How easy is it to become tainted?

Okay, so Kid Rock had previously been tossed off my “good guy” list for attempting to teach Russell Simmons that seeing “Fahrenheit 911″ is disrespectful to our troops, or some such shit.

But he may have inadvertently made his way back onto my “good guy” list with his amazing ability to taint people merely with his words.

He was supposed to play at the inauguration but the Christian fundamentalists had a fit and he was dis-invited (or, as the White House is now claiming, not invited at all).

But the best part of all of this is listening to the fundamentalists get their knickers in a twist about this.

I quote:

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After reading some of Kid Rock’s lyrics, Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, was outraged the rapper would be a part of the president’s festivities.

“I just read Kid Rock’s sexually explicit lyrics and feel ashamed and dirty for even looking at his songs,” he told WND. “If this sex-crazed animal, whose favorite word is the F-word, is allowed to sing at Bush’s inauguration this will send a clear message to pro-family Americans that the Republican Party has taken them for a ride and ditched them in the gutter.”

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Isn’t that wild? Reading something provokes feelings of shame and dirtiness. Not participating, not even listening to and appreciating, but just looking at his lyrics is that provocative. And, egad, Kid Rock kind of sucks.

Imagine if he’d been left alone with Al Green or, dare I suggest, Led Zeppelin lyrics?

Obviously, I don’t agree with Ole Randy’s belief that merely looking at crappy lyrics can taint someone or that having to listen to Kid Rock sing… hmm… I wonder what he’d sing at the inauguration anyway? “Cowboy?” “American Bad Ass?”… but anyway, having to listen to Kid Rock sing is some indication that the Republican party hates fundamentalists.

I do wonder how Bob Ritchie reconciles the populist lyrics of “Bawitdaba” (“the grits when there ain’t enough eggs to cook” is my favorite line) with his Republican-ness. Does he now think his “homies in the county in cell block six” deserve to be there? Is this a part of his conversion to country music icon? It makes me think.

Okay, but back to my point, one favor fundamentalists do for us is to remind us of the power of words. I think those of us who can and do read regularly (more than just the Bible) sometimes forget the magic inherent in the wiggles of ink on page or, in the case of these words in front of you, the dance of light across a screen. We come to see words just as tools, little wheelbarrows we fill up with meaning and push around from one place to another. Just the things that carry ideas from one person to another.

Yes, there are nerdy folks who pour through the OED because we believe in that words carry around not only the meanings they now have, but traces of the things they meant before. But even I, lover of looking things up in the OED, don’t really believe that when I tell you that I’m happy, that such a declaration automatically resonates with good fortune, chance, blessedness, luck, as well as feeling positive about my current circumstances.

But fundamentalists remind us that words are more than tiny meaning carriers, or that, if they are tiny meaning carriers, that it’s a more powerful job than we normally acknowledge. Of course words can change you, of course they can.

Even stupid old Kid Rock can string together some words that make Randy Thomasson feel dirty. It makes me laugh, but I’m glad to be reminded of it–not the feeling in Randy’s loins, but that words do evoke feelings, stretch your mind, and carry you along with them.

You put something out there, like Kid Rock did, and years after you were done with it, someone else picks it up and the words work their way on him.

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