by BJW Nashe
Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson may have been temporarily muzzled following his disastrous interview in last month’s GQ Magazine, but his fellow right-wing culture warrior Ted Nugent is more than happy to pick up the slack. The Nuge, once known as “Theodocious Atrocious,” penned a virulently racist op-ed for the right-wing web site World Net Daily on January 15, 2014.
In the op-ed, called “What Would Dr. King Say About Black Culture?,” Nugent’s wrath is focused on a profanity-laced online video featuring an African American toddler. The video, posted by the Omaha Police Union, ended up going viral, which bothered Ted so much that he felt the need to weigh in on what he sees as a defining cultural moment. (Never mind the fact that if we are going to judge humanity on the basis of YouTube videos, surely we are all damned to hell.) After slinging mud at the kid in the video and trashing his entire family as nothing more than “gangster thugs, punks, degenerates and criminals,” Ted goes on to extend his outrage to African Americans in general, and the liberal policies that he claims have led blacks into “culture and social rot,” which he also describes as a “self-inflicted destructo-derby.”
The content of Nugent’s public statements on politics, race, and crime have long been too ridiculous and idiotic to warrant serious attention. A few points are worth making in regard to Ted’s own personal integrity, however, which cast serious doubt on him as a credible “moral authority” on any topic.
First of all, it is stunning and hilarious to see Ted take offense at any kind of foul language — coming from children, blacks, Martians, or anyone else for that matter. When I saw Nugent and his band perform way back in the mid-70s (he was opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd, a vastly superior musical outfit), Terrible Ted used quite a bit of profanity during the show. Between songs, he also spoke at length on the topic of female genitalia. Which is fine — if performers want to rant and curse and deliver “vagina monologues” during their shows, it is their right do so. And Ted has continued to exercise that right for several decades now. There’s no indication that he has toned down his act with age, no matter how many youngsters are in attendance. In recent years, he has been known to brandish an automatic rifle onstage, hollering into the microphone, “Suck on this, Hillary” or “Suck on this, Obama.” For this same individual to now express outrage over someone else or their children for being “profane” or “inappropriate” is straight-up hypocrisy.
Second, Ted Nugent’s moral outrage flies in the face of not only his own use of language, but also his own personal behavior. The “motor city madman” has not exactly led the lifestyle of a saint during his long rock and roll career. It’s no secret that well into his thirties Nugent was quite fond of sexual encounters with underage female fans. He himself admitted this during a 1998 Behind the Music profile on VH1. The “Behind the Music Episode Guide” at Roctober.com says this about Nugent’s appearance on the show:
“He lambastes drug users and alcohol drinkers, but repeatedly admits (without a trace of humility, however) to being a serial pedophile. Two relationships (one with his wife and one with ‘muse’ Pele Massa, who was 17 when they started dating) were ended due to Ted’s infidelity while on the road, often with underage women. But Ted justifies his behavior with one of his trademark funny expressions: ‘alternative flesh management.’”
To be fair, I’m not sure if “pedophilia” is the correct term to use here. There’s no need to resort to name-calling, by asserting that Nugent was a “child-molester.” Furthermore, I’m not saying that he abused anyone, or that he was preying on unwilling victims. I simply do not know. As for whether or not he should have been thrown in prison for his sexual proclivities, I’ll leave that for others to decide. My only point is that for a rock star in his thirties to be having sex with underage girls is morally questionable behavior, to say the least. For Nugent to assume that we should sweep all of this aside, and view him as an upstanding citizen who ought to be taken seriously when he attacks others for their moral depravity, is misguided and hypocritical. In the end, we simply do not take him seriously.
Third, Ted Nugent’s presumption in speaking as an authority about the problems facing “black culture” is deeply ironic. He is clearly ignorant of the diverse lives of African Americans in the U.S., and the various issues that concern them as citizens of this country. For him to make sweeping generalizations and derogatory remarks about an entire race of people is shameful. Nugent, of all people, should not be so ignorant. Here is a man who has made an entire career out of playing music that would not even exist were it not for the invaluable contributions of countless black musicians. Ted Nugent’s style of rock would be inconceivable without the foundation laid down by artists such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, and Chuck Berry — just to name a few. Every blues-based lick and bent half-note that comes out of Ted Nugent’s guitar is indebted to the many talented black musicians who toiled in clubs and bars and struggled to make successful records long before Ted came along in his Tarzan loincloth and proceeded to bastardize the art form with songs such as “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.” Ted Nugent’s debt to African American culture is far greater than anything that might be owed to him.
Most remarkable of all, perhaps, is the way in which Ted Nugent’s op-ed can easily be turned around and pointed right back in his direction. All we have to do is flip the script by making Ted’s own racist statements the main topic of the piece instead of the viral video and “the problems with black culture,” and presto: Ted’s op-ed is now howling in outrage against itself:
“Just when you think it can’t get any uglier, some aging white rocker will slither out of the sewer and do something that shocks even the most hardened and calloused among us…
“A truly disturbing and disgusting racist rant made national headlines recently after the World Net Daily site posted an op-ed on its website.
“The aging rocker who wrote the racist op-ed, Ted Nugent, is white, and the source of his outrage is black people. This is important to note as the nation gets ready to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 20.
“Some black leaders and others claimed it was racially motivated for the World Net Daily to post the op-ed.
“Others addicted to common sense and reality believe that displaying the video was a ‘teachable moment’ in that it showed the continuing and unbroken cycle of racism in America…
“… Ignorance, hatred, racism and other culture rot is a white plague that has engulfed the right-wing, conservative community.
“… America doesn’t have a “black culture” problem but rather a “conservative denial” problem whereby conservatives support the insanely expensive and totally destructive policies and programs that have caused a cultural and social cancer to metastasize in black America for far too long. Show me a social or cultural problem, and I will show you how conservatism either created the problem or exacerbated it.
“To honestly celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, conservative whites in America would have to admit to the self-inflicted racist destructo-derby they are waging and begin to tell their Republican slave drivers to take a hike.”
Congratulations, Ted Nugent. You have deconstructed yourself using your own discourse. And we haven’t even gotten into the whole gun issue yet. Let’s just say that in his op-ed, Nugent — this champion of gun rights in America, this poster boy for the NRA — has the nerve to rail against the prevalence of gun violence in the black community. The absurdity of this is breathtaking.
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