Friday, January 25, 2013

Congress Not Adept at Goth-Spotting, or Anything

The goths should really treasure this 80s video by Robert Plant – yes, Robert Plant, not Robert Smith.  One of my favorite videos of all time, it’s “Little by Little.”  Plant did not yet seem a nostalgia act at the time, not while he was still doing things this cool. 

Of course, I know he wasn’t really goth – and neither were those kids who shot up Columbine, as those who were watching closely learned long afterwards, by which time there’d already been pointless congressional hearings on “goth” culture – just as today there may well be pointless new gun bans and discussions about violent videogames. 

I was wary of inept congressional hearings about pop culture way back when I was a child, afraid that if Congress kept complaining about war toys, they might take away my Star Wars action figures (and in a couple years, they’ll be messing with director J.J. Abrams if they do that, apparently). 

We got another lesson in what an idiotic, blunt instrument a congressional investigation is when a mid-90s report to Congress ranked the most-violent and least-violent shows on TV, with the strong implication that the most-violent were teaching bad values – a plausible hypothesis rendered absurd, to my mind, once I noticed that the list of ten most-acceptable shows included Star Trek: The Next Generation and the list of ten least-acceptable shows included Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

(Not that I’m denying they used the phasers more on the latter – which is why it was better – but I’d argue the basic ethos was the same regardless.) 

But if members of Congress are going to worry about videogames and the like for a few more weeks, perhaps complaining about German death metal or something, I wonder (as Kevin Walsh asks) whether they’ll even think to complain about the fact that the catchiest song of the decade so far is a happy-go-lucky account of gunning down one’s fellow students?  Foster the people indeed.  

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