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Punk Rock, Diversity, and the Gonzo Conservatives
ConservativePunk.com ^ | April 6, 2004 | Dave Smalley

Posted on 05/16/2004 10:31:25 AM PDT by mattdono

In 2004, punk rock fans don't have to all be the same. Sheep are the same. Lemmings are the same. But punk rock fans should never demand sameness, be it from the left or the right. A healthy democracy depends on a free thinking, engaged citizenry -- and a healthy punk rock scene should be the FIRST to welcome ideological diversity.

I call punk rock conservatives gonzo conservatives. This is not your father's conservatism. Gonzo conservatives have done and seen things their fathers never could have imagined, and right alongside punks on the left. Gonzos are inked and scarred and concerned about problems in the world. They love the Bad Brains and the Sex Pistols, and grew up believing the very essential punk rock notion of "think for yourself." Some have been part of the punk rock scene for years, and helped it grow. Some are new to the scene and discovering that punk's ideals can lead to more than one way streets.

Many have been on the left at some point and become disillusioned with it, and started to believe that the other perspective just might have some good points.

Gonzo conservatives see some people who claim to be punk rock fans wanting to enforce a "one-mindset" mentality -- precisely the opposite of what we fought for all these years. Some punk fans don't see how anyone can claim to be conservative and punk simultaneously -- whereas gonzo conservatives don't see how anyone can demand conformity and still claim to be punk. Demanding conformity is the essence of fascism (or communism, which, depending on what political model one uses, can be seen as one and the same).

In 2004, there are a growing number of gonzo conservatives. They don't like being told they're supposed to think like everyone else. They are not sheep, to be herded by others who would dictate in our community. They are human beings, deserving of common decency and respect. Gonzo conservatives believe that punk rock is about being smart, and caring, and changing the world -- but only when and where it needs it. "Being punk" does not mean hating the world, or the president, just for the sake of it. If something is good, support it. There are more than enough problems in America and the world to work on without reflex demonization.

Punk rock means seeing the problems in the world and fighting (which sometimes means, well, fighting) to make it better. And if there is some disagreement about what is bad in the world, so be it: Gonzo conservatives see world government as wrong -- it makes slaves out of human beings. The problem with the Taliban, the former Soviet Union, the Saddam Hussein regime, et al, is that they tried to contain the human spirit. And the human spirit cannot be contained. Not forever, anyway.

It is for that reason there is opposition to those in our own country who seem to want us to give up our rights to a poorly run, monolithic United Nations bureaucracy. And there is support for those who want America to act in our own vital interests in the world -- together with others when we can, alone if the cause is just. Consensus where possible, but action where necessary. These are words for a nation to live by.

Gonzo conservatives see unnecessary taxes as another danger to the nation, to be opposed. Income taxes did not exist in the United States until Abraham Lincoln forced them onto an unhappy public to finance a war. Still they remain, sapping the economic lifeblood of working families and the very economic engine itself -- and some in America continually want to raise them.

Gonzo conservatives oppose tax hikes as oppressive and demeaning to the human spirit. They're surprised when they see some punk rock fans -- often the same punks who argue that the government is fucked, fascist, etc. -- supporting the party that favors giving more money to the government -- taken from the wages of millions of working Joes. Let's be truly a fair society, and let people keep as much as possible of the living that they work so hard to earn.

Gonzo conservatives see racial quotas as an Orwellian twisting of good intentions. Not hiring someone because of their color? Hiring someone because of theirs? It's racist, and illogical. Imagine if "affirmative action" extended to one's favorite band. The Beatles were four white men. Should they have had to hire "someone of color" to fill a quota? How about if the Bad Brains had to hire a white person on drums? If racial quotas seem like a poor idea for a band, it's an even worse reason for someone getting admitted to medical school. Let's be truly a colorblind society, and let all people's talents shine, regardless of the color of their skin. Where there is discrimination, we must fight it -- but we must not make the remedy one of discrimination itself.

Gonzo conservatives see the current state of public education in America as not just bad, but disastrous. Despite spending more per pupil than most other democracies, we come up short time and again in science, math and now computer programming competitions with other countries. The upper echelons of public education have been so co-opted and warped by politicized teacher's unions that millions of desperate parents of all colors and creeds are pulling their kids out, opting for private schools they can't afford, or home schooling. Statistically, very few politicians, including the ones of the "education party," send their kids to public schools. They must believe what so many are saying: too much dogma controlling the curriculum, too many schools filled with drugs and violence, with no discipline allowed, and a "teach to the bottom, never to the top" philosophy. Perhaps the most disturbing question: Why do the rich, mostly white politicians in the "education party" fight against school vouchers -- something that helps poor minority kids escape the chaos? Gonzo conservatives believe the true education party is the one fighting to make sure No Child is Left Behind. Real reforms, real results required.

Gonzo conservatives know that there are thousands of excellent teachers out there -- but there are others who use their jobs to advance a political agenda over real learning. And that's wrong, and it has the potential of killing this country for the long-term. Let's be truly an educated society, one which teaches all points of views, but real history -- not try to use our teachers as ideological bullets in a dogmatic gun. When Harriet Tubman is given more ink than George Washington in the history books, there is a serious distortion of learning. Both were brave and noble Americans doing the right thing -- but one was the first and most influential president of the United States, whose decisions and actions set standards and shaped the world from that time onward.

These are just a few of many issues where gonzo conservatives draw a line in the sand and fight for positive change. Gonzo conservatives are here to stay. Perhaps they have always been here and just feared to speak out. In the end, they are punk rockers who believe in the government staying as small as possible, keeping taxes low and acting when necessary to defend the country. They trust the people with their own money, and their own choices, within reason. They admire and respect the men who wrote the Constitution and Declaration of Independence -- documents that have served as the model for democracies the world over.

And as punk rock fans, when they see intolerance in the world, or oppressive economic practices, or people afraid to speak out, they fight. They just don't let others pick the battles anymore.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: antipc; conservatism; conservativepunk; conservatives; freedomofthought; music; punk; punkmusic; punkrock; rock; rockandroll; rockmusic; youthvote
This is an interesting group of folks. Posting it for review, reference, and comment.
1 posted on 05/16/2004 10:31:26 AM PDT by mattdono
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To: mattdono
Gonzo conservatives have done and seen things their fathers never could have imagined,...

Such as storming the beaches at Normandy?

2 posted on 05/16/2004 10:34:48 AM PDT by The Duke
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To: mattdono
Not a punk fan(more into Southern and classic Rock), but conservatism is a big tent. It's not just the suit crowds.

Good points.

3 posted on 05/16/2004 10:36:57 AM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("I bury those cockroaches")
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To: mattdono
Reagan appealed to the punk (and metal) crowds by not pushing "cultural conservativism". When the Buchanan crowd got it back on the agenda in 1992, it backfired.

-Eric

4 posted on 05/16/2004 10:39:52 AM PDT by E Rocc (It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child. - PJ O'Rourke)
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To: The Duke
Well no, but I give this crowd credit. They have been locked in a war with liberal nut-case teachers their whole life. It is a wonder that they could possibly know what being conservative even is.

I might add, there is a large portion of conservative punks who are in the military, fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and facing the war on terrorism square.

Its not the same as WWII, but it's just as heroic in my opinion.

5 posted on 05/16/2004 10:44:43 AM PDT by mattdono (Big Arnie: "Crush the democrats, drive them before you, and hear the lamentations of the scumbags.")
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To: mattdono

For one thing, the original punk rock was one of many passing genres that emerged in the late '70s as a backlash against the insincere, corporate formulaic music that was dominant at that time [Disco mostly, but also there were some cash-driven rock bands as well].

We also called it New Wave or New Muzik, whatever. I know, I was there listening to the Ramones, Iggy & the Stooges, Generation X, Television, Talking Heads, Devo, etc.

For the most part, the cultural side of this movement was apolitical -- really was more sure of what it was AGAINST than what it was for. That is, necessarily a transitional stage. Eventually one must step up to the plate and offer cogent analysis leading to solutions [see the website in my tagline].

The political evolution that is described was certainly the case for me personally. I saw even in those days that the Left were not the 'Progressives' they purported themselves to be.

Many of my contemporaries saw them as Medievalist reactionaries who harbor a fundamental disdain for the general population. They are elitists who believe that a cadre of Philosopher Kings should be more equal than others, running a benign tyranny for our own good.

I was deeply impressed by Ronald Reagan's rhetoric and, although he seemed to have little chance of winning [the media was extremely hostile], I voted for him in 1980 at age 21.

This was the beginning of the time when college students were tending to be to the right of their professors. The hippies -- a decade our senior -- were baffled at why we were not going to carry the torch, continuing America's 'progress' toward National Socialism.

A classic representation of their perspective of my generation was the TV show 'Family Ties.' There we had the conniving, greedy Alex Keaton and his airhead sister Mallory. Offering a hopeful 'alternative' [Leftist bromides] was the younger sister [played by Tina Youthers].

Perhaps the author is using the punk rock appelation today, because youngsters now are actually thinking much as we did 20 years ago -- even their music is sounding similar [much more positive and optomistic than the dreary 90s grunge drivel].

Further, today's youngsters are more patriotic than their 30-something elders.


6 posted on 05/16/2004 11:00:54 AM PDT by walford (http://utopia-unmasked.us)
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To: The Duke
Such as storming the beaches at Normandy?

That's not at all the kind of thing he's thinking. I've noticed many times that the young seem to think that their generation was the first to discover sex, drugs, rock & roll and a fear of dying young.

When I tell them about duck and cover drills, the original Woodstock (no, I wasn't there, but I remember the time), Kent State and how I came very close to being beat up in school because I supported Nixon, they usually say something like, "I've heard of that stuff, but my folks are so straight they never even knew it was happening!" - Which is obviously ridiculous.

Let them think they're special. I see no problem at all with a few "gonzo" conservatives, as long as they really are Conservatives.

7 posted on 05/16/2004 11:05:48 AM PDT by irv
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To: gonzo
ping to you, punk.

;^)

8 posted on 05/16/2004 11:06:39 AM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: walford
The hippies -- a decade our senior -- were baffled at why we were not going to carry the torch, continuing America's 'progress' toward National Socialism.

Their reaction to that bafflement was, and continues to be, rage. And they grow ever more baffled at people who, rather than being intimidated by that righteous rage, just turn away, like the author of this piece.

9 posted on 05/16/2004 11:12:18 AM PDT by irv
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To: Willie Green; gonzo

Is it true? Double ping to gonzo..


10 posted on 05/16/2004 11:18:09 AM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross (Every heart beats true for the red,white and blue)
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To: walford
Further, today's youngsters are more patriotic than their 30-something elders.

I saw a pole the other day organized by age bracket. It's true. 18-25. YES!

11 posted on 05/16/2004 11:28:47 AM PDT by Indie (We don't need no steenkin' experts!)
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To: walford

writ good. bravo.


12 posted on 05/16/2004 11:34:03 AM PDT by moodyskeptic (weekend warrior in the culture war)
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To: walford
We also called it New Wave or New Muzik, whatever. I know, I was there listening to the Ramones, Iggy & the Stooges, Generation X, Television, Talking Heads, Devo, etc.

These bands were for the most part nihilistic and or drug-addled (eg: Iggy - "Now I wanna be your dog.", "Fun - I'm gonna get stoned and run around") - hardly embodiments of conservative sensibilities. Television, however, especially Marquee Moon, was great art!

13 posted on 05/16/2004 11:35:22 AM PDT by Huber (Clinton's military policies caused the Abu Ghraib debacle)
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To: mattdono
Once upon a time I had a 'Harriet Tubman' t-shirt. Cost me .88 cents at VelVaSheen in Cincinnati. They were a t-shirt printing company and used to sell their misprints and over stocks for in their discount shop. Great deals.
14 posted on 05/16/2004 11:38:32 AM PDT by Khurkris (Ranger On...revenge, grudge, payback...call it what you will. The knives are comin' out.)
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To: Huber

"These bands were for the most part nihilistic and or drug-addled"

Well, as I said it was a transitional stage...some just never left it. Most of us moved forward, but there were times of despair, especially when Bubba was in office.


15 posted on 05/16/2004 11:42:54 AM PDT by walford (http://utopia-unmasked.us)
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To: E Rocc

And they have come back in full force this year.


16 posted on 05/16/2004 2:06:01 PM PDT by hchutch ("Go ahead. Leave early and beat the traffic. The Milwaukee Brewers dare you." - MLB.com 5/11/04)
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To: mattdono
Thanks for posting this. I was planning to last week when I did research for my rebuttal to this article:

George W Bush: Punk icon?

17 posted on 05/16/2004 6:00:33 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: bc2; qam1

Xer/Rock & Roll double PING!


18 posted on 05/16/2004 6:03:11 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: E Rocc
Reagan appealed to the punk (and metal) crowds by not pushing "cultural conservativism".

"Just Say No!" to drugs was a heavy message promoted by Nancy Reagan (along with Ronald).

AIDS activists think he didn't do enough to help the homosexual community (because of their hedonistic lifestyle choice).

Tipper Gore was the one leading the charge for music censorship, however.

19 posted on 05/16/2004 6:06:26 PM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: walford
really was more sure of what it was AGAINST than what it was for.

RAMONES
"I'm Against It"

Well I'm against it
I'm against it
Well I'm against it
I'm against it
I don't like politics
I don't like communists
I don't like games and fun
I don't like anyone
And I'm against...
I don't like Jesus freaks
I don't like circus geeks
I don't like summer and spring
I don't like anything
I don't like sex and drugs
I don't like waterbugs
I don't care about poverty
All I care about is me
And I'm against...
I don't like playing ping pong
I don't like the Viet Cong
I don't like Burger King
I don't like anything
And I'm against...
Well I'm against it
I'm against it


[ www.azlyrics.com ]


20 posted on 05/16/2004 6:22:02 PM PDT by StriperSniper (Welcome home Thomas Hamill !!!)
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To: mattdono

welcome aboard, punks! nice to see you finally slipped off the plantation.

nice to have you in the 'hood.

but let's get one thing straight: if I had a daughter, you'd still get the "shotgun" talk :)


21 posted on 05/16/2004 6:47:27 PM PDT by King Prout (the difference between "trained intellect" and "indoctrinated intellectual" is an Abyssal gulf)
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To: mattdono
Gonzo conservatives have done and seen things their fathers never could have imagined

Yeah right...dream on shorty.

22 posted on 05/16/2004 6:49:34 PM PDT by wardaddy (This is it. We either win and prevail or we lose and get tossed into that dustbin W mentioned!)
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To: mattdono

I listen to Andrew Wilcow who first advertized this. It's a good website.


23 posted on 05/16/2004 6:51:00 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: weegee; labowski; LibertyGrrrl; marktuoni; itsamelman; Sam's Army; RepoGirl; Redcoat LI; mylife; ...

rock 'n roll ping!

let me know if you want to be added or removed from the list

24 posted on 05/16/2004 8:03:50 PM PDT by bc2 ("Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown" - harpseal)
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To: bc2
That guitar you've posted reminds me of a bass that I've been lusting after. Someday...
TakamineB10


Takamine B10  
List
$3,499.00
Our Price
$2,399.99
Spruce top acoustic bass, with Maple back and side, Striped Ebony fingerboard, DSP electronics, cutaway, Fretless, telescoping foot peg [can be worn or stood upright], 34inch Red Stain.

25 posted on 05/16/2004 8:29:23 PM PDT by walford (http://utopia-unmasked.us)
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To: mattdono
Johnny Ramone Republican here!

Some of my fave bans from this genre: Ramones, Pistols, Dead Kennedys (although Jello is a pr-ck), Clash, Buzzcocks, Agnostic Front, Black Flag (pre-Jealous Again), Circle Jerks, Dictators.

26 posted on 05/16/2004 8:48:59 PM PDT by Clemenza (Strolling along country roads with my baby...)
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To: wardaddy

My dad is on the D-L about what he did before he married mom, but I'm sure it put my shenanigans to shame.


27 posted on 05/16/2004 8:50:06 PM PDT by Clemenza (Strolling along country roads with my baby...)
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To: StriperSniper

Groucho Marx sang it first (sort of).


28 posted on 05/16/2004 8:51:06 PM PDT by RightWingAtheist
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To: RightWingAtheist; lainie; cyborg; SevenofNine; ItsonlikeDonkeyKong; Cheapskate; alaska-sgt; ...
I know the bit, but need to see it again. :)

Got to get up early, so I'm turning in.

"Nite ALL!

IDK - that pairing struck me as stranger

How about her all time favorite guest, Pat Buchanan?!?! That is truly a care of the far left and right coming around and meeting! But together, they make a lot of sense.

29 posted on 05/16/2004 9:02:17 PM PDT by StriperSniper (Welcome home Thomas Hamill !!!)
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To: StriperSniper

yep almost as odd as Ezola Foster :)


30 posted on 05/16/2004 9:02:58 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: StriperSniper
I used to love the Samuels-Buchanan match-ups.

I was just waiting for Pat to get down on bended knee and propose marriage!

Too bad 'Steve' from Manhattan has been banned by all the other hosts on WABC. I always got a kick out of his calls to Lynn's show.

31 posted on 05/16/2004 9:07:50 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid ("All English men are ugly. I just look at Prince Charles and weep.")
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To: weegee; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ..
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details.  

32 posted on 05/16/2004 10:23:14 PM PDT by qam1 (Tommy Thompson is a Fat-tubby, Fascist)
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To: mattdono
This is an interesting group of folks

I think "mixed-up" or "confused" would be a mre accurate adjective than "interesting".

33 posted on 05/16/2004 10:29:44 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: weegee

I liked Classic Rock and was never into the punk scene so I don't really know, I am actually surprised there are still some around I thought the punk movement changed into Goths.

Are there any Gen-X punks left or are Punk's Gen-Y??




34 posted on 05/16/2004 10:31:56 PM PDT by qam1 (Tommy Thompson is a Fat-tubby, Fascist)
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To: Willie Green; Diva Betsy Ross; weegee; labowski; LibertyGrrrl; marktuoni; itsamelman; Sam's Army; ..
"...I call punk rock conservatives gonzo conservatives..."

Who is this guy, 'Dave Smalley', and where can I find him?

I need to explain to him, possibly with an axe handle, what 'gonzo' really means.

It has nothing to do with 'punk'! I hate 'punk'!

'gonzo' is a different state-of-mind. It's living on the edge. "The Edge - there's no honest way to describe it, because the only people that really know where it is are the ones that have gone over." - Hunter S. Thompson

Imagine yourself sitting on a four-legged chair and leaning back on two legs until you almost fall backwards, but you recover, and go foreward. I lived like that for most of my life.

Now, I get my news from FR and the Weather Channel! Y'all stay well. I'll be workin' on the boat.......................FRegards

35 posted on 05/17/2004 1:54:23 AM PDT by gonzo (I support a womans' right to choose!......."So, what are they? Silicone or Saline?")
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To: qam1

Some people say that modern rockabilly support is the punk rock retirement home.


36 posted on 05/17/2004 2:02:44 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: gonzo
Hey pal pal! How are ya? I am well since our last phone call. The business is on hold right now, but I will relaunch it at some point in the near future.

Got myself a very nice .NET developer position with an extremely prestigious company, and I'll be the first to tell you: Programmer/Analyst salaries are heading back up nicely. This is the best per-annum salary I've gotten to-date.

Of course, what can I expect, as a lowly help-desk person working at Dell?*.

On other fronts -- staying clean and sober, working out (down 30 lbs!), and at peace with myself and the world. What more can I ask for? ;^)

* Gratuitous 'slam' at the Antifreepers who cannot seem to get anything right.....ever! :o) I love just dropping little one-liners in my screeds like the one I cited, and having them nearly orgasm over it. Har! :o)

37 posted on 05/17/2004 3:14:05 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown ..................................(I miss ya harpseal))
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To: tallhappy
I think "mixed-up" or "confused" would be a mre accurate adjective than "interesting".

Nah. Just contrarian.

38 posted on 05/17/2004 3:15:51 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown ..................................(I miss ya harpseal))
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To: E Rocc
Reagan appealed to the punk (and metal) crowds by not pushing "cultural conservativism".

Which Reagan was that? Charlie Reagan?

39 posted on 05/17/2004 3:16:44 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: gonzo
What about that fat, Mexican defense lawyer for Thompson?

That guy struck me as being slightly crazier than Thompson himself, at least that was my initial impression.

How the hell did that dude become his personal attorney in the first place?

40 posted on 05/17/2004 4:57:09 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (I'll stop bellyaching when Stephen King stops writing crappy screenplays!)
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To: cyborg
What do you expect from Pat Buchanan's runningmate? Descartes?
41 posted on 05/17/2004 4:58:38 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (I'll stop bellyaching when Stephen King stops writing crappy screenplays!)
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To: weegee
"Just Say No!" to drugs was a heavy message promoted by Nancy Reagan (along with Ronald).
Mostly Nancy's, and it was aimed primarily at kids. There wasn't a whole lot of law enforcement involved. In one of Reagan's radio speeches before he was elected, he suggested he wouldn't have a problem with legalizing pot for adults.
AIDS activists think he didn't do enough to help the homosexual community (because of their hedonistic lifestyle choice).
He didn't push new laws against them or even encourage enforcement of the old ones. He simply refused to make a special effort for them. More libertarian than culturally conservative actually.
Tipper Gore was the one leading the charge for music censorship, however.
Partly because Reagan's FCC was dominated by libertarians uninterested in regulating content. Indeed, this is likely the strongest evidence that he was no cultural conservative. If the moral majorettes had been allowed to pick one agency to dominate it would have been the FCC, yet Reagan appointed their opposites.

-Eric

42 posted on 05/17/2004 6:28:03 AM PDT by E Rocc (It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child. - PJ O'Rourke)
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong
"...What about that fat, Mexican defense lawyer for Thompson?

That guy struck me as being slightly crazier than Thompson himself, at least that was my initial impression.

How the hell did that dude become his personal attorney in the first place?

You're viewing the stupid movie: "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", with Depp&Company - a very bad take on the insane man.

If you can find it, rent "Where The Buffalo Roam" with Bill Murray. Much better! circa 1980.............FRegards

43 posted on 05/17/2004 11:49:19 PM PDT by gonzo (I support a womans' right to choose!......."So, what are they? Silicone or Saline?")
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To: Huber

Johnny Rotten is closer to the GOP than he is to the liberals. "Bodies" is an anti-abortion song.


44 posted on 05/17/2004 11:52:57 PM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: mattdono

bump


45 posted on 05/18/2004 12:01:43 AM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: gonzo
I actually thought that movie wasn't too bad; at least the part where Depp screws with that midget bellhop. I got a kick out of that scene.

My brother told me about the one with Bill Murray, but I've never actually seen it anywhere. Maybe I can find it somewhere on Amazon, or elsewhere on the Internet.

good times, I-O-L-D.K

46 posted on 05/18/2004 5:21:16 AM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Is it just me, or is Ralph Nader even more annoying than Jamie Farr?)
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