Rock On!

That's Rock, Virginia.

I know it might be kind of a square thing to do, but I’m gonna lay some knowledge on ya! But don’t freak out man, it’s copacetic! Cuz I’m schooling you on Rock ‘n’ Roll! Specifically, we’ll be checking out why it was that Old Man Herbie was so down on the Rock. Yes, he was down on it, not down with it! So hang loose, crank some tunes (preferably rock), cuz it’s going to be a gas!

Before we get started, why not click on the vid for some reading music (and try not to drum along on your desktop, Devil-worshiper)…

It turns out that not only is it a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s a long way to the bottom of the whole topic; I mean, Rock is heavy, man! There is youth culture, the sexual revolution, the Hippies, politics, drugs, rebellion against the establishment…but I’ll take you through the main complaints.

One of the biggest problems the church has with Rock is the anapestic beat, which is sometimes (and not exclusively) featured in Rock music. The considerable popular mania over the anapestic beat is the result of one “study” ostensibly done by a Dr. Diamond back in the 70s. Supposedly, this rhythm causes all sorts of heart issues (as it is the opposite of a normal heartbeat–oh noes!) and brain problems. He says that the evil beat is responsible for an up to 2/3 decrease in muscle strength! Not only that, but it doesn’t even matter whether the music is loud or soft, it is still a problem. He also claims that it causes the hemispheres of the brain to “switch”, and this is why people do worse on tests, and mice do worse in learning mazes when listening to rock as opposed to listening to Bach (it would be interesting to do a study on the comparative reproductive success of rocker mice versus geek mice). I’m not quite sure how your hemispheres are supposed to switch (magic?), but I guess that after a certain time listening to the evil rock beat, right-handed people become lefties; and artistic people become very logical…or something. Sadly, there isn’t any evidence showing that the experiment was ever replicated by any other doctor, or that it was ever published in a peer-reviewed journal. So, we have no reason to accept his assertions, except upon the faith we have in the man’s integrity and credentials, which shouldn’t be much (in case you didn’t click on the link, he exhibits all the hallmarks of a quack).

For what it’s worth, though, he also noticed a startling decrease in strength for those who wore synthetic fiber clothes. Wow. If only Michael Phelps and Lance Armstrong knew this stuff! Imagine how many more races each could win wearing cotton/linen when all their opponents are weakening themselves with fancy sounding plastic fibers! And what are all those weight-lifters thinking? How many gyms have rock music going? And people chanting We Will Rock You at basketball games?? They’re trying to jinx the other side! Clearly this is why people are so much weaker today than they were 100 years ago!

Right. Someone needs to inform the good doctor that correlation is not causation.

And how many people have you heard of dropping dead of heart attacks or brain aneurisms or whatever? I’m talking young people. Listening to The Who on their iPod. “Yes, another tragic, senseless anapestic beat death,” is the all-too-common refrain. But the rockers aren’t entirely to blame. No, in this modern, evil world, even our four-year-olds are subjected to this sickening beat—every time we read them Cat in the Hat or Yertle the Turtle.

Ha ha! Ok, enough of this silliness. Let’s beat feet to another accusation from squaresville: backmasking. Actually, I guess it isn’t a complete fabrication—it really happened. The Beatles first used it in ’66 on Revolver. But it wasn’t to put in Satanic messages (which is the fabricated bit). After accusations of Satanic backmasking were numerous enough, some performers started putting some messages in just to poke fun at those who would look for them. But again, not for the purpose of sublimely converting unsuspecting youth to Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light. This whole issue was a lot of hype created by the hardcore religious. But it was made into a big enough deal that both Arkansas and California attempted to pass legislation restricting it and putting warning labels on records. While not shocking, it should be demoralizing to know that some legislators in our nation are so clueless as to give any credence to obvious pareidolia, not to mention taking claims about the Devil seriously. Pure idiots.

Alrighty then, enough of this jive talk. What did Armstrong have to say about Rock? Speaking on the occasion of the death of Lennon (Peace and Love be upon him), he opined, “I had never thought of it as music, but a loud raucous SQUAWK and SCREAM with a fast beat – just an irritating noise.” I would guess he probably didn’t know the difference between John Lennon and Judas Priest and was just generalizing. So, he thought it sounded terrible. Well, then, there you go! God’s End-Time Apostle says it is awful; so let it be published throughout the land that it is evil! This makes me think of the South Park episode, “You’re Getting Old”, where the adults think the kids’ music sounds like crap—they literally think the CD is nothing but people recording a bad day in the bathroom with some percussion accompaniment. Stinkin’ hilarious. But it illustrates the point perfectly.

Herbert goes on to say, “I must have been terribly misled, for I supposed that the singing of a Caruso or a Galli-Curci of my father’s time or a Pavarotti or Beverly Sills or an Arthur Rubinstein of our day produced music. I guess I’m terribly out-of-date.” No kidding, Herb. This is the lament of a man who grew up poor, hated it, and has done all in his power since to make sure he’s part of the upper-echelon of those who appreciate fine opera. And, of course, the lament of an old man who doesn’t like the new music. Personal opinion is fine, but when you’re the leader of a huge cult, your opinion seems to generally be accepted as law…especially when you encourage such acceptance.

Don’t worry, though; the WCG teachings against Rock ‘n’ Roll weren’t all just from Herbert’s personal dislike. It was also from the dislike of all the other members of the “older generation”. It was from all the other preachers and ministers out there (both in the WCG and “The World”, especially Fundamentalism in general) decrying the new music as the Devil’s Music.

The Nov. 65 and Sep. 80 PT’s both have prominent articles on music, and both say rock is evil because it talks too much about sex. The music is immoral because of the lyrics, and because of the “jungle beat”. About that beat…while Diamond was saying it would weaken you, most others were concerned it would excite you. As in excite you…sexually. And we can’t have that, can we? Now, honestly, when was the last time you were listening to some beat so mad sick it gave you an orgasm? Yeah, me neither. Methinks they doth protest too much: rock concerts aren’t the orgies these feverish prudes imagine them to be. Fundamentalist tools like Armstrong must be really jealous of the sexually liberated among us to come up with such incredible fantasies.

When you read the history of Rock’s origins, you can see a lot of latent racism in statements about “jungle beat”. Elvis is largely credited with making “the black folk’s music” acceptable to the white community, thus bridging the gap of segregation; and a large part of that music was a strong beat. Of course, this shouldn’t surprise us. How long have comics been saying “white people can’t dance” because we have no rhythm? Even male-lesbian Brit comic Eddie Izzard talks about it.

Immorality in lyrics is another story. Yeah, from a religious (especially a conservative religious) perspective, the lyrics can be quite irreverent (and that’s the whole point, really). But one might ask how much is that art imitating life? Life doesn’t always live up to abstract ideals of righteousness and morality. Ever read about King David? How about Lot? The angels of God saved Lot and his family from Sodom because he was the only righteous one left—and this was after he offered his virgin daughters to some mob of rapists who wanted to…”know”…these two good looking male(esque) angels. After being saved, his daughters then got him drunk (two nights in a row—and what, they ran for their lives with all the wine they could carry? Likely story) and had sex with him! And this was the “righteous” one God saved. So before they start pointing out the sins in their neighbor’s music, Bible-thumpers might want to consider some house cleaning.

Back to the Rock: talking about making out and fast cars wasn’t the whole show. There was also the protest song. The songs that declared a new generation with a new explanation. Songs that implored us to look what’s going down, both over there and all around us. Songs that pointed out the injustice of fortunate sons not having to go to war, but rather the poor and the unwanted. Songs that told everyone who the real war pigs are. Songs that begged us to just give peace a chance. It was this message that Armstrong hated as much as anything!

And in the end, it is this message of rebellion, this message of questioning the establishment and their answers, that most frightens the Fundamentalists who hate Rock. Rock is about the passion! It’s about sticking it to the Man. And the leaders of the CoGs are definitely the Man. They don’t like the idea of people stickin’ it to ’em. The preachers in the rest of the “worldly” churches are the same—everyone talks about how much influence music has! They talk about the power of music! They’re jealous they didn’t think of it first! It is a struggle for control of your mind and they’re rightly fearful of the liberating power of Rock. Even the USSR banned Rock ‘n’ Roll—yet Radio Free Europe broke through the Iron Curtain and, according to some did as much as anything else in bringing down the Evil Empire. Because Rock, as a state of mind (regardless of the message of particular songs) is all about freedom and self-determination and the overthrow of authority (illegitimate authority in particular).

So, turn it up! Don’t let the Man get you down—especially when he is nothing but a man (and a foolish prick at that). Think about how the Armstrongite doctrine involves controlling (or trying to control) nearly every aspect of your lives. Hmmm, now, why would a bunch of control freaks who claim divine authority preach against Rock ‘n’ Roll? Whatever the baseless, rationalized reason, there’s your sign.

Now, for those about to rock—we salute you! Because, unlike Herbert and his pathetic religion, Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die.


32 thoughts on “Rock On!

  1. There’s too much sex, violence and immorality in the Bible.

    In matters of taste, there’s no right and wrong.

    Although, there could be good, execellent and absolutely awful.

    Anything not worth doing is worth doing badly.

    Herbert Armstrong not only wanted to control all musical tastes (what ever happened to the idea that classical music was demonistic? Beethovan’s 5th: Let me come in, let me come in!), but he wanted to control everything in everyone’s life, to limit married people to only two sex positions, and, most of all, to get all our money. Three tithes on gross income were not enough — he wanted cheerfully given offerings as well. He was so generous, he would give the shirt of his members’ backs (to wrap the Stueben Crystal in).

    Herbert Armstrong was a control freak. Music was just one area of total domination of the life of the British Israelism Cult. It was on the order of Das Experiment, with the guards and prisoners, and he was the warden.

    Does that make him a monster?

  2. Does that make him a monster?

    What are the fruits? Power corrupts, and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely…so there’s your answer.

    • I would agree with you, Eric, but I’m not certain we have enough instances of Absolute Power to bring to bear statistical significance. Still, it seems reasonable enough….

      Monsters. Hint. Hint. (Maybe for some time in the future — you just can’t be too explicit around here!)

      • Not enough instances of Absolute Power?
        – His opinion on music was law.
        – His opinion on make up (that only whores wore it b/c that’s the way it was in the 1800s and thus it is evil) was law.
        – His opinion that sideburns should not be below the ear was law.
        – His opinion on proper attire was law.
        – His opinion on dating practices was law.
        – His misinformed teaching on DNR (which he later changed to suit his needs/desires)–that damnable preachment that destroyed countless families–was law.
        – His teaching concerning the satanic origins of modern medicine (which led to far too many preventable deaths) was law.
        – His interpretation of scripture that said “you must tithe on your money” (even though allegedly disproved by numerous AC student research papers) was law.
        – Etc., etc., etc. If him standing up and saying, basically, that Rock is evil b/c I don’t happen to like it (with a few lame attempts to wrangle bible scriptures to support him) and God is behind me…if that isn’t an exercise in absolute power I don’t know what is!

  3. I always found it interesting the way PCG instituted what I will call the Rock Relativity Doctrine, which made it acceptable to listen and give ministerial endorsement to Rock music that is old enough to seem harmless to modern ears. My old friend, Ryan Malone, who wrote the article on the subject, cited as his reasoning the fact that cultural sensitivities change over time. Essentially, if it would be more socially awkward to consider a piece of music spiritually hazardous than to accept it as just a bit of harmless fun, then the church should add the song to its safe list. The one example he gave was “Rock Around the Clock” LOL.

    Of course, this begs the question: is it really cultural cues from “the world” the cult should be looking to for guidance in this area? Or should they just stick to the strict anti-Rock stance established by their holy father, Armstrong? Malone basically argued, in direct opposition to Armstrong, “We should accept music the world accepts because the world accepts it.” But, of course, he only meant music that the cult elites would approve of, personally. I doubt Beatles’ songs are being played at Armstrong College dances, despite their being listened to, now, by wizened grandparents. So, it’s a subjective rubric that Malone proposed, and nothing like the divinely mandated, “plain truth” these cultists pretend they are offering the world.

    My hunch is that the PCG elites began to feel the strain of having all their ideas and potential activities reigned in by their declared loyalty to a dead man’s whims. So they began subtly to loosen those reigns. You always heard talk of a “Philadelphia Standard”–but never any detailed description of the specific demands of that standard. In this way, they were able to maintain a subjective “standard” that allowed the ministry and similar elites to decide, on the fly, what the “Philadelphia Standard” demanded in any particular circumstance (which led, inevitably, to a lot of confusing “counseling” discrepancies). This Rock Relativity Doctrine was just a subset of that convenient looseness in policy.

  4. HWA was The Apostle. So whatever he said was Highly Inspired. So who were we to question it? God was using Him. When you realize he was not The Apostle, a lot of things just don’t have any real basis anymore. Such as many of his views on rock music.

    HWA: “Your God is the One you obey”. He knew we were really just obeying Him. It was a dirty trick. As dirty as they get.

    • “When you realize he was not The Apostle, a lot of things just don’t have any real basis anymore. Such as many of his views on rock music.”

      Well, right–except that many of those views that have no real basis (Creationism, for example) are also the views of Christian Fundamentalists of all varieties. This is because Armstrongism is just a little twig on a much bigger evolutionary tree that prominently features the cross-pollination of Adventism (basically, for our purposes, proto-Armstrongism) with Fundamentalism (what Armstrongism would become if it went mainstream without liberalizing). Once you understand the reality of this historical fecundity of ideologies, you realize that one does not have to be an Armstrongist to share in the Armstrong Delusion.

      We’re not talking about a cult of personality here, my friend. I don’t share the opinion of those who think Armstrongism is merely British-Israelism. I’m a lot more expansive in my definition, and I think the facts warrant that. We’re talking about a comprehensive world-view rationalized from a variety of syllogistic waypoints that turn out to be false premises when they are critically examined. I don’t know about you, but I internalized this world-view, and I can say with certainty that I wasn’t a mere British-Israelist having done so. In fact, British-Israelism was a diminishingly small part of the overall picture–but it was one of those false premises that ends up being very important to the superstructure. Like the keystone in an arch, it is less grand and sweeping than the structure it supports. But there are many such arches in the superstructure, and we are not content to demolish just one, for they all played a role in diminishing our quality of life, deceiving us about reality and withering our potential to take up a meaningful role in society and thereby accomplish good things.

      • Casey, right on. British Israelism is an almost invisible key to pull out of the arch which supports Armstrongism. I suspect that if that goes, the whole superstructure will fall, but, Armstrongism has to do with the personal power lording it over a group of guards and prisoners with him as the Prison Warden. The whole venue becomes a microcosm of control.

        Musical tastes are just one of many other opinions raised to the level of doctrine.

        One of the hidden reasons the WCG hated rock music so much during the 1960s and 1970s is that they saw it as a catalyst to bridge the gap to encourage racial intermarriage. In fact, some of the rockers themselves said that about rock music. Given the delusion that God and tthe Bible absolutely forbade any sort of racial intermarriage, rock had to go.

        As you trace the history of the final throes of the WCG, you may suspect that as the WCG was forced to give up its absolute position against interracial marriage, there was a simultaneous suspension of the onslaught of bile against rock music, as the music began to filter in to partially supplant the addiction to the Blue Grass music favored by GTA.

        Remove another key to Armstrongism — that of musical opinion raised to doctrine — and more crumbling occurs.

        What we are talking about though is that we systematically remove any objective logical support for belief in Armstrongism. In practical effect though, it does nothing. People are still delusional and they will stay with their mental poison to the death. That is not to say we do nothing, because there is impact on a few around the edges and we give them a push.

        As we give them yet another push, a few more will be influenced. The grand revelation that British Israelism is a fraud is just another truth that Armstrongists will ignore — except a very few, but it at least removes the excuse for any objective support for continuing with it.

        Another arena is church history — the totally fabricated church history of lies and delusions. This is another opportunity to undermine the Armstrongists, though — and I heard Larry Greider of the CoGWA personally recently relate that he was descended from the Waldensians and he lied to say, “it isn’t clear to what extent they (the Waldensians) kept the Sabbath”. It’s just another key which supports the arch of support.

        And on and on it goes… piece by piece by piece.

        I appreciate your unique efforts — rather unlike any other website or blog — and I hope you will keep up the good work.

      • @Mikey: talking about church history, apparently, my favorite apostle-prophet-law-giver-pastor-teacher-add_any_other_title_here has decided that the scholarly Herman Hoeh got it wrong when he wrote about church history. And so, now Flurry will re-write a true account of church history. Talk about upholding HWA’s teachings. Didn’t HWA sanction Hoeh’s work on history? Maybe GRF will decide that since Hoeh got his PhD for this work, then a better and more accurate work will earn GRF his PhD too. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Dr. Apostle Prophet Gerald R Flurry!

  5. Rock music, Satan the devil, money, sex, PCG and Herbert Armstrong.

    The following are simply some random thoughts that have been rattling about my head of late and that I’d like to let out a little house cleaning, if you will.

    A few thoughts as to HWA and his imitators.

    *Considering the corruption and foolishness that characterize soulless energumens, it was easy to tell if Herbert was lying. If his lips moved, he was lying.

    *By exercising both subtlety and thoroughness in managing both the news and the entertainment that got presented to us, Herbert and company did managed to replace our natural soul with an artificial one.

    *Those still with membership cards in his crime syndicate will be given whatever they want while the rest of us will be sent away empty-handed. Its just that way. You pay and they get all the benefits.

    *It was HWA’s and his flunkies who dismantled the family unit. Some Elijah. Returning the hearts of the children to their fathers. Bullshit I say!

    *The various COG’s jaundiced communiqués can be quite educational. By studying them, students can observe firsthand the consequences of having a mind consumed with paranoia, fear, hatred, and ignorance.

    *Herbert should have erect a shrine to alcoholism. He spoke what he drank. Some champion of liberty and individual sober expression. Let us present Herb and Gerald Flurry a automatic membership in Satan’s inner circle. Fees due in December boys!

    God bless America! Its the only country you can run a open scam and get away with it!

    • LOL, I think I agree with everything except your last sentence. Thanks to ridiculous libel laws in Europe, charlatans and liars of all types flock to their shores for protection from due exposure. There are several individuals and organizations fighting this injustice, so here’s hoping it gets fixed soon.

    • Herbert Armstrong, an alcoholic, bipolar, immoral, abusive, delusional, lying, sociopathic nutcase — just a more compact way of saying what you said, James.

      The truth be told, I like your version better.

      Oh, and I’m also not so sure about the last sentence either, because I still get spam from countries in Africa, so….

  6. See?! They were right! It was very important to this man to see some of these rock legends as out-of-the-closet atheists! It’s part of the plan to turn everyone from God! haha!

    Nice vid…thx!

  7. @ Douglas:

    “And on and on it goes… piece by piece by piece.

    I appreciate your unique efforts — rather unlike any other website or blog — and I hope you will keep up the good work.”

    Indeed, piece by piece. Thank you for understanding our vision, Douglas.

    And yes, church history is another big, keystone topic we intend to tackle, especially regarding the question of apostolic succession. But we’re going to trace it all the way back to the origins of Yahweh among Canaanite hill people. They are such bullshitters, all of them, to proclaim themselves arbiters of divine truth, when all their “truth” has evolved up from the mud, its roots embedded deeply in the pagan Fertile Crescent cultures from which it diverged in the natural, predictable way: through henotheistic competition evolving into monotheistic polemic, as a means of consolidating more and more political power with the elites of society.

    It was a mere human innovation, a new religio-political technology, to say, “Not only is the god we’ve picked (among many local deities) to be our national god better than everyone else’s, but our god is in fact the one true god, and all the others are imaginary.” And, from what I am beginning to ascertain, it appears that the Israelites were not the first to have invented the precursor to monotheism in the Ancient Near East, but were rather in a sort of ideological arms race (playing catch-up, in fact) with the Assyrians, who asserted the exclusive dominion of their national deity, Ashur, over all other gods, in the 8th century. So, it appears that the stirrings of henotheism among Israelite Yahweh worshipers was wholly reactionary–rather than revelatory. Anyway, I’ll save it for the article–but there’s a foretaste of things to come.

    • Thanks for the heads up. As for your charge of apathy, you’ve got us all wrong. We care. We care a lot. I hope that being forced to view a couple of PG pictures doesn’t scar you for life or stain your whiter-than-snow, puritanical, sanctimonious soul. I hope you refrain from watching most films, and that you never drive on the freeway or send your children to public school. (And for the sake of all that is pious and good, get off the Internet!) In fact, I hope you will find yourself a nice, secluded cave in the wilderness somewhere, where you can hole up and protect yourself from the vulgarity of the world, since it is so full of it. Just climb under that rock and you can clutch your pearls to your shriveled, little heart’s content. Sure, you’ll be alone–but that’s the price one must pay for being so pure. What’s that? You don’t want to be alone? How will you be able to proclaim your righteousness if no one is around? Ah, yes. There’s the rub. I suppose that’s why you decided to advertise your tightly puckered asshole even though you thought we didn’t care. Have I pretty much got you figured out? In any case, we wish you the best in your endeavor to be the purest of the pure and to tell everybody about it.

  8. Actually, Guest, we do care. And that’s why we chose those pics.

    Didn’t you dig anything we were saying? ROCK is about rebellion! It is about defying convention and Stickin’ it to the Man (the cultural revolution of the 1960s ring any bells?), esp. when that “man” is religious conservatives and their notions of sin and propriety.

    Those vulgar images are a means, not an end. Sometimes people have to be shocked out of complacency in order to get them to think in any terms other than comfortable slogans…then we can start the conversation about what is sin and propriety and come to a (hopefully) logical agreement, instead of those things being imposed upon us by a self-serving establishment.

  9. Well, as we know, Chuck is still clinging to the old Armstrongist security blanket. For him, it’s the insistence that “The World” is evil and he is good. It makes him feel special, a mote of purity in a fallen world. Of course, it’s a myth. He has his dirty fantasies and hateful thoughts like the rest of us pawns of Satan. But it’s fun to pretend, isn’t it, Chuck?

  10. Maybe he can go write for them instead. Underhanded passive-aggressiveness and disingenuous self-misrepresentation are their calling card–not to mention an abandonment of critical thinking when it comes to their favorite myths. Chuck should fit right in.

    • Awww, it’s a Jawa! How cute. Wait, it speaks Basic and…what? It’s an Evangelical Christian? WTF? Oh, it says it’s a hacker–yeah, no kidding, so…OMFG! It’s going to kick all atheists off the Web! Must be in some kind of special relationship with Jaba the Hutt or something to have that kind of pull. Maybe they’re lovers? Interspecies sex is kind of hot, but, I was thinking more along the lines of Slave Leia–not some shadowy Jawa. I mean, do they even have bewbs? Anyway, forget all that–what are we going to do about this Very Serious Threat?? Can atheists use the Force? “These are not the atheists we’re looking for…” something like that?

  11. That ass would nearly be enough to make me change teams! Geez, better go and stare at Jared Leto for a while *dribbles*

    Thanks for another great article (and the pics!)

  12. Thanks, Mara, for your very kind remarks–this blog is, by its nature, a very niche site and so doesn’t necessarily appeal to a very large audience…so nice that you found it and enjoy it!

  13. Was pointed to this post by Casey – very well done, for the most part. I’m also here to confess that my anti-rock paper “This ain’t rock and roll, this is Genocide” that I wrote as a freshman at AC in 1981 was fuel to yet another wave of fire on that topic.

    I correlated the music to mind-control with a bit more sophistication, citing work by William Sargant from “The Battle for the Brain” and the drug culture (maybe not-so curiously omitted from this article, which overstates the case for celebrating Rock just a tad) to drive the nail into the coffin. It was picked up by Joseph Tkach while he was head of ministerial services and, well, I guess he agreed with me.

    The story is told in my book “The People of the Sign” reviewed elsewhere on this site (shameless self-promotion, yes, I admit).

    Anyway, thanks for an enjoyable read here, and keep up the “good? work”!


    • Wow, the Dude himself who wrote the book! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      I enjoyed the review, though haven’t gotten the book yet, myself, but it sounds like you’ve had quite the journey.

      • Thanks Eric.

        Wasn’t sure if I should play my songs here, figuring that instead of a standing ovation people would throw rocks (multiple puns intended 🙂

        Hope you do check out the book, I’m amazed at the diversity of the people who actually claim to like it.

        Hard at work on the sequel, titled “The Hardness of the Heart” – due for pre-release on Valentine’s day.

        I know, I know…

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