at the height of his career was notorious, even for the 70’s.

“Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”?? Honest to God, you really can’t make this stuff up.

So Nugent was for Sex (and no doubt Rock’n’roll), opposing only Drugs in the Unholy Trinity of the period. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: