Does fanaticism have a place in music? Nope

I don’t fear God. I suppose I should. I fear innumerable other things, such as shingles, the loss of any appendage, Willow. Who wouldn’t fear that little ankle-biter, especially when he has that menacing wand pointed at you? Still, I’ve never really feared God, which doesn’t mean I haven’t been warned. People frequently tell me that they’re going to instill the Fear of God in me, but it just doesn’t really work, most likely because generally they mean to insinuate that they’ll provoke me to fear their fist, not the wrath of the Creator.

For the first 15 years of my life, my mother dragged me, kicking and screaming, to church. Not just any church, The Church. Roman Catholic, baby. That’s some hard-core dogma, you know what I’m saying? Wine into real blood — this is what they actually believe, and they consider it an honor to eat the actual flesh of Christ in the form of a yeastless wafer. Maybe vampires and zombies wouldn’t get such bad reps if they exhibited such sincere reverence, but for some reason they insist on those campy, gaping stares. Nevertheless, the majority of us humans fervently believe in a higher power that we obliquely call God. That’s fine. I really have no problem with that. What I do find irritating, though, is when our favorite entertainers take it upon themselves to go and find God and then thank him for their monumentally insignificant, entirely incidental success.

Most of them choose not to rub my nose in it, and for that I am eternally grateful. Madonna recently trekked across Israel as part of her “study” of Kabbalah. This does not really offend me, though, because she keeps it mostly personal. Some of my friends used to be into X-Men cards, but they’ve moved on, and so will she. Freddie Mercury never pranced around in the Druid cloaks that I assume the Zoroastrians have adopted as their costume. Tina Turner, for the most part, keeps her wacky “num yoh ho, rang gyay kyoh” Buddhist chant confined to her gastronomically-inclined shrine to the fat man, and Prince and Michael Jackson have not, as of yet, chosen to perform in the undertaker’s uniform of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The case for the latter isn’t that effective, especially when his preferred wardrobe could best be described as “Martian umpire chic.”

Countless other artists cannot restrain themselves from delivering vigilant caveats to the rest of us with finite incomes. I’m not talking about gospel music or any genre delineations that define themselves according to their passion for their respective religion. On the contrary, I must specify the secular artists who suddenly decide to go all God on us. In 1977, Bob Dylan became a crazy Christian fundamentalist (redundant?) and went on a rampage, preaching about the imminent apocalypse. Unfortunately, he missed by about 27 years.

Alas, my real problem is with the Christians. You people strut around all day talking about the weather until someone mentions evolution, and then WHAM! Out comes the ol’ fire and brimstone. Although it’s true that rap artists always make the obligatory plea to God, they always leave it at that and move on. “First and foremost, I’d like to thank our Lord Jesus Christ,” they say, and then proceed with their litany of felons and other industry conglomerates. White people are the worst, though. Their passive-aggressive hubris never fails to boil my blood, and generally this coincides with their vestigial politics of greed and intimidation, but enough of that.

Then Cat Stevens, the hopelessly mediocre singer-songwriter, converted to Islam and started running his mouth on American egotism and arrogance. Hey, I agree, but let’s leave Allah out of the equation. I really would like to say a bit more about Islam and all of its eccentric rituals, but at the moment we seem to be engaged in a modern-day Crusade with these people, and, though I don’t fear God, I do fear forever losing my head, as I’ve mentioned before, to affiliates of Hamas. Seriously, Islamic radicals make Hannibal Lecter seem reasonably lenient. I’m joking, of course, but most of these radicals have no sense of humor whatsoever, unless you consider blowing yourself to smithereens a form of slapstick comedy.

Yesterday Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, was deported back to a London airport because the government considers him a viable terrorist threat. I would have done it after he secularized “Morning Has Broken,” one of my least favorite church hymns from the past. Perhaps Cat Stevens is a threat, but at least he’s not ranting and raving like a madman atop a stockpile of ammunition in the backwoods of Michigan. Ted, I’m looking in your direction. Not you, Kaczynski. The one with the cross around his neck — yeah, you, Nugent.

Madonna
Courtesy Madonna.com
Madonna

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