AJR logo     

    
 AJR  Features :    * WEB ONLY    

From AJR,   December/January 2009  issue

Pat Boone, Pundit   

Online Exclusive » The white-bread ’50s singer is very, very upset that you don’t see the link between Mumbai and the gay rights movement.


By Rem Rieder
Rem Rieder (rrieder@ajr.umd.edu) is AJR's editor and senior vice president.      

Stop it, pundit Pat Boone! Haven't you done enough damage?

Pat Boone came to prominence in the 1950s, a dark, primitive time before Facebook, text messaging and Anne Hathaway. But there was one bright spot: the birth of rock 'n' roll, a joyous, vibrant sound that made you awfully glad to be alive.

There also was one problem: As soon as a black artist or group released a wonderful new record, a white artist or group would cover it, draining the life out of it in the process. You might say they turned the songs into vanilla pudding, but that would be unfair to vanilla pudding.

Pat Boone wasn't the only culprit on this score (McGuire Sisters, rest assured we haven't forgotten what you did to the Moonglows' "Sincerely"), but he was a prime offender.

He had the temerity to appropriate such classic as Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame," Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," the Flamingos' "I'll Be Home" and, perhaps most tragic, the El Dorados' "At My Front Door," arguably one of the 10 greatest pieces of music of all time.

Mercifully Boone never did regain his high-profile status he enjoyed in the '50s, although he did find time along the way to record some heavy metal covers(??!!??). But now he's back, illuminating us with political commentary. He is, you might say, upset by the gay rights movement, and he made his feelings crystal clear in a column on worldnetdaily.com.

Boone's so upset, in fact, that he likens foes of California's Proposition Eight, which banned same-sex marriages, to the bombers of Mumbai. (A hat tip to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for flagging this little ditty.)

"Have you," Boone asks in a burst of italics, "not seen the awful similarity between what happened in Mumbai and what's happening right now in our cities?"

He hastens to add that he realizes that "the homosexual 'rights' demonstrations haven't reached the same level of violence, but I'm referring to the anger, the vehemence, the total disregard for law and order and the supposed rights of their fellow citizens. I'm referring to the intolerance, the hate seething in the words, faces and actions of those who didn't get their way in a democratic election, and who proclaim loudly that they will get their way, no matter what the electorate wants!

"Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And hate, unbridled, will eventually and inevitably boil into violence. How crazily ironic that the homosexual activists and sympathizers cry for 'tolerance' and 'equal rights' and understanding –while they spew vitriol and threats and hate at those who disagree with them on moral and societal grounds."

And he's distraught that so many of his fellow citizens don't see the clear connection between the terrorist acts in India and the gay rights enthusiasts.

"What troubles me so deeply, and should trouble all thinking Americans, is that there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists. Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And by its very nature, if it's not held in check, it will escalate into acts vile, violent and destructive."

Reading this overheated nonsense is almost – almost--enough to make me wish Boone would go back to singing.

I know this is the Internet era, in which everyone can be a citizen journalist or a blogger. After reading this, I'm thinking, maybe not everyone .

As for me, when I want political commentary, I'm sticking with the El Dorados.