By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
That Crucified By the FCCthing reminded me of Lenny Bruce’s What I Was Arrested For. The record, which my high school boyfriend and I discovered one night while blazing on mushrooms, contained all the routines for which Bruce was busted 40-odd years ago, including such classics as “To Is a Preposition,” “Come Is a Verb” and “Dirty Toilet.”
It seems almost inconceivable today, but Bruce’s career was more or less derailed by a single word, cocksucker. (Okay, the heroin didn’t help.) Yet his visionary wordsmithery paved the way for Stern and all of Stern’s copycats.
I mean, Stern may get bitch-slapped or even lose his job, but he’s not going to be sentenced to four months in prison for “word crimes.” But Bruce intentionally forced the issues of language and indecency with a deeper agenda: He was a linguistic freedom fighter, defender of our language’s unloved stepchildren. Bruce spouted all the worst words — nigger, kike, dyke, etc. — until they lost their received meaning. Don’t fear the words, he said. Fear what’s behind them. That’s really what got him arrested. And that’s also why his recorded material is still so great. (Bruce was recently exonerated by the state of New York for his obscenity “crimes.” In fact, the governor proclaimed the pardon was an affirmation of personal freedom and the First Amendment.)
Unlike Lenny Bruce, though, Howard Stern is no revolutionary. His agenda is much more limited: self-promotion and titillation. In fact, Viacom couldn’t have hoped for a better way to make Stern still seem provocative than this whole silly mess.
Stern must sense that he has few options left for real relevancy — in any case, his new campaign against George W. Bush is probably the most “shocking” move he’s made in years. (“This regime has gotten absolutely bizarre, between Ashcroft, Cheney, Bush, Powell and his son . . . The fascist, right-wing a-holes are taking over the country.”) And it can’t be coincidental that Clear Channel — which has old Texas ties to the Bush family, organized pro-war rallies, and regularly licks FCC chairman Michael Powell’s ass — suddenly decided Stern was “indecent” when he began to turn against Bush.
You want to know what’s really indecent? Having to listen to the same 10 awful bands every day on Star 98 and KROQ. Talk about corrupting children.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city