Mr. Rogers Can Go to Hell

Steven Wells is still dishing it out. And he can still take it. Can you?

By Steven Wells
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Apr. 12, 2009

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Mr. Rogers gets the blame for a generation of Americans -- including, perhaps, certain Philly rock bands -- being too soft to take a little criticism.

When exactly did America become a nation of precious little snowflakes?

Once we were cowboys, forever punching people in the face and smashing whiskey bottles over their heads and then getting riotously drunk with them to show there was no hard feelings and then punching them in the face again. You’ve seen the movies.

Now we have new rules, two of which were on display in a recent posting on a local blog.

1. You must never say anything rude about people -- like me -- who’ve got cancer.

2. You must never say anything rude about young bands, because they’re easily bruised and should be allowed at least the next 20 years to develop their full artistic potential outside the withering rays of the critical spotlight.

What utter crap. Nazis get cancer. Republicans get cancer. Pedophiles get cancer. Opinionated old-fuck know-nothing bastard music journalists get cancer. I personally spent last 25 years dumping the vilest invective imaginable on the heads of bands I consider bad, boring or merely annoying. What right do I have to any immunity from those who slag back? Are the crimes of everybody with cancer immediately absolved the nanosecond the first cell decides to go mental? Do we automatically become saints? Which do you think is actually more demeaning: Engaging in a shit-slinging blog donnybrook with a C-head, or treating them as if they’re already dead?

And when the hell did it become against the rules to slag off crap bands just because they’ve only just started shaving? Jesus-Christ-electrocuted-in-a-Haliburton-built-shower-in-Baghdad, people, no wonder American music journalism sucks. We’ve raised a generation of mewling, puking brittle-boned pony hugging, mediocrity-loving music journalist milksops who don’t wanna rip both rock and the English language a new asshole. They just wanna be best friendy-wendys with the musicians and are thus blissfully oblivious to the fact that at least 95 percent of bands need to be critically stomped out of existence at the earliest opportunity (a stat that should be tattooed on the inside of every rock critics left eyelid).

I wasn’t being rude about a school play performed by special needs kids. I wasn’t filling a sack with newborn kittens and then whacking it with a hammer. I was being a bit rude about a rock band.

When did we become this precious? Do you think the thugs, proto-communists, punk pamphleteers and in-your-face polemicists who did all the dirty work in the American revolution would have abstained from burning down a tax-collector’s cottage just because the bloke had a bit of a gimpy tummy (perhaps stopping on the way to tell an itinerant street musician to fuck off out of it and not come back until he’d learned to fucking rock)?

In 2007 Fox News put the blame for an entire generation of super thin-skinned perma-victims squarely on the slender shoulders of Mr. Rogers.

This was based on comments made by Don Chance, a finance professor at Louisiana State University, who claimed that students who grew up watching Rogers were narcissistic ninnies who thought the world owed them a living (for being special) and thus screamed like a howler monkey with a Taser rammed up its jacksie every time they got a grade that lower than A.

According to every college prof I’ve ever met, our universities are chock-a-bloc with former high school A-students who exhibit a perplexing inability to read critically, write a coherent sentence or grasp an abstract concept. And it’s also true that conservatives—possessed as they are of the profound belief that America is the jim-dandiest country in the world ever and therefore couldn’t possibly be improved by adopting the practices of other countries—have the amusing tendency to blame society’s ills on individual cultural phenomena: comics, rock music, rap, Grand Theft Auto, the Teletubbies, Mr. Rogers and so forth.

Of course the real problem is what one of George W. Bush’s speechwriters called “the soft bigotry of low expectations." (Oh, how the bow-tied cove must have chuckled when he heard those words blurt from the prim little lips of the dumbest-ever president.) But the obvious solution to that problem is to make a serious and determined effort to turn public schools into hives of excellence from which would pour forth millions of tough-minded, thick-skinned, critically aware and profoundly literate Americans. Which would cost billions. Which we’d take from the military budget, obviously.

This is a national security issue. We have been told over and over that America’s multi-gazillion dollar armed forces are all that stands between us and a fundamentalist global caliphate. Yet for years we’ve seen the Army forced to scrape the very bottom of the educational barrel. Meaning that the defense of democracy has increasingly been left in the hands of the inadequately educated. Now imagine what the Army could do with legions of recruits who were actually, genuinely educated to university level. We could conquer the world! Bwahaha! Bwahahahaha!

Plus a properly educated American electorate would an informed, rational, thinking electorate, which would fuck the Republicans forever.

So that’s that sorted. You may now comment.

But please. Be gentle.

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1. the snowflake that killed them all in the face said... on Apr 13, 2009 at 01:38PM

“I don't know when Americans became snowflakes but I do miss the good old days when pansy bands and vomit filled Philebrity didn't exist in this here town...”

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