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Me An' Ted Nugent, A Wango-in' An' A-Tango-in' 'Bout Politics


by Gary Gordon, Sept., 2001


Below is a statement allegedly given or written by Ted Nugent, that is currently making the rounds on email. I donít know if it was actually written by him. I have intercut my remarks, as if it were a debate or conversation, which, of course, is not entirely fair. Itís possible that, if Ted and I were conversing, he would be more lucid, intelligent, coherent, logical, compassionate, sensible, rational-- more Wango Tango and less Cat Scratch Fever. I did not change the order or reword any of his remarks, despite the temptation to put them in some coherent order and reduce the jumping around.

Hereís the brief email introduction that preceded the statement:


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Intro to email by anonymous emailer: Written by Ted Nugent, the rock singer and hunter/naturalist, upon hearing that California Senators B. Boxer and D. Feinstein denounced him for being a "gun owner" and a "Rock Star".

Gordon: Typical incomplete out-of-context description of alleged attack, thus allowing respondent to frame entire "debate" on his terms.

Intro: This was his response after telling the senators about his past contributions to children's charities and scholarship foundations which have totaled more than $13.7 million in the last 5 years!!

Gordon: What charities, what foundations? And since when does contributing to a charity buy someone immunity from criticism or accountability for other actions that may, in the eyes of some or many, negate the contributions? Didnít Capone give to the Chicago Police Dept.ís Widows & Orphans Fund?

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Allegedly Ted: I'm a Bad American - this pretty much sums it up for me. I like big trucks, big boats, big houses, and naturally, pretty women.

Gordon: Ted, your rhetorical approach seems to be similar to George W.; the first sentence says "hey, I'm just an ordinary guy." Then it goes on: "Don't blame me if I like things you like." There's a name for this transparent rhetoric, but why bother? You're a rock star, so, like George W., you're not like the rest of us.
     You're opening is also a way of claiming membership in The Victimhood. You're saying there are people who donít like you because of these values. I know you're about to say your values are great American values and your critics are the ones who should be criticized, or worse. Fact is, you're transparently disingenuous. You think you're a great American, anything but bad.

Allegedly Ted: I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some midlevel governmental functionary with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts squirting out babies.

Gordon: Here you're getting into the territory of framing a false paradigm that seeks to "tell it like it is" without any basis in reality. Is this the only choice available to Americans, good, bad or otherwise? You keep all your money or it goes to baby-squirting crack-moms? Check one? Or are you arguing against all taxes? Don't you think taxes should be raised for roads, schools, military defense, public health and sanitation, emergency preparedness, tornado alarms, libraries and numerous other things Americans have said they value over the decades? Don't you think the scientific advances and technological advances in the space program and with computers would not have occurred without sizable government investment? And so on.
     As for government dollars to crack addicts, what are you really saying? Should crack be legal? Should addiction be a crime? Should the government regulate who can and can't have babies? And if the government should criminalize anything or seek to regulate anything, with what money, other than taxes, would it have to operate since, apparently, under your "philosophy" there would be no taxes?
     As for the bad comb-over remark, surely you realize it's just another typical slur for the sake of evoking kinship with those who respond to that kind of attack and "humor".

Allegedly Ted: I don't care about appearing compassionate.

Gordon: Obviously. And despite your claim re charities, there's no real evidence you are compassionate, regardless of appearance. (See, I can take a cheap shot, too. That's how easy and thin it is when it comes to the difference between real discussion and bullshit.) Remember, Ted, Heydrich loved his kids. (Another cheap shot, though slightly more elevated: most of your audience either doesn't know who Heydrich was, or thinks he was a great guy.)

Allegedly Ted: I think playing with toy guns doesn't make you a killer. I believe ignoring your kids and giving them Prozac might.

Gordon: Most advocates of gun control I know played with guns when they were kids and have kids who play with guns. They are able to accept the difference between toys and government regulation of weapons that kill. As for the Prozac remark, you'd have a stronger case if you'd said Ritalin, but again, it's a false paradigm. It could be argued that it's the parents who care about their children who give them medication. Whether or not that's a good idea cannot be dismissed or even discussed in one sentence, but it does play on certain peoples' attitudes about "lazy" parents and "stupid" doctors. I think thereís more of a link between asshole fathers and killers than there is playing with guns or taking Prozac.

Allegedly Ted: I think I'm doing better than the homeless.

Gordon: If life is about defining doing better as meaning you have a home, then you're right. So what's your point, Ted? Most people, regardless of ideology, would say having a home is preferable to not having one, and that a person with a home is more likely to be able to contribute in many ways to a society and have resources than a person without a home. And a person with a home is rewarded in numerous ways by society at the municipal, regional, state and federal level for having a home, whether it's an issue of public services or simply respect.

Allegedly Ted: I don't think being a minority makes you noble or victimized.

Gordon: Well, it depends. There are two minority groups that have been historically victimized in this country regardless of what you think: Native Americans and Blacks. Women, not always a minority, have also been victimized, simply because of their gender. And at times so have Mexicans and other Latin Americans, Chinese, and Japanese, even if they were born here. Many of the above were "legally" victimized in that laws defined them as second-class citizens or worse. Other groups, like the Irish and Jews and Italians, have also been victimized in the past, so, have you ever read a history book?
     As for the idea of nobility, this is another cheap paradigm: I'm sure you must know that very often those victimized are simply asking for equal rights before the law or as level a playing field as they can get which will give them the same advantages that other, non-victimized groups had. In requesting or demanding these rights, which is the right of every American, they are often dismissed with a "what do these people want, anyway?" attitude which is then, in the mind of the ignorant critic, easily morphed into an attitude which accuses the victim of seeking to be thought of as noble when all the victim wanted was to achieve some dignity and equal opportunity and equal treatment under the law.

Allegedly Ted: I have the right not to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird or make me mad.

Gordon: This is true, if you're talking about free speech; untrue if you're talking about hostile actions. But I'm not aware of anyone saying you're not entitled to your stupid, narrow-minded, redneck-like, bigoted, simple-minded attitudes. (Sorry, Ted, I couldn't resist another cheap shot. It's amazing how your level of discussion can just pull someone down into name-calling. And, given that long hair and other rock n roll fashions were once thought of as radical, what exactly wrong with a comb-over?)

Allegedly Ted: This is my life to live, and not necessarily up to others expectations.

Gordon: Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted... I have virtually no expectations for you to live up to, and I think Iím in the overwhelming majority in that. In fact, I'd be amazed if you ever did or said anything worthwhile, but that's my view, which I have a right to express. As a matter of fact, it's kind of funny to put the words Ted Nugent and Expectations into a sentence other than that I expect you to be a loudmouth, rock'n'roll second-rate/derivative guitarist and third-rate songwriter and really more of a carnival act geek show entertainer-- but then, I like Johnny Winter and the Stones, and the Allman Brothers, and Rick Derringer and Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page and Dylan and Prine, so what do I know?

Allegedly Ted: I know what SEX is and there are not varying degrees of it.

Gordon: Interesting how only your absolutes are the correct ones. Are you unaware there are thousands of different value systems around the world? I happen to agree with this particular statement of yours, but it's an incomplete and therefore pointless and pandering sentence in the current context, other than to enlist those to your side who are already getting worked up with your brand of self-righteousness. Admit it, you're obviously playing to the Clinton-haters here, which is less than half the population. And you're overlooking the hypocrisy of those who condemned Clinton but behaved as badly or worse. Are you sure you want to make absolute rules about sex and morality? There are those who believe sex is only appropriate when trying to procreate. Should we go that far?

Allegedly Ted: I don't celebrate Kwanzaa. But if you want to that's fine; I just don't feel like everyone else should have to.

Gordon: Ted, can you really make a case that everyone is being forced to celebrate Kwanzaa? Or even most people? And if so, any more than they're forced to celebrate Christmas (held on the wrong date, if you believe Jesus existed) and Easter (now there's a story!)? Why pick Kwanzaa to single out, when all holidays were intially invented by someone or some group to symbolize or celebrate something they felt wasn't already addressed. Could it be you're a racist? I'm sorry, but by picking that holiday above all others (St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, the aforementioned Easter, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, Cinco de Mayo, you pretty much left yourself wide open to the racist charge, and frankly, none of your rhetoric, so far, refutes it.)

Allegedly Ted: I believe that if you are selling me a Dairy Queen shake, a pack of cigarettes, or hotel room you do it in English.

Gordon: Why? Are you saying if you don't know English you should not be allowed to engage in commerce in the United States of America, the land of the free, the greatest country in the world? Would you have outlawed virtually every immigrant group who ever came and did business here? What the fuck are you really saying and do you get it? (Okay, Ted, sorry for losing my temper, but you're engaging in simple-minded bigotry here, and that's not name-calling on my part, I'm afraid, given the evidence of your own words, it's fact.) And, which English? Itís a pretty dynamic language. Whatís the derivation of ďwango tangoĒ anyway?

Allegedly Ted: As of matter of fact, if you are an American citizen you should speak English. My uncles and forefathers shouldn't have had to die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come disrespect ours, and make us bend to your will.

Gordon: Actually, Ted, even giving you the benefit of the doubt that you have some glimmer of knowledge as to what your forefathers died for, they probably did die so subsequent immigrant groups could come and have their impact on a free and dynamic society, because that's what every immigrant group has done. There is no single America in attitude or value system just as there is no single American moment in history that can be pointed to with the declaration "see, that, there it is!" For any moment you find justice, you will also find injustice; tolerance and intolerance, bravery and cowardice, boldness and expediency, honor and dishonor, and so on. One person's attitude on what is disrespectful is often another person's attitude as to what represents appropriate liberation or rebellion. The very music you make your living on was deemed extremely disrespectful and worse-- some people thought it was the Devil's music, others thought it was "nigger" music that would lead to "mixing the races", and some people thought it was a communist plot. So, again, I gotta ask, Ted, what the fuck are you talking about? (Of course you're entitled to your opinion, but as we have seen, your opinion is, well, you know the line about assholes.) (Also, Ted, I've gotta point out in defense of the English language, your grammar suggests your uncles and forefathers shouldíve died in vain for something else, just not this.)

Allegedly Ted:I think the cops have every right to shoot your sorry butt if you're running from them after they tell you to stop.

Gordon: Okay, Ted, let me get this straight. Failure to obey a cop is worthy of the death penalty? Aren't there some details missing here? Do you really want to be that absolute? Have you no sense of the history of corrupt cops and/or the history of the south during it's most racist periods? Sheesh!

Allegedly Ted: If you can't understand the word 'freeze' or 'stop' in English, see the previous line.

Gordon: Cute, but stupid.

Allegedly Ted: I don't use the excuse "it's for the children" as a shield for unpopular opinions or actions. I know how to count votes and I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation do a recount when needed.

Gordon: Again, Ted, a false paradigm, but typical. The Republicans were able to define the hand-counting of ballots rejected by machines as "recounts" when they were actually counts. And you apparently have no knowledge of the history of rigged voting machines, and you choose to ignore the numerous reports of people (mostly black, seeking their legal rights, not nobility) who were turned way from the polls for various and specious reasons.

Allegedly Ted: I know what the definition of lying is, and it isn't based on the word "is"-- ever.

Gordon: Please, don't tell me you're one of those folks who always thinks all lies are wrong and all lies should be given exact, equal weight. But if you are, how did you feel about numerous people in the Reagan administration including Reagan who lied about the arms-for-hostages deal, or North testifying that he had lied to congress, all of which was not only illegal but lead to alot of death (not sex) in Central America?

Allegedly Ted: I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you qualify for any special loan programs, gov't sponsored bank loans, etc., so you can open a hotel, 7-Eleven, trinket shop, or any thing else, while the indigenous peoples can't get past a high school education because they can't afford it.

Gordon:Ted, these false paradigms are tiring. Can you point to an actual loan program that gives you a guaranteed loan just because you were not born here? Can you point to an actual government-sponsored bank loan that gives you enough money to open a store just because you weren't born here?
     Ted, I'm afraid this is typical racism and bigotry, disguised as Americanism, without consideration of the details. And... if you means Native Americans when you say indigenous peoples, then maybe you have a bit of a point-- but my hunch is that you're not referring to Native Americans, so who, exactly, are the indigenous peoples?

Allegedly Ted: I didn't take the initiative in inventing the Internet.

Gordon:Thank for clearing that up. But let's talk about the invention of the internet, and personal computers. Much of it was done with military defense dollars raised by taxes. Alot of early personal computer development was done by computer clubs working on a collectivist, not capitalist model, sharing information without copyrighting or patenting it, pre-Gates.

Allegedly Ted: I thought the Taco Bell dog was funny. I want them to bring back safe and sane fireworks.

Gordon: Safe and sane fireworks?

Allegedly Ted: I believe no one ever died because of something Ozzy Osbourne, Ice-T or Marilyn Manson sang, but that doesn't mean I want to listen to that crap from someone else's car when I'm stopped at a red light. But I respect your right to.

Gordon: Okay, Ted, I guess you're a liberal after all, at least when it comes to protecting your own industry. But do you of all people really think anyone's gonna believe you think Ozzy or the others are crap?

Allegedly Ted: I think that being a student doesn't give you any more enlightenment than working at Blockbuster or Jack In The Box.

Gordon:Ted, you're so disingenuous, I don't know if you're choosing to be an anti-intellectual in order to pander to them, or if you really are an anti-intellectual who just can't grasp the complexity of modern life and prefers slogans to details. If it's the later, I'll keep my answer simple: Being a student certainly provides one to become enlightened about numerous things; Blockbuster or Jack In The Box, less so, although everything can teach you something.

Allegedly Ted: I don't want to eat or drink anything with the words light, lite or fat-free on the package.

Gordon: So don't.

Allegedly Ted: Our soldiers did not go to some foreign country and risk their lives in vain and defend our Constitution so that decades later you can tell me it's a living document ever changing and is open to interpretation.

Gordon: (laughs) Ted, the notion that our soldiers all agreed on a specific interpretation of the Constitution before going anywhere or doing anything is at best amusing. As for whether it is a living document open to interpretation, I'm sorry to bust your tuning peg, but, jeez, just read the papers and diaries of the folks who wrote it: they set it up as a living document, specifically not something written in stone: this nation is dynamic. You talk as if, to use an analogy from your world, there is only one scale and one 4/4 beat. How can you be a rock n roller and be such a tight-ass?

Allegedly Ted: The guys who wrote it were light years ahead of anyone today, and they meant what they said - now leave the document alone, or there's going to be trouble.

Gordon: Ooooh, again with the singular self-righteousness, absence of detail or context, coupled with a veiled threat? Didn't the Constitution says Blacks were 3/5 of a person?
     But, let me canmy glib attitude for a moment. I think we all know you're talking about the Second Amendment, so let me quote it: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." I know you boys like to leave out the first part, which provides that inconvenient context that undermines your interpretation. Any study of contemporaneous writing styles, the diaries and attitudes of the folks who wrote the document and any study of the lifestyles of the folks who lived back then and the context within which the document was written (just after a revolution against an empire) inevitably leads to the conclusion that your interpretation is incorrect.
     Interestingly, the same police who you want to allow carte blanque to kill people who don't "freeze" also support gun control legislation.

Allegedly Ted: I don't hate the rich.

Gordon: So what do you want, appreciation for that?

Allegedly Ted: I help the poor.

Gordon: A claim, unsupported.

Allegedly Ted: I know wrestling is fake.

Gordon: And that, of course, is the real test of intelligence.

Allegedly Ted: I've never owned, or was a slave, and a large percentage of our forefathers weren't wealthy enough to own one either. Please stop blaming me because some prior white people were idiots - and remember, tons of white, Indian, Chinese, and other races have been enslaved too - it was wrong for every one of them.

Gordon: Hmmm, history of a sort creeps in. Did you learn this at Jack In The Box, or maybe you watched Amistad when you were working at Blockbuster. Facetiously speaking, your depth of thinking is so compelling.
     Seriously, I wasn't aware anyone blamed you for slavery. But, Ted, people who don't want to reckon with and do anything about the results of slavery are another matter. I saw too many of them in my lifetime say segregation as law was just and was the right of a state while in the same breath reminding folks that they had never owned slaves. Man, this stuff just cannot be boiled down the way you do, in this simplified, anti-intellectual rhetoric.

Allegedly Ted: I believe a self-righteous liberal Democrat with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

Gordon: Yeah, Altamont. Fuckiní liberal Democrats.

Allegedly Ted: I want to know exactly which church is it where the "Reverend" Jessie Jackson preaches; and, what exactly is his job function.

Gordon: Ted, you've convinced me, you are a racist. And this tired racist argument just doesn't die. There is a history in America of political organizers. It's not a secret history, but sometimes it seems it might as well be. I guess having a job at Blockbuster doesn't give you more enlightenment than being in school but having a job at Blockbuster gives you more cred than being a political organizer. As for your sideways attack on religion, it suggests, as you often do in this screed, that there is one way and one way only for things to be done. And Teddie, you should learn to spell Jesse correctly if you're gonna disrespect him.
     By the way, exactly which church is it where the "savior" Jesus preached; and, what exactly is his job function?

Allegedly Ted: I own a gun, you can own a gun, and any red blooded American should be allowed to own a gun.

Gordon: And who said you can't? The gun control argument has to do with regulation, not prohibition.

Allegedly Ted: But if you use it in a crime, then you will serve the time.

Gordon: Did Ollie North serve the time? Elliot Abrams? Robert MacNamara? John Mitchell? Ed Hanrahan? They all used guns. And on and on.

Allegedly Ted: I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more.

Gordon: Again, the no taxes line, but is that what you really mean?

Allegedly Ted: If it makes you mad, then invent the next operating system that's better and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

Gordon: Whew, ignorance, you gotta love it...

Allegedly Ted: I don't believe in hate crime legislation. Even suggesting it makes me mad. You're telling me that someone who is a minority, gay, disabled, another nationality, or otherwise different from the mainstream of this country has more value as a human being that I do as a white male. If someone kills anyone, I'd say that it's a hate crime.

Gordon: Ted, it's amazing. We finally agree! I also don't like the notion of hate speech. If you believe in free speech, how can you parse it? Too bad you weren't testifying about this one item alone. (On the other hand, I understand that decades and centuries of injustice have so frustrated certain segments of the population that, in a rhetorical and short-sighted fury, they seek to ensure extra punishment.)

Allegedly Ted: We don't need more laws!

Gordon: Well, Ted, there you go again with that rigid, tight-ass thing of yours. We don't need more laws? That just depends, doesn't it?

Allegedly Ted: Let's enforce the ones we already have.

Gordon: Yeah, jail marijuana users for possession. Jail people who have an open container. Jail prostitutes. Jail someone who steals a cookie and throw away the key because itís his third strikeÖ

Allegedly Ted: I think turkey bacon, turkey beef, turkey fake anything sucks.

Gordon: You're entitled. But do you overdub?

Allegedly Ted: I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child-it takes a parent with the guts to stand up to the kid and spank his butt and say "NO!" when it's necessary to do so.

Gordon: Ted, this is a pretty simplistic and ignorant approach to child-rearing. Personally, I'm glad I was raised in a fairly peaceful town that seemed to enjoy its children and encouraged education. If I'd been raised in a hostile environment, I think all the spanking in the world wouldn't've made it better.

Allegedly Ted: I'll admit that the only movie that ever made me cry was Ole Yeller.

Gordon: So? What is this, an attempt to demonstrate you're human, or a statement that only dogs dying makes you cry?

Allegedly Ted: I didn't realize Dr. Seuss was a genius until I had a kid.

Gordon: Too bad you grew up in a Jack In The Box. I think most people got it way before that. But better late than never. (Man, it's a good thing I didn't write you off as a human being because of some stupid, single-minded, narrow-minded, bigoted bias, not realizing that later in life you would have the capacity to appreciate the genius of Dr. Seuss, who, interestingly, favored strong gun control and increased government funding at all levels for education, and reading programs especially for the disadvantaged [victims of poverty and discrimination].)

Allegedly Ted: I will not be frowned upon or be looked down upon or be made to keep silent because I have these beliefs and opinions. I thought this country allowed me that right. I will not conform or compromise just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings. I'm neither angry nor disenfranchised, no matter how desperately the mainstream media would like the world to believe otherwise.

Gordon: Actually, Ted, you will be frowned upon and looked down upon-- how else can one respond to this disorganized, hateful thinking disguised as patriotism and eloquence? The world probably could care less about your inflated notions of yourself; it's far more concerned with Gary Condit at the moment. Me, I think you are pretty damn angry and I think you enjoy frowning upon and looking down on others who express their beliefs, and I think you enjoy name-calling, and the general simplistic line of argument evidenced above. Your philosophy seems to be "I'm a Detroit redneck with a guitar and a gun and kids and a job and I got this way because I worked hard even when it meant being disrespectful of society's conventions so you'd better respect me and respect my interpretation of everything and disdain for everything that isn't what I like... uh, one Jack In The Box cheeseburger and an' Old Yeller video to go."

Allegedly Ted: Yes, I guess by some people's definition, I may be a bad American. But that's tough.

Gordon: Bad? No. Unenlightened, narrow-minded, simplistic, racist, annoying? Yeah. Gimme Prince, Mitch Ryder, MC5, Bob Seger, Holland-Dozier-Holland and the rest of the Motown group any day. At least if I learn that I donít like their politics, Iíll still enjoy their great music.

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