Editor's note: The following column was submitted by a member of the rock group Rush in response to Jim Hankins' July 19 coverage in the Daily Texan of a seminar entitled "No One Here Gets Out Alive." The seminar was sponsered by the Longhorn Christian Fellowship and centered on the theme that many popular rock music songs are trying to turn American youth against Christianity toward Satanism or other religions. The group contended that either blatantly or through subliminal means, musicians convey Satanic messages in their songs.
I am writing in response to an article which was written by your reporter Jim Hankins in your issue of July 19, "Group seeks to show rock 'n roll Satanic." It was awhile ago, but the article was sent to me through several intermediary steps. Besides, it's never too late to discuss a matter like this, and as I happen to be a member of one of the groups mentioned, perhaps I can interject a little rationality and truth into such a hysterical exercise in propaganda.
Satanism. Now here is a word that should be kept away from some people the way you should keep matches from children and guns from jealous husbands!
There is a certain trait evident in human nature which some people seem to possess in greater degrees. It derives from a state of insecurity and low self-esteem and shows itself in the actions of those who wish to make themselves look good by making others look bad. You see it everywhere once you start to look for it. People who can't gain respect for their own merits feel obliged to try and tear down those who do. We see it in the failures who try to prove their aloofness by criticizing the actions of those who actually do something, or in cases like this one where the weak and pusillanimous prove their righteousness by trying to punish the "less-righteous."
A big advantage to such an attitude is that it keeps them so involved in other peoples' lives that they need not examine their own.
So these are the grim-faced hypocrites who are stirring around in the dark places of life hoping to find something - anything - dirtier than their own reflection. And if they can't find anything - no problem - they'll just make something up!
And here they are accusing rock musicians of being sincere and dedicated Satanists attempting to poison the souls of America's youth with subliminal messages of devil-worship. You know that's almost a very good joke! Almost.
As one who knows many of these "demonic figures" personally, especially some of those mentioned in the article, the idea of some of these sold-out, burnt-out, cynical, strutting peacocks being so deeply and religiously committed to anything (save their "image" and chart numbers) is also a bit of a joke. And a pretty lame one at that!
These nameless mercenaries don't even demonstrate that kind of commitment in their music: why on earth would they be bothered to go to all that trouble to put anything else into it? All they need (and care) to do is find a kind of lowest common denominator of commercial "acceptability." Yes, you Christian crypto-fascists, it is a joke! The only problem is - you're not laughing.
I'm not laughing anymore, either. I've started to receive too many questions and letters from confused and impressionable young people wanting to know if it's true that we worship the devil. Who is it that is corrupting the minds of young Americans?
Let us not for one minute forget that this is the same self-righteous mentality that has put itself to work persecuting witches, Christians, Jews, Quakers, Indians, Catholics, Negroes, Communists, hippies and capitalists down through the ages. There's always somebody to kick you when you're down. It seems like every group has taken its turn at one end of the stick or the other. From the bitter oppressed to the righteous oppressor is a very short step.
Speaking for myself, as lyricist and drummer for "Rush", and one of those accused of this heinous crime, I must object, Your Honors. Far from being a closet Satanist, I confess crudely, I don't even believe in the old bastard! I wonder if that's better or worse in your eyes, Grand Inquisitor?
I can certainly assure you that my lyrics contain no "demonic" secret messages or cleverly concealed mystical commercials. Nothing like that, I'm afraid. It is not only absurd and pathetic, but it is also totally incompatible with my philosophy, my work and my beliefs.
I get all kinds of letters from people like this whose perceptions are narrowed and distorted by pre-set values and ideas, telling me the most fantastic things that they have somehow "discovered" in my words! As is ever true - they find what they want to find. Fair enough. I know what I put in there. It isn't that, and it isn't this either. Period.
I don't wish to offend anyone's genuine beliefs, as it is a fundamental tenet in my philosophy that people should believe what they choose to believe. It must be stated, though, that when you've "got" religion, like Siddhartha, you find it everywhere you look. And when you've got evil, you'll find it everywhere you look, too.
Ah! It's the old "recorded backwards" trick again, is it Watson? Ha! I'm sure you could play "The Star Spangled Banner" backwards and find a secret message there too. Wouldn't Francis Scott Key be surprised at your cleverness! How do you suppose he knew what it said in 1812?
Don't you think something as vague as this is rather like a Rorschach ink-blot, or cloud shapes? Interpretation is based on the perceiver's state of mind - not on any objective reality. An ink-blot is a cloud is a song - frontwards or backwards. One finds what one wishes to find.
Yes, there's something subliminal at work here all right. The subliminal and poisonous sickness that dwells in the minds of these fearful and pompous so-called Christians. And they even call themselves a "Fellowship." Think about that for a minute. Then think about what this paper and others have accomplished by giving innocent ink and paper over to this kind of drivel. You readers don't know that I would never even use the kind of grammar that these people have attributed to me, let alone the insipid and valueless supposed message. Listen to this: "Oh Satan, you, you are the one who is shining. Walls of Satan, walls of sacrifice; I know it's you are the one I love." That's disgusting. I mean really. You just know these people have to be sick. If you don't believe me, ask my Mom!