A few weeks ago while on stage in Singapore, Dave Mustaine, the lead singer of Megadeth, is reported to have said:
“Back in my country, my president … he’s trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all of these murders, like the ‘Fast And Furious’ thing down at the border … Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there … and now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.”
He continued, “I don’t know where I’m gonna live if America keeps going the way it’s going because it looks like it’s turning into Nazi America.”
Ry Cooder, who is promoting a new album called Election Special, gave an interview to the UK Guardian round about the same time as Mr. Mustaine was lecturing on political science in Singapore. Excerpts from that:
Look, what did Gore Vidal say recently? The interviewer asked him what he thought of the Republican party and he said it’s not a party any more, it’s a Hitler Youth mindset and they’re out to destroy the country, and he was 110% right.[…]
Romney is as bad as anyone can be. He’s a dangerous man. He’s a cruel man. He’s a perfect creation for what the Republican party is all about. And that is to say, a rapacious capitalist. Anyone who ran Bain Capital is not your friend. All they’re going to do is rape and pillage the land.[…]
But now you have new Jim Crow laws – the stand-your-ground law is already responsible for about 80 shooting deaths of African Americans. That’s bringing lynching back. That’s bringing Jim Crow back. Can you imagine? Could this be true? Well, it is true, if you see it that way. I do.[…] [Obama is] prevented from doing anything because the Republicans ensured that no president and no Democrat president can ever do good again. That’s what Bush was sent in there to do: destroy the presidency, and that’s what I think he did.
You have to wonder if there’s something in particular about being a celebrity that can foster the kind of disconnect from reality and willingness to embrace fever-swamp extremism and conspiracy theory that is on display here from both Dave Mustaine and Ry Cooder. (At least Cooder’s promoting a record; maybe he figures he ought to try and generate headlines.) Neither Mustaine nor Cooder are super-celebrities, but are sufficiently well known in their spheres that they must both have a lot of admiring hangers-on who applaud everything they say, and few if any nearby who will tell them they’re full of total crap. (That includes the clearly-delighted British fellow who was interviewing Cooder.)
I’m not a supporter of Barack Obama, and I take very seriously what is occurring under his presidency, but I don’t believe he’s staging mass murders in the U.S., or that he would even contemplate such a thing, nor that he’s turning the country into “Nazi America.” I have some notion of what Nazism actually was. It would be nice if someone like Ry Cooder, who does not support Mitt Romney and the Republicans, could recognize that they are nevertheless not related to Hitler and his youth, are not out to rape, pillage and destroy the country (but what an interesting plan for electoral success!), and are not bringing lynching back. The theory that “Bush was sent in there” to “destroy the presidency” is a totally new one on me, and I suppose it has to qualify as a fascinating exercise in trying to retroactively defend the current president’s inadequacies.
Dave Mustaine is also quoted as saying “[Y]ou see the signs in Kenya that say ‘the birthplace of Barack Obama.’ Hello?! C’mon, guys. How stupid are we right now?”
As Ry Cooder observed: “Could this be true? Well, it is true, if you see it that way. I do.”
Having political opinions is the right of both of these American musicians. It’s just a pity that they refrain from subjecting their own opinions to even five minutes worth of truly critical thinking before they broadcast them on stage and in the media. Perhaps Ry and Dave should have some kind of beer summit and negotiate a détente of dumbness.
If nothing else, it would be an entertaining conversation to witness.