Thank God the Parents Weren't Anal Cunt Fans
You thought Ricky Bobby naming his kids "Walker" and "Texas Ranger" in Talladega Nights was preposterous? The idea of Borat calling his son Hooeylewis seem too farfetched? Well, truth has proven itself stranger than fiction once again -- there is a real, honest-to-goodness baby named "Metallica" living in the world. A Swedish couple threw the baby-name books away and burdened their now 7-month-old daughter (funny, we always thought of Metallica as a boy's name) with the handle. Not a nickname, but a real, on-the-birth-certificate name. Authorities in Sweden, according to Swedish newspaper The Local, tried to save the kid from a life of ridicule. The Swedish Tax Board ruled that Metallica was not an "appropriate" name (which held up procedures like getting the child a passport), but the family fought it in court and won. The Tax Board appealed, but they recently dropped it, meaning li'l Metallica Tomaro keeps her moniker. For our next child, if it's a boy, Grand Funk Railroad ("Grand Funk Railroad, you get in this house right now!" has a great ring to it). If it's a girl, Starland Vocal Band.
Oprah's Street Cred Continues to Plummet
Mainstream rappers can sometimes be less than ideal spokespeople for the music.
Exhibit A, Snoop Dogg's reaction to the Don Imus controversy: "(Rappers are) talking about hos that's in the 'hood that ain't doing shit, that's trying to get a nigga for his money." Rappers have been up in arms about Oprah Winfrey's dismissal of most Hip Hop (many artists have complained that she never allows rappers on her show), but few have been as thorough and eloquent as Saul Williams, actor and brilliant spoken-word artist with a Hip Hop slant. After a decidedly critical Oprah show about Hip Hop's damaging role in culture (featuring good comments from Common and Russell Simmons), Williams wrote an open letter to the mega-rich talk show host. In it, Williams echoes the critiques of "gangsterism," but offers more than just finger-pointing. Williams writes, "We cannot address the root of what plagues Hip Hop without addressing the root of what plagues today's society and the world," comparing the no-vulnerability front of MCs to the cowboy image of George Bush. "There is nothing more negligent than attempting to address a problem one finds on a branch by censoring the leaves." Great stuff, though we somehow doubt this means Oprah will be picking 50 Cent's From Pieces to Weight for her coveted Book Club choice any time soon.
"Mr. Brownstone": Mass Murder Anthem?!
Is there another "negative cultural impact" connection within the tragedy at Virginia Tech? Despite the clear "mental problems galore" factor, reporters seemed desperate to connect violent video games and movies with the case. But did music play a role? One of the "plays" the disturbed gunman wrote was called Mr. Brownstone, also the name of a Guns N' Roses song. The play touches on the lyrics of the song, but in the story Mr. Brownstone is the name of the teacher the main characters are plotting to murder. Any GNR listener with a brain knows the track is a not-so-thinly-veiled song about heroin addiction. The shooter's other play was called Richard McBeef -- a tribute to Ray Kroc? Uh-oh, ban McDonald's! Like the older cases from the '80s, where Metal artists like Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne were blamed and taken to court for inspiring young fans to commit suicide, this is another instance of misguided interpretation. The cultural police need to consider this when they lambaste Rap music and violent movies and video games -- a young, confused mind can derive "meaning" (right or wrong) from anything.