Posts Tagged Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rules Man Has Right To Marry Vinyl Copy of Dokken’s “Tooth and Nail”

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When 49-year-old Charlie Ronce first heard Dokken’s seminal metal record “Tooth and Nail”, he knew loved it. Now, thanks to a 5-4 decision by the United States Supreme Court, he has the right to marry it.

As predicted by conservative pundits and politicians, the Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage has opened the floodgates to all sorts of marriages between men and inanimate objects. In Paraphiliacs United vs. Cleaver, the court ruled that Ronce and any other depraved weirdo can do whatever the hell they want, anytime they want, to anything to they want without facing any repercussions whatsoever.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the landmark decision, which has cleared the way for an orgy of godless, disgraceful acts that will bring a quick, painful end to the existence of the United States of America. “No love is more profound than the love of a man for whatever gets him off.  Now, go do whatever sick, disgusting stuff comes to mind without regard to decency or hygiene. It is so ordered,” wrote Kennedy in words that will forever embolden perverts everywhere.

Dokken

Ronce’s courtship of “Tooth and Nail” began when he purchased the album at a Sam Goody in Yonkers, New York in 1985. He casually dated the album at first, still having relations with other albums including Kix “Blow My Fuse” and Sleeze Beez “Screwed, Blued and Tattooed”. However, by the 1990s, he found himself connecting to “Tooth and Nail” on a spiritual level and wanted to demonstrate his deep, abiding commitment to it.

He proposed to his copy of the album on a trip to Hawaii in 1994 after Don Dokken himself autographed it in the Honolulu Airport.   Ronce then began his mission to have a court somewhere in America sanction his fetishistic love of the record. Today, his struggle for the right to do something that no sane person would really ever bother trying to do has been validated.

Antonin Scalia

Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a scathing dissent, but was unable to read it because police detained him after he leaped across the bench and lunged at Justice Kennedy’s throat with a penknife.   Scalia’s opinion contained nearly 50 references to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, talked at length about how much he hated the song “Just Got Lucky” and ended with the words “Drop The Bomb – Exterminate Them All!” scrawled in blood at the bottom of the page.  Scalia was released later in the day on his own recognizance.

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2014 In Review: Year of The Metal Subgenre

69_photoA near tsunami of new metal bands came to the forefront of the American music scene in 2014.  After Obama signed the controversial law in 2013 that outlawed country music, boy bands and songs by coke addicted former Mouseketeers, metal began to take off as the most popular form of musical expression in the land.

A wave of new bands brought in a flood of popular subgenres.  After all, how can you possibly catch the attention of an audience numbed into a near coma by a never-ending stream of cute kitten pictures on their computer without some sort of hook?

Years back, a number of metal bands figured out that by coming up with new subgenres you can effectively con the audience into the belief that they are experiencing something totally state-of-the-art.  This was a brilliant assessment, because truthfully, there are only so many ways you can cook an egg.  If you take the story out of metal, it’s mostly just a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people making loud noises for a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people who are apoplectically staring into The Nothing.

Honestly, how different is one three and a half minute thrash song from another?  Is technical death metal really all that unique in comparison to, say, regular old garden-variety death metal?  Thus, God created the subgenre and gave us a way to turn tiny, obscure distinctions into whole schools of thought and belief.  One man’s doom is another man’s sludge, as the old saying goes.  Or something.

When the next civilization digs through the rubble a thousand years from now and finds all the 2014 issues of Metal Maniacs it will be clear, this was The Year of The Metal Subgenre.  So, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the best new subgenres created in 2014 along with the band that best represents that style.

New Wave of Soviet Socialist Metal (NWOSSM or NWOCCCP)

When I think about 1980’s power metal, my mind often drifts to the Soviets.  Many people would argue that very little great creativity came out of Russia and its satellite states in the 80’s.  Clearly those people haven’t heard some of the early albums by Lenin’s Tomb or Khrushchev’s Shoe.  As young Russians look back on the glorious days of bureaucratic inefficiency that marked the end of the Soviet Empire, many of them have started playing the music that dominated that era.

Best Band:  Iron Curtain

Unblackened Yachtcore

This quirky fusion between the raw, earthy tones of Christian black metal and 1970 and 80’s soft rock caught fire in 2014.  Many music aficionados were looking for a way to reconcile their passion for the music of Michael McDonald and the songs of Darkthrone.  This cutting edge subgenre gave them the perfect combination.  Lyrically, it blends elegant prose from the New Testament with poignant stories about the dreams and inner longings of Yuppies.

Best Band:  Captain Trips and Tenille

Proto Originalist Doom

Who would have believed that doom metal could possibly be blended with the text of Supreme Court decisions written by Antonin Scalia in order to create a new style of music?  Dark, heavy, Sabbath inspired guitar riffs are used here to celebrate the spirit of unbridled judicial restraint and the idea that just about every thought that was formulated after 1787 is entirely worthless.

Best Band:  Woe vs. Wade

Post-Marxist Extremely Technical Progressive Rawlsian Eco Thrash (PMETPRET)

More of a social movement than a style of music, PMETPRET bands have attempted to use technical death metal as a tool of creating social justice and encouraging recycling.

Best Band: Fates Warming

Anatomical Glam Grindslam

Grindcore was a dying subgenre until it caught an infusion of hair metal earlier this year.  Something about the idea of putting together the catchy, party rock stylings of bands like Poison and Cinderella with the fierce brutality of early Carcass and The County Medical Examiners struck a chord with the American public.

Best Band:  Twisted Blister  

New York City Viking Hardcore (NYHVC)As most Americans know, a Viking gang crime wave hit New York City in early 2014.  Alienated young teens joined Viking gangs in droves and pillaged many of the stores and homes that were not guarded by people with assault rifles and high capacity magazines.  NYHVC has become a way of expressing their rage at our dysfunctional social order.

Best Band:  Freyahazard

Heideggerian Ontological Powerviolence (HOP) 

If you are like most Americans, you feel deeply offended that you grew up in a culture that has been thoroughly shaped by Cartesian Dualism.   You also probably wonder how you can best disclose being-in-the-world as a whole.  And you probably own at least the first four Spazz albums (the ones they did before they sold out).  It is not a coincidence that HOP music caught on overnight and became the top selling subgenre in metal in 2014.

Best Band:  Being-Toward-Death-Angel

Old School Hebraic Nu-Metal

The most surprising comeback in 2014 was the resurgence of Nu-Metal, only this time instead of “borrowing” style and imagery associated with African American culture these musicians began stealing traditional Jewish themes.

Best Band:  Limp Brizkit

Symphonic Free Market Hayekia’N’Roll

In an attempt to connect with younger, hipper Americans, The Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Koch Brothers, have spent over 30 billion dollars creating melodic death metal records in order to spread the message of free market intellectual titans like Milton Friedman and the guy who invented the chicken sandwich.

Best Band:  Children of Serfdom

 

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U.S. Supreme Court Bars Morbid Angel From Putting God-Awful “Radikult” Song On New Record

The Supreme Court today ruled 7 to 2 in a case forcing Morbid Angel to take that terrible Radikult song off of their soon-to-be-released Illud Divinum Insanus album.  The record, whose title translates to ‘This Is Probably Going To Alienate Our Fanbase”, is anticipated to be one of the most significant releases in metal this year.  The song has reportedly caused spontaneous vomiting and bleeding from the eardrums among its first listeners.  In a majority decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “What the hell were they thinking?  That’s gotta be the worst song I’ve ever heard.  We have reason to fear for the health and sanity of anyone who hears it.  I need to take a damned shower after hearing that thing.”

The case, People With Good Taste in Music Versus Morbid Angel (2011), is the first time the high court has ruled on a song that sucks.  The Court decided to create a precedent in this case because they believed that Radikult was so miserably bad that it was their solemn duty to intercede.  Roberts seemed to be appalled by everything about the song.  “It starts off with the silly 80’s techno sounding drumbeat and you think they are going to break into a cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s ‘Poison’.  Then, David Vincent starts saying ridiculous things that just don’t belong in a metal song or, really, anywhere else.  When Vincent says ‘We’ve been crossing the line since 1989,’ I looked over at Justice Thomas and just started laughing.  We could not believe it!” noted Roberts in the decision.

Several fellow Justices filed strong concurrences in support of the ruling.  Justice Antonin Scalia’s began his with the words, “Free speech be damned! It is the right of listeners to not have to ever hear anything that bad.  The First Amendment was clearly not written to protect people who write horrendous industrial metal or shady looking Floridians. “ Justice Samuel Alito chimed in writing, “Is this the same band that wrote Chapel of Ghouls?  I mean, this is Morbid Angel…MORBID FREAKIN’ ANGEL!  These guys were Gods!!!!!  There is no place for this sort of garbage in a free society.  If I had my way, we’d have banned that horrendous Destructos vs. The Earth song as well.”

In an equally vigorous dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg replied, “I have a good deal of respect for Morbid Angel for trying something new here.  Okay, yes, it is a complete train wreck, but I worry this sort of ruling will have a chilling effect on other bands trying to take a more experimental route with their music.”

The Court has ordered that Morbid Angel take all copies of the album containing the “Radikult” song and dump them in a landfill 12 miles north of Passaic, New Jersey “with all deliberate speed”.   They have also ordered the National Guard to Clearwater, Florida to make sure the band complies with their ruling.

Listen to Radikult here before listening to it becomes a felony…..Living Hardcore Radikult!!!!!!

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Resolving Standards of Decency


Words are powerful and elusive things.  We are given words as a method of conveying experience to other humans.  They are not perfect tools.  They give some insight to the human experience, but they often fail to capture the vivid, richness of emotion and feeling that encapsulates one’s humanity.  TS Eliot perfectly captures this idea in Sweeney Agonistes when his protagonist exclaims in frustration “I’ve got to use words when I talk to you!”  We tend to believe that we have shared definitions of words so that when we make a statement the listener can have some idea as to what we are experiencing.  However, there are words in our language that I believe have such a different definition from person to person that it is nearly impossible to discern what on earth they mean.

One word that would fall into this category would be the word cruelty.  I can honestly say that after years of trying to understand it, I still have no clue what this word means.  This is troubling because the word cruelty has a remarkable power in our culture.  It is a word that can define whether another human or animal is worthy of the ability to continue to live.  The word can save one creature from inhuman punishment while sentencing another to horrific torment.  But what does it really mean?

When trying to understand the moral dimensions of a word the law can be a good guide.  The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution includes this word when it says that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Supreme Court has interpreted the part about “cruel and unusual punishment” in countless ways.  For our purposes, we are not going to discuss the “unusual” part of the phrase because that simply means it is uncommon or rare.  If any cruel punishment happens often, it is no longer unusual.  If every murderer were punished by being covered in honey and attacked by bees it could still be outlawed by the court as being a cruel punishment even though it was happening all the time.  The key to understanding the Amendment is the word cruel.  The Court seems to be trying to distinguish cruelty from non-cruelty in its rulings in this matter.

The Court dispensed with several “cruel” punishments back in 1878 in Wilkerson vs. Utah when Justice Nathan Clifford wrote in his majority opinion that beheading, disemboweling, dissection, burning someone to death and other barbaric methods of torture were not acceptable.  It would be hard to find many people who would make the case that those things were not cruel.  However, Clifford’s holding was that being executed by firing squad for a crime was not cruel and unusual and, therefore, was Constitutionally permitted.  This holding is extremely confusing.  Being ripped apart by bullets is not cruel, but being beheaded is cruel.  It is quite possible to be shot and to not die immediately, but to linger in pain for hours before perishing.  What is the distinction?

In 1951, the Court has begun to move away from other types of punishments.  In the Trop vs. Dulles case, a non-death penalty case focusing on the government’s ability to take away a person’s citizenship for deserting while in the army, the ruled that taking someone’s citizenship away was, in fact, cruel and unusual punishment.  This is a monumentally significant ruling that called into question many punishments that were being used throughout the country.  Justice Earl Warren wrote in his majority opinion that the Eighth Amendment “must draw it’s meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

This phrase is particularly important because Warren seems to be making the point that as our society evolves it is becoming less cruel and the Court should reflect that.  These words have pushed the law away from certain punishments that were once accepted.  Death by firing squad, once a relatively common punishment, has been eliminated.  The Court ruled in Coker v. Georgia (1977) that the death penalty was not acceptable for rape.  The Court has stated that executing someone with an extremely low IQ is not permissible (Atkins v. Virginia 2002).  The Court has also mandated that those under the age of 18 cannot be murdered for committing a capital crime (Roper v. Simmons, 2005).  All of these punishments are considered cruel.

The fascinating part about Trop v. Dulles is that while it holds that taking away someone’s citizenship is cruel and unusual, executing someone is not.  This is inconsistency is nothing short of bizarre.  Justice Felix Frankfurter pointed out the absurdity of this idea in his dissent when he asked whether the words of the Constitution were “so empty of reason that it can be seriously urged that the loss of citizenship is a fate worse than death?”

Unfortunately, this absurd inconsistency does not only reside in the halls of the Supreme Court.  It is everywhere you look.  In the early days of the War on Terror, we were regularly subjected to surreal debates over why beating someone was cruel while water boarding someone was not.  Is it cruel only if the punishment leaves lasting physical scars?  Do our standards of cruelty change based on where someone was born?

The American news media brought horrific pictures of the tortures taking place at the Abu Ghraib Prison but has paid scant attention to the thousands of Iraqis (civilian and military) who have been killed during the war.  Being threatened by dogs and placed in stress positions is cruel but being killed by an advancing army trying to take control of a city is not?

During the trial of Michael Vick, many stunned Americans stood aghast that a man would injure and punish animals in such a cruel way.

Yet our culture is so committed to the idea of murdering animals for food that we have holidays based around consumption of animals.  According to a USDA study from 2000, the average American consumes nearly 200 pounds of meat per year.  Killing animals for food is so widely excepted in our culture that one is not astonished to see pictures or statues of smiling, dancing pigs on the wall of a barbeque restaurant.  Americans often seem completely blind to the pain and suffering inflicted on animals, until a football player decides to torment dogs for fun. Is it cruelty because the intent was solely to harm animals?  Had he eaten his dogs after killing them would it have not been cruel?

Watching news reports about the horrendous cruelty of dog fighting followed by a Wendy’s commercial for a hamburger that features enough bacon on it to clog the arteries of the Mississippi River is enough to confuse anyone who is paying attention. How could one person’s massacre become another person’s feast?

I don’t propose to know how to make the world any less cruel.  Human behavior has always mystified me and I certainly have no clue how to change it.  However, the poorly defined nature of the word cruel allows people to stand on a moral high ground that is not deserved.  We are a society that has laws against forms of cruelty while tacitly accepting other forms as normal behavior.

How can we distinguish what is and isn’t cruelty?  I believe that the first step is coming up with a definition for the word that is clear so we can honestly distinguish it.  Granted, definitions are never perfect, but when one is defined in a way that is so completely unclear it can warp the sensibilities of a culture to the point of absurdity.

A simple but effective definition of cruelty would be any act that causes harm or suffering to any living creature.  This removes the artificial boundaries that have been created and allow us to call things what they are.  When the word is defined this way we are not able to make abstract distinctions between who is worthy of cruelty and how much pain they should be allowed to endure.  It simply is what it is and we must then cope with it for what it is.

This definition no longer allows us to display cruelty while hiding from behind a moral facade.  If we choose to claim we don’t know any better we are not exonerated because in the eyes of the person or animal that is suffering that distinction is meaningless.  Cruelty need not be a willful act, it must only be something that causes suffering or harms another.  I am not naive enough to believe a revised definition of a word can end human cruelty, but there should be a price for the pain that we inflict or allow on other living things and that cost should be the truth of what we have participated in.

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