Thursday, May 18, 2017

Study in Contrasts

Strange, terrible news awaited us all as we awoke this morning to find that Soundgarden's Chris Cornell had passed. Later in the morning, it was disclosed that Cornell had hanged himself in his hotel room after a performance in Detroit.

I never have much of anything to offer when things like this happen. I have had several friends and relatives, nearly a dozen in all, kill themselves over the years, and so I have seen far too many times up close the frustration and despair left in the wake of such tragedies. The families look for someone or something to blame.

It is very difficult for people to admit, at least to themselves, that sometimes there isn't any clear reason or answer for why someone does this. We need to believe in answers and reasons for everything, and they aren't always knowable or apparent. Sometimes people have an inner pain or torment that they carry with them always, never confiding it. They have their reasons for making an ultimate decision to set down that burden, and frequently they don't share those reasons. It is a mistake to judge them.

Of the four main bands from the Seattle "grunge scene" (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains --  and yes, I am well aware of Mudhoney and Tad and Screaming Trees and the like, but those first four were by far the most successful) it is at least interesting to observe that only Pearl Jam made it this far without tragedy befalling them. I don't know what to make of that. It probably is simply a tragic coincidence, although it is certainly tempting to note the constant bad weather of the region, as well as the lyrical desolation of most songs of the genre. But that's a parlor game at best.

Of those four bands and their iconic front men, Cornell was the most charismatic and conventionally "rock star" in appearance and the way he carried himself, and he was by far the best pure singer out of those bands, and probably in many listeners' top ten or even top five all-time singers. He was really that good, and by all accounts, a very sweet and generous human being. Go back and listen to the hits, as well as the deep cuts. It's what he would want.

By way of bizarre counterpoint, Fixed Noise troglodyte Roger Ailes died within a few hours of Cornell's tragic demise. Apparently Ailes' death was the result of a fall he had taken, unfortunately not into a wood chipper.

Remember Hunter Thompson's classic, scathing obituary for Richard Nixon? HST would have had a field day with a stinking turd like Ailes. Nixon, for all his faults, actually had a decent side and tried to do some decent things in office -- started the EPA, tried to work on the health-care system, was by all accounts a devoted family man, etc.

Perhaps Roger Ailes loved his family, after a fashion; if so, it would be the only positive thing one could conjure up about the man. Other than that purely speculative observation, the world is literally worse off for Ailes' having inhabited it for a time. A master propagandist who seems to have inherited Goebbels' soul, Ailes used his television skills from the old Mike Douglas show (where Nixon found him) and his political skills from working for Tricky Dick, and refined Fixed Noise into the agitprop shop we all know and loathe today.

It is no exaggeration to say that the channel has poisoned the minds of significant chunks of paranoid retirees, while somehow grooming a new generation of gullible youngtards. It will take some doing to weed these termites out of the national framework, if indeed it is possible at all.

But more than merely a dark PR lord, Ailes distinguished his full measure as a serial sexual harasser and blackmailer. The allegations are well-known by now, and Ailes of course was able to he-said-she-said most of them away. But the one that stuck should be the one that proves them all:  Gretchen Carlson had the foresight to take her phone into one of her predatory one-on-ones with Ailes, and turned on the voice recorder app. Once confronted with irrefutable proof of Ailes' aggressive solicitations, Fox gave him a $40m golden parachute and $20m more to Carlson to keep quiet. Sixty million dollars total to keep this thing tamped down. Yeah, no fire to go with that smoke, right?

Dozens of women came forward on Ailes, many (as with Bill Cosby) from beyond the statute of limitations. But as with Cosby, there was a startling consistency with the accusations. Cosby's thing was to drug 'em and rape 'em while they were knocked out. Ailes' kink was to flat-out coerce women into sucking his dick in exchange for whatever work-related perk they were seeking, and then blackmail more blowjobs out of them with his secret taping of the initial act. Classy with a capital K, our Roger. If his widow and son have even a modicum of honor and/or dignity, they'll donate at least part of the scumbag's ill-gotten pelf to something that helps women. If not, well, shame on them.

And it is not a small detail that HRH Emperor Princess Snowflake Fuckface von Clownstick defended his friend right up to the very end. Because that's the kind of man he is. Birds of a feather and all. It's a goddamned shame that heaven and hell are merely wishes for celestial karma we shout into the void from the prime material plane, because there are people who do deserve eternal torment. If you factor in the wars and brutal policies enacted because of Ailes' agitprop, you can be sure that his body count is far higher than every serial killer combined. He should be cremated in a rendering plant, and have his ashes flushed down a portajohn at a Charlie Daniels Band concert.

1 comment:

bs said...

Once again, you channel my thoughts regarding suicide, Chris Cornell's brilliance, and offer a scathing, well deserved piss on Ailes' grave. I understand the need to take breaks, but you (and the Onion) really help relieve the depression. Keep on keepin on, please.