Tuesday, January 11

Thank God Some Things Are Still Running On Schedule

I cannot be the only person in America who saw
this mook's mugshot and immediately thought of Arthur Bremer.

J. Freedom "The Only Reason To Use Some Crazy-Ass Moniker Your Hippie Parents Gave You Is Excessive Attention-Seeking" du Lac, "Jared Loughner's music choice, Drowning Pool's 'Bodies', strikes chilling chord". January 10

LIKE probably 72% of my fellow Baby Boomers in America I was, in my youth, forced to sit in a large lecture hall next to a guy in a sleeveless down jacket and listen to some schnook of an Associate Professor try to convince me that the Bandura Experiment meant something. Now, assuming by the Grace of God you weren't, here's the layout: you get Stanford to pay you a salary, plus lab coat, clipboard, and comely graduate assistants by the handful. You make a short film of a man taking a mallet to one of those bottom-weighted Bozo punching bags every Boomer was issued at birth. You show this film to a group of Boomer children between the ages of 3-6 who happen to be the progeny of Stanford University employees who have likely been tricked into signing a leasing agreement in exchange for daycare (it's 1961; perhaps the niceties weren't observed). After the movie you lead these test subjects, one by one, into an identical room containing an identical Bozo and an identical mallet. You then inform your employer that the wholly astonishing result--three-to-six-year-olds taking a handy mallet to an available thing designed for punching--proves something or other about Social Learning. *

Now, by the time I got there it was over a decade old, and showing its age; this is perhaps why the Prof could hardly summon a perfunctory enthusiasm for the thing, even at Indiana, where the Psych building still reeked of B.F. Skinner's hair oil. I don't know. It's possible his halfheartedness was dictated by academic fashion or niggling doubt, though at IU in the early 70s it still required a certain casualness bordering on the foolhardy towards One's Chance for Tenure to suggest Skinner was less than infallible; no doubt you could get away with a little of it in front of a room of uncomprehending undergrads. Judging from the grad students I was forced to serve as a hamster serves a wheel, the Sixties, even the end of College Draft Deferments, had not appreciably diminished the lure of Nazism. Or it could simply be because the thing was bullshit. I remember asking the TA at a discussion session why they hadn't had the adult in the movie do something which wasn't completely obvious, like hit the mallet with the dummy, or eat them both, and see how that worked. I think she urged me not to raise the issue on the midterm.

But the likely reason for any reticence was that several years earlier the study had been pounced upon by the Opponents of Television, and was being waved around as Scientific Proof that depictions of violence in the media led to actual violence. It's not particularly surprising to find the thing still going strong; it may be a tad depressing to find it still ambulatory all these years despite never having progressed beyond the Stupid Shit phase:
"You're never sure what caused an individual to commit a specific act," said Brad Bushman, a communications and psychology professor at Ohio State University. "But I've been doing research on violent media for 20 years, and the evidence is that it leads to aggressive behavior. It's not the only factor that leads to violence, but it's one of them."

So that took only 20 years? God bless the Computer Age. I'm really looking forward now to 2075, when you guys get to the bottom of that Judas Priest case.

Call me a dreamer, but, y'know, in twenty years of research at major US universities maybe we could have figured out a way to prevent total fucking nutjobs from walking into a Wal*Mart and walking out loaded for Democrat. Y'know, along with other contributory factors.
In addition to its ignominious past as Cooke's anthem of choice, "Bodies" was used as a tool of torture at Guantanamo Bay in 2003 when it was played repeatedly to "stress" detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi. The song has also been a battlefield anthem for U.S. troops and professional wrestlers and fighters.

And where was the US psychological community then? Oh, yeah, the APA was explicitly endorsing members aiding the torture effort. You know, professionally.

Incidentally, shut the fuck up:
In a statement posted online Monday evening, Drowning Pool said: "We were devastated to learn of the tragic events that occurred in Arizona and that our music has been misinterpreted, again.

The problem isn't that you're misinterpreted. The problem is that you're interpreted:
Dec 14, 2008
Message from Stevie

Recently, the Associated Press, has stated that Drowning Pool's music (among a slew of other songs) has been used "to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock."
I would like to set the record straight to say that upon our return from Baghdad (in 2006) and after visiting our injured soldiers at the Walter Reed Medical Hospital, I commented to Spin Magazine that I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our music could be used to quell another 9/11 attack as part of a longer comment. I sincerely regret if my statement was taken out of context as supporting any specific policy or agenda. My remarks were an emotional reaction to the band's personal experiences. The band's intention has been, and will always be, to support our young men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day. Our performances for soldiers abroad led to the honor of being able to speak before Senate and Congressional leaders in support of extended health care rights for our returning veterans. We cherish this distinction and continue to maintain a close relationship with our military personnel and their families.
We would like to wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season.

Stevie Benton
Drowning Pool

Dude. You're now the first metal band whose website has its own Corrections column. Call it another honor.


* In fairness, for some reason, the point seems to be that there was an increased correlation between seeing an adult pummel the thing and doing so your 3-year-old ownself; so fucking what?


DocAmazing said...

Corrections, as in Department of?

Sator Arepo said...

Wow; now I ain't as old as ol' Doghouse, but I remember when

"We would like to wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season."

wasn't considered particularly, you know, METAL.

Dude; your band's called Drowning Pool. Either give The Man the finger or get off the boat. You can't have it both ways, or you're just some douche-y corporate faux-metal bullshit. It's like punk rock at a garden party over here. What happened to rocknroll?

squatlo said...

I'm reading a book by J.Maarten Troost entitled "Lost on Planet China" in which he tries to fathom the Chinese past and predict her future. One of the things you have to dwell on in China's history is, of course, Mao's reign of terror.
When you wrote of the Stanford experiments I couldn't help but think of 'A Clockwork Orange' and the scene in which the terminally violent character is being trained to turn away from violence. Maybe we need to do what Mao did, start a Hundred Flowers Campaign (of sorts). He asked for dissenting voices to make suggestions, speak up, make themselves heard. When they did, he had them rounded up and executed. Problem solved. Perhaps we need to ask for a show of hands of those whose only source of daily news is Faux, and again for those who regularly listen to Rush and Savage and Liddy and Beck. With that list of proud disciples in hand, we could then at least know whom we needed to keep an eye on.
Just a thought...

As far as the rock'n'roll thing goes, youtube Todd Snider's "The Kingsmen"... says it all.

StringonaStick said...

"Lost on Planet China" is a fabulous book; I can't recommend it highly enough.