I was reading Marcus Aurelius Armitage’s recently published essay, Offer Them a Deal with the Devil They Don’t Know: How Volunteerism on Death Row Could End Animal Testing, when the red phone rang. It was my good friend Monty Gelstein, calling from a medical-marijuana dispensary in Rhode Island.
“When’s the last time you wrote something about Ted Nugent?” he asked.
“I don’t think I’ve ever written anything about that asshole,” I told him, before asking, merely as a conversational reflex, “Why?”
“Why? Did you just ask me why?” he demanded, rhetorically.
“Listen, man,” I suggested, “maybe you ought to call me back after you’ve had your prescription filled.”
“Fine. I’ll do just that,” Monty spat. “I’m sending you a link to a radio interview the scumbag did recently. Listen to him brag about slaughtering hundreds of hogs — from a helicopter, with a goddamned machine gun — and then tell me you haven’t had enough of his self-righteous bullshit.”
Monty’s e-mail showed up in my inbox. I followed the link he provided and listened to an interview Nugent did back in March with the host and namesake of the Brett Winterble Show.
Toward the end of the 10-minute interview, Nugent told the ass-kissing Winterble: “I want you to know why I’m such an American dream guy. … This weekend — the reason I’m so buoyant, the reason … the people who hate Ted Nugent hate me even more today than they did yesterday — is because I took my fully automatic M4 … in a helicopter in the Texas Hill Country and … I killed 455 hogs … and I did it for Bill Maher and all those other animal-rights freaks out there.”
Continuing to bait those of us who believe the world would be a better place without him, Nugent told Winterble that by slaughtering 455 hogs, he and his equally sadistic hunting buddy Brian “Pig Man” Quaca “saved the environment from the destruction of these out-of-control pigs.”
No sooner had I finished listening to Nugent’s narcissistic drivel than Monty called back. If anyone had taken Nugent’s bait, it was my sensitive if unbalanced friend, Monty Gelstein.
“What I want to know,” Monty shouted, riffing on Nugent’s verbal masturbation, “is who the fuck is going to save the environment and the creatures who call this country home from the destruction of this out-of-control drooling class?”
“Dude,” I started, slowly, hoping Monty had taken the medicine he’d just been prescribed, “Nugent didn’t go on that aerial killing spree for Bill Maher or for those of us he calls ‘freaks.’ And he certainly didn’t gun down 455 hogs for altruistic reasons. He killed them because he enjoys visiting death on other species.”
“I’ve read the things he’s said — that he’s keeping things in ‘balance,’” Monty scoffed. “He’s a fucking terrorist with a messiah complex, just like Hitler was.”
“You’re right about all that,” I told him, calmly. “He’s championing the arrogant belief that man is entitled to hold dominion over other species.”
“Yeah, no shit,” Monty said with frustration. “And because he’s a rock star, he’s got a platform from which to spread his bloodlust-full worldview.”
“Look man,” I said. “While it’s easy to get worked up by a provocateur like Nugent, it’s important to remember that he’s just another arrogant thug. Listen, the drooling class isn’t listening to him because he’s a rock star. They’re listening to him because they’re fucking brain dead. And if it makes you feel any better, Nugent is nothing more than an average-at-best rock-and-roll guitar player. I work with guys all the time who can play circles around that silly hack.”
“That doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a bloodthirsty psychopath with an audience,” Monty correctly pointed out.
“Of course not,” I concurred. “We live with monsters. Some are just louder than others. Underneath all that stupid camouflage and ugly hair is just another sadistic loser who likes to hear himself rationalize the joy he gets from inflicting pain and suffering on other species. And Nugent just happens to be barely articulate enough to make sycophantic douchebags like Winterble swoon. Don’t be repulsed by who he is. Be repulsed by what he is.”
“But how can you not want karma to put that motherfucker in his place?” Monty asked.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong,” I admitted enthusiastically. “Nothing would make me happier than to learn that the soulless prick had been torn limb from limb by any number of the creatures he regularly terrorizes. And that’s why I’m working on a bitch-slap-style musical obituary titled ‘Motor City Mauled Man,’ a word-party set to rock and roll.”
“Hot damn!” Monty said, sounding a little less tense and a little more stoned. “I’ll dance until my femurs snap when that mouth-breather’s rancid carcass is added to the balance.”