The Devil Went Down to Jeepster

By shane
    "I take seven kids from Columbine,
    stand 'em all in line,
    add an AK-47, a revolver, a nine,
    a Mack 11 and it oughta solve a problem of mine
    and that's a whole school of bullies shot up all at one time."
    -Eminem, from the original lyrics of "I'm Back,"
    wisely edited by the folks at his record label before shipping.

Hrrm... So there's been another school shooting.
I got to watch "Dateline" on NBC, which is a program I abhor and try my best to avoid at all costs, but I found myself sucked in by the story of the Incredible Lactating Man (a story best saved for another forum, methinks.) And, lo and behold, I was subject to yet another sensationalized expose' on the shooting.

Let's first off state the obvious: Killing people is wrong. This is what I've usually considered to be a basic tenet of life, but I'll put it in writing for the folks who aren't necessarily moved by the whole "peace 'n' love" phenomenon. Any time you bring a gun to confront your problems, that's just pretty damn silly. Not only are you NOT going to solve anything, you're going to go down in history as a giant blemish on the asshole of society, which is really no way to score brownie points with, well, anybody.

So, yeah, killing people is wrong. That business out of the way, it still strikes me odd that virtually no-one seems to have sympathy for these kids who think that the only way out of a situation is through violence. I, for one, feel pretty damn bad about the whole situation. And yeah, I have a somewhat shocking amount of sympathy for the kid who pulled the trigger.

All that's being said about the kid involved in the recent shooting is that he was "picked on." Well, in a strange way, then, we're brethren. I was "picked on" in school, too. It really sounds innocent, doesn't it? Being "picked on." It sounds akin to "let's get Mikey, he eats anything," doesn't it? Truth is, at least in my neck of the woods, it was a wee bit worse.

My best friend in high school was a great guy and a great friend with great musical tastes. It also happened that he was gay. (Though he hadn't come to terms with it himself, it was fairly obvious to all who knew, and in many cases, didn't know him.) I'm not gay - but that didn't matter. I would never have sacrificed our friendship for anything. And that anything involved me being called "faggot," "queer," and a host of other unpleasantries by the folks who seemed to make the industrial arts wing of the school their home. Beyond that, I was also (a) vehemently opposed to any form of physical coordination, which routinely put me in the "last-picked" column at gym class, (b) in the drama club, and (c) both owned and operated a home computer, which, back in the mid-80's, meant instant outcast.

I spent my junior high and early high school years both verbally and physically threatened on almost a daily basis. I was pretty insecure, so I'd try pathetically to latch myself onto any passing clique that came my way. As a result, even the intellectual crowd, fellow outcasts themselves, had better things to do than associate with someone as desperate to belong as myself. My house was routinely "t.p.'ed" (is this a universal concept, or only a small town Midwest thing? I've always wondered...) My poor locker had all sorts of gook poured into the little slats at the top over the years, coating all my possessions in ketchup, chocolate syrup, or whatever else was handy. My car was routinely vandalized in the school parking lot. One time, my family's mailbox was blown up with a homemade pipe bomb (strangely, one of my most vivid memories was "stalking" our mailbox with my mom the subsequent weekend, sitting in our car, hidden across the street, waiting for potential vandals, all the while attempting to explain to my mom the inner nuances of the Duran Duran "Notorious" cassette.) In other words, I got my fair share of abuse in high school.

Eventually it got better. I made REAL friends - fellow music nerds. I started DJ'ing parties. I had a girlfriend or two. I gained respect. I made it out, and had a lot of fun in the process.

A good chunk of that I attribute to my upbringing. I have, and I'm quite confident to this fact, the greatest parents a human being could have ever asked for. As a willing victim to "only child syndrome," I was spoiled to the ends of my parent's abilities. I think my parents hired a babysitter for me once. Only once. They took me everywhere, they talked to me about everything, they taught me better than any faculty member I've ever encountered to this day. I had the ideal upbringing, and I can't thank them enough for everything they've done for me, and I only hope that I've turned out somewhat in line with their hopes and expectations for me. Did/do I give my folks shit? Yeah, sure. They were a "bit" over-protective, but with a surplus of screaming fights, it all worked out.

Another chunk of thanks came from my friends. We were a very tight-knit bunch in high school. Sort of a strange mix of music and theater nerds, uniting together in a unified attempt to... err... unite. We were each other's security blankets. Were we weirdos? Oh, you betcha. And we loved it. Among my closest friends?


  • A girl who decorated her locker commonly in Soviet paraphernalia (flags, pins, buttons and the ilk.)
  • A guy who routinely carried pepper spray in his socks and had the personal knowledge of how to craft a workable pyrotechnic device from a hollowed-out tennis ball and the heads of 1000 matches.
  • A fellow who went virtually overnight from wearing masking tape on his glasses to wearing safety pins in his ears.
  • A guy whose idea for a "killer joke" was to wear a P-ROM chip as a tie clip to prom (get it? P-ROM? PROM? Are you laughing so hard it hurts?)
  • And my aforementioned best friend, whose collection of Debbie Harry posters was rivalled only by his collection of Robert Sean Leonard posters.

We were truly mad, aye. Together we formed a DJ service which we called TADSOMA MUSIC, INC. We told everybody that TADSOMA was a character from Star Trek, but what it really stood for was Take A Deep Suck On My Ass. We showed up to DJ dances with leftover equipment from our school's engineering lab, piles of wires and oscilloscopes, that did absolutely nothing but look cool. We played hide-and-seek - but in cars, and with walkie-talkies. We routinely lit candles and consulted with Friend Ouija. Hell, we even routinely vandalized EACH OTHER'S cars, figuring that since other people did it to us so much, it must be fun.

Point is, I was lucky. I had cool parents and made cool friends.

Other kids aren't so lucky. Some kids come from pretty dysfunctional homes. Where there isn't support. Where there aren't friends. Where they don't develop coping skills. And if you take a kid who's a little bit screwed in the head from a crappy upbringing, put him in the same sort of scenario - where people aren't just "picking" on you, they're downright chasing you, berating you, mocking you, hurting you - well, in that case, it's not too hard for me to imagine someone going, "Alright, then, sorted. Point me to the nearest family member's artillery cabinet." Next thing you know, you've got a big mess on your hands.

Everybody's saying that this kid out in California has thus far "shown no remorse." He probably doesn't have any. He's probably been pushed by so many ignorant fuckheads at his school that he's beyond remorse. Hell, he might even feel victorious at this point.

Is that a messed-up view on things? Oh yeah, you bet it is. But it's probably right in this sad case. It's just mind-boggling that the world's become so screwed that kids think it's necessary to bring a gun to school and start picking people off... and that they somehow feel JUSTIFIED in doing so.

President Bush (shudder... man, that still sounds awful, doesn't it?) had this to say on the matter: It was a "disgraceful act of cowardice." Well, I won't argue with the man on that one. But one wonders how many disgraceful acts caused this kid to become a coward. Don't you get the feeling out of ol' G.W.'s unsympathetic statement that he probably was the one calling a few of his classmates "faggots" back in the day?

I read this and I know it comes across like I'm harboring some pretty serious complexes about my school years. I swear to you that I'm not - I look back at it all and laugh, and to be honest, I hadn't really looked back it too much until this string of tragedies made me stop and think. Don't you worry, people who know me, I've got no plans of hopping off the sanity bus anytime in the near future.

But anyways, I'm stepping off the soapbox for the time being. Because the thing that I REALLY wanted to bitch about in this column was "Dateline NBC."

So I'm watching "Dateline," right? And they're talking about the horrific shooting -- showing weeping kids, candlelight vigils, all the usual sensational bullshit. And then it happens - it isn't even five minutes into the show before they're laying the blame on the true cause of this kid's emotional and mental instability. You guessed it, they took a gander at his CD collection.

Next thing you know, a somber-faced Stone Phillips is reciting lyrics to songs by Linkin Park. Now, despite the fact that it couldn't have happened to a more wretched band (clap clap,) this is -- say it with me, folks -- total and complete bullshit.

Why, why, why is the media so intent on finding a demon lurking in the entertainment world to pin the blame on? (Well, because it causes parents groups to become outraged, which in turn causes more and more kids to post raving mad essays like this one, and then you've got a full-on scuttlebutt, which causes full-on ratings. There, I answered my own question.) But, man, is this getting ridiculous or what? If your kid is so screwed up that he takes the words of Eminem or Fred Durst or Marilyn Manson to be life lessons, then hey, pat yourself on the back, 'cause you've done one crappy job as a parent.

But nobody wants to say that outright - that would be in bad taste, or possibly even slander - so let's throw the blame on the obvious culprit, the Hell-spawned recording industry. Though I will forever blame Satan for Richard Marx, Bryan Adams, and Celine Dion, I'm thinking Beelzebub has little to do with this one. And do people really think that throwing a fit about "controversial" song lyrics will do anything other than boost an artist's sales figures? Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if there are musicians out there keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that somebody who goes postal will publicly blame their band - hell, they'd become superstars overnight.

Well, this got me thinking. And I've decided to come clean to you all. Let's just get this out in the open right now. I want to go on record.

Maybe there's a slight chance that I was lying to you all earlier. Maybe I really DO still carry the "horrors of high school" into my adult life. Perhaps I truly am insane, one of those notorious "loose cannons," and maybe I don't even know it yet. Could it be that behind this mild-mannered music nerd and DJ lies the cold and calculated heart of a madmen hell-bent on destruction? Maybe one day I'll wake up and just snap, and do incredible amouts of naughtiness to someone or something. Yes, odds are slim, but what if? As the somewhat anal retentive bastard that I can be, I figure I need to have a contingency plan for the chance that this day should come to pass. It's for this reason that I am formally announcing to you all... that if the time does arise when I completely bonk out and go looking for revenge... I want you all to inform the media machine of the world this one, simple fact:


Yes, that's right. Day in, day out, I'm haunted by the Demon Voice of Stuart Murdoch, relentlessly taunting me, urging me to... KILL! KILL! KILL! You may think they're a mild-mannered twee band who wear dinner jackets and sing lullabies to trees, but it's all a ruse, I tell you, a ruse! I've seen through them and have awakened the Devil Child within.

What? You don't believe me? Let's take a look at some of Belle & Sebastian's more twisted, evil, and demented lyrics.

>From the album with the ominous title:


Can you see it? The album title alone is symbolic of the oppression of our generation by The Man. Well, I tell you what, Mister Man, I'll walk with my hands however I darn well please!

Let's look at a few of these purely depraved lyrics, so that you, too, can fully realize the devastating impact of The Band That Satan Built:

"Waiting for the Moon To Rise"

read as: Waiting for the Opportunity to Cavort With My Fellow Creatures of the Night

All the way back home
I'm telling you I caught the sun

read as: Follow us and you shall have greater power than even God.

Creeping up behind my shoulder

read as: The evil spectre of death always hangs near.

And another day's begun

read as: Humanity's mundane daily existence must be vanquished.

I was following a trail
I'd never been along before

read as: I converted to the darkside.

Chasing darkened skies above me

read as: I shall follow you forever, O Dark Lord.

Easily you must already be understanding the tremendous impact that the lyrics of this soul-haunting dirge have had upon me. Let's continue, if you're of strong enough will, to another track...

"Nice Day for a Sulk"

read as: Now's As Good A Time As Any To Pledge Allegiance to the Blackness

Nice day for a sulk
The girl smells of milk

read as: Umm, there's a stinky girl over there. Go kill her.

Her horsey teeth explode around us

read as: You need to blow her face off.

And we run for cover

read as: After the slaughter, you must now flee.

She found us in the cheapo bar with a bag of chips

read as: After you perform our bidding, you will be rewarded with plentiful food beyond your wildest dreams.

Nice day for a mood
The forecast is good

read as: Today is the day you avenge your tormentors.

The kids are melting in the doorway

read as: Don't forget your flame-thrower.

Keep the gang together

read as: Make your flame-throwing as efficient as possible.

There's no way you will ever be misunderstood by me.

read as: It's difficult for anyone to misunderstand a flame-thrower.

Nice day for a jam

read as: Be sure to set the flamethrower to "liquify."

The Fall, Manfred Mann

read as: I couldn't for certain understand this message, but it sounded something like "Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night."

I'd tell you the true meaning behind the demented track, "There's Too Much Love," but it's far too shocking, ominous, and depraved for most people to handle, and I don't want any of you to fall under the dark spell of Belle & Sebastian.

Obviously the influence this band could have on a weak mind is staggering. I'm barely restraining myself in this chair right now, as all I can think about is "DESTROY! LOOT! BLAG!" So yes, pray for me. Pray that I'm somehow freed from the tyrannical hold that this mystical band has upon me, and pray that you, too, don't fall victim to the manipulative brainwashing of Belle and Sebastian. If you think it's not possible, just close your eyes and imagine for a moment Stone Phillips -- in his patented "reporting-on-a-tragedy" grim, mildly contemptuous voice -- spitting out the words "Boy With The Arab Strap."

Me? I'm gonna go listen to some wholesome music - I need to find some band that won't attack my senses or make me lose the distinction between right or wrong. Anybody got any Sabbath or Maiden I could bum for a few hours?