Friday, October 10, 2014

Music Video Monday Special: Bastard

Okay, people, it's time to move on to the next entry on our "songs to creep out Tipper Gore by" playlist! Next up: Number five out of the "Filthy Fifteen," "Bastard" by Motley Crue!

First, let's listen to the song:

And now, since I suspect that Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil suffers from some sort of debilitating enunciation deficiency and I couldn't find any "Bastard" lyrics videos on YouTube (that were particularly accurate), here's an excerpt from the lyrics as they appear on the Shout at the Devil liner notes*:

Out go the lights
In goes my knife
Pull out his life
Consider that bastard dead
Get on your knees
Please beg me, please
You're the king of sleaze
Don't you try to rape me

Consider that bastard dead
Won't get screwed again
Whoa! Whoa!
Make it quick, blow off his head

Unsurprisingly, the PMRC didn't like the violence in this song. Yeesh, Washington Wives, you piss and moan about how raping people at gunpoint is bad, and then you turn around and piss and moan about how (apparently) killing rapists in self-defense is bad. Make up your goddamned minds.

I've got to admit, this one is a bit more personal to me than the other entries, and I'll tell you why.

When I was a teenager living at home, I was regularly subjected to the bizarre American coming-of-age ordeal known as "family game night." The object of this weekly tradition was to play board games with one's family and somehow still remain on good terms with them after all the vicious disputes over minor rules and accusations of cheating.

That whole "liking each other afterward" thing was particularly hard, because a certain immediate family member of mine was a horrible loser. If he lost,  he would whine and sulk and call the winner names (and sometimes kick them under the table) while spinning an elaborate web of logic-defying reasons why--in his eyes, anyway--you only won because some bullshit little technicality called "the established, commonly accepted rules of the damn game" held him back from victory and it wasn't fair! My parents instituted a "shake hands and say 'good game'" rule for non-winners after several consecutive family game nights ended in bitterness and recriminations, but it didn't help; he always managed to make his "good game" concession sound even more hostile than some countries' declarations of war.

Letting him win every time didn't work either, because he was an even worse winner. He would gloat and crow and rub his victory in the non-winners' faces. Giving him the "good game" handshake was hell.

You know what got me through these game nights? Those times when I was the winner.

Because when I won, I would watch my obnoxious family member squirming with rage over the injustice of it all, do a little happy dance, and sing the chorus of "Bastard." Only in my head, of course. My mom would've swatted me for calling someone a bastard, even if she sort of agreed with me at the time. But I knew I was singing it. It was my own personal little victory celebration, and the only thing that held me back from pinning my obnoxious family member on the floor and forcing him to eat the game board just to make him be quiet.

I suspect that's how most people view this song, and "violent" songs in general. Sure, there may be one crazy statistical outlier who listens to the song and is inspired to shoot his boss or something, but for 99.99 percent of people, listening to the song lets them unwind and actually makes them less likely to do violence. It's not an incitement to murder; it's a safety valve.

I'd also like to point out that my obnoxious family member eventually shaped up and grew into a fine young man who recently came home from his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. That wouldn't have happened if I'd snapped after a particularly awful family game night and throttled him. Fortunately I was able to keep my temper under control with a little help from Motley Crue...and now I find out that the PMRC basically wanted my parents to freak out and burn all my Motley Crue CDs. Way to support our troops, ladies. I'm sure Stephen Colbert would have some choice words for you.

*Yes, I still buy whole albums on CD sometimes. Get off my lawn.

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