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.