Monday, 21 September 2009

"Hetrosexuals [sic] Have the Right to Rock" (The Mentors)

The first time I saw footage of El Duce, the drummer of the "rape rock" band the Mentors, was in Nick Broomfield's documentary Kurt & Courtney, aired some time ago (on the Finnish Teema channel, I guess). I can't say I remember exactly how I felt about him, except for the shock that you are probably expected to experience, and a certain ambivalent vacillation between disbelief, horror, disgust and amusement (he really does not seem a very credible witness, as Broomfield tells him face to face – and by the way he laughs, El Duce seems to agree to Broomfield's reasonable judgement).

Only the United States of America could rear such a monstrous figure, I might have thought, and the Wikipedia article certainly has a point in arguing that Eldon Hoke (which is El Duce's original name) "in general played a wrestling-style villain for the audience." In the following we have an example of playing the role consistently to the end:

Utterly disgusting? Of course. But the questions of good and evil are usually not that simple. I wonder if the hooded monster could have resigned his role for a moment and shown sympathy for the other guest, instead of the atrocious comments or jokes(?!) he makes. Well – at least that would not be very consistent, would it?

Talking about good and evil, what about the situation in which the talk show host (or whoever) has staged the scene so that we have a middle-aged mother who tells she was raped as an adolescent on the one side, and this utterly antisocial hooded monster, the "rapist mentor" figure on the other? Are we on the side of the Good when we sympathize with the other guest – the mother guest – and with the booing audience, with Jerry Springer and the Television Company? I doubt. This staging is no better than any "Reality TV" show, the blood-thirsty tabloids, or any hypocritical piece of social porn. Why are they doing this? The "victim" is of course brave to have taken part in this, but what about the other woman on stage? Is she a "victim" too? What's in it for her – just a "career"?

I am almost beginning to feel sympathy for the not-so-credible-as-a-witness alcoholic with the vulgarly Latinic artist name "El Duce". After all, how could someone singing lines like "Bend up and smell my anal vapor / Your face will be my toilet paper" be purely and completely evil?

(Thanks to Pupu for reminding me of El Duce.)

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