Monday, February 5, 2018

PROPAGANDA REVIEW: MTV's 'Hate Rock' Special from 1993!

Yes, even back then MTV was trying to warn the masses about the scourge of white supremacy ... and in the clumsiest way possible, to boot.

By: Jimbo X

Anybody who thinks MTV is just now rallying the SJW troops for a culture war against whatever the higher-ups at Viacom deem a "far right threat" really haven't been paying attention. The reality is that MTV has been bangin' the social justice battle gong for more than a quarter century, and nothing demonstrates that as well as the 1993 "special report" Hate Rock from 1993.

Yes, a full 25 years ago - LONG before Charlottesville and Andrew Anglin and Black Lives Matter and President Trump and Pepe the Frog - MTV was hellbent on convincing the same masses who unironically liked bands like Green Jelly and Ugly Kid Joe that, within their own communities, there was an insidious, underground menace a bubblin' that - if left unchecked and unconquered - would inevitably result in the Day of the Rope coming to fruition and scores of Jews and blacks and Hispanics and gays and Indians getting massacred by the Fourth Reich. And, as we are all keenly aware, such wouldn't start with the slow degradation of civil liberties in the name of amorphous multiculturalism, nor government policies that nonconsensually hoist globalization on the front lawns of largely homogeneous cultures economically and socially incapable of assuring its peaceful assimilation into the local fabric. Nope, it begins, naturally, with a bunch of shitty guitar players with bald heads screaming "nigger" into a microphone in front of crowds of literally dozens of rancorous racist fans, and it's up to MTV - the great cultural taste-maker it is - to enlighten and indoctrinate us all into stamping this stuff out BEFORE it gets too big (read: economically sustainable) and the Holocaust 2.0 happens.

You know, some readers have asked me what my favorite kind of propaganda is, and it HAS to be stuff like this - hardcore, ideologically-biased, fact-and-reason-resistant agitprop built solely to discredit and disgrace a competing flavor of hardcore, ideologically-biased, fact-and-reason-resistant agitprop. This thing isn't even really meant to be entertaining, as much as it is 30-minute secular worship service, kinda' like the politically correct version of the world's least articulate Sunday school teacher mumbling his way through the story of Lucifer's fall.

But really, we ought to let MTV speak for themselves, shouldn't we? Let's push this sumbitch in the old VCR player and take a trip down memory lane, why don't we?

Kurt Loder lets us know the following is a "Free Your Mind" special report, which, of course, is marketing-speak for "let us tell you how you ought to feel about things for the next 30 minutes." From there, we throw it to a concert in Canada, where the creatively-named band Aryan is singing some song about Jews or race-mixing or what the hell ever. Then there's a quick, totally context-less clip where a dude with a Nazi eagle tattoo on his forehead talks about shooting somebody and here comes Kurt Loder - apparently, strolling past though the set of the first Candyman movie - ambling into the frame and to say something to the effect of "boy howdy, I bet you sure have noticed the sudden surge in 'race-baiting skinheads' wreaking havoc in the underground 'oi' scene, and goddamn, isn't it terrible, folks?" That's our cue for some black and white footage of people getting hit with baseball bats transposed over Hitler speeches as we cut to stock footage of skinheads and Confederate flag-waving marchers looking all vicious and whatnot while Aerosmith's "Livin' on the Edge" loops around it.

Loder says the fall of communism IMMEDIATELY sparked a resurgence of far-right politics in Europe, which in turn began influencing racist dissidents in the U.S. We then get to briefly meet two skinheads named Sean and Mike - obviously meant to draw parallels to Beavis and Butt-Head - and Loder describes them as "beer-swilling thugs" before throwing it to archival footage of this Mexican guy talking about this time he got roughed up by some Skrewdriver fans, with the onscreen caption sure to note he was attacked by "racist skinheads," as opposed to the TOLERANT skinheads dotting our fine chemotherapy centers from coast-to-shining-coast. And that's the perfect excuse to take a look at the world of NON-RACIST skinheads, which does indeed exist ... in Canada. Well, WHERE else would you expect to find that kind of shit? Loder then explains how "real" skinheads love black people and their music, especially ska and "the working class sounds" of non-Hitler-inspired "oi."

Time to sample some of that insidious white power music, why dont' we? Here's a few lines of prose from some band called No Remorse - "Nigger, face to face don't try and mess with the master race." Well, that's still less uses of the word "nigger" than in the aggregate Kendrick Lamar song, so what's the rub, MTV? Kurt then goes on to say that the National Front basically INVENTED racist music by co-opting the oi scene in England back in the late 1970s. Then we meet a chap named Warren Miekle, lead singer of the New Jersey-based outfit Aggravated Assault, who says his music has a "political message." And because the aggregate MTV viewer in 1993 STILL needed helps filling in the gaps, this is immediately followed by another Hitler speech quip where Die Fuhrer is talking about white superiority or some such mess. Then a bespectacled Nazi nerd named Todd shows a banner  reading "Adolf Hitler Was Right" while another 'un shows off a tatoo of a Jew hanging from a tree, to represent what he believes DIDN'T happen during the Holocaust. Which, in one of the most surreal things I've ever seen in my life, devolves into Loder talking about the "Final Solution" over stock footage of Auschwitz skeletons while fucking George Michaels plays in the background." Then this Holocaust survivor is wheeled out so he can say it's not like 1933 in Germany no more, because THIS time they have a chance to defend themselves against the intolerant.

I don't know about you, but I think naming your group "Unidentified German Oi Band" is just painfully pretentious.

We return from commercial break and Kurt Loder is walking around Berlin while "Winds of Change" by The Scorpions play because fuck it, subtlety is for pussies. There's this great transition shot where footage of people being all happy during the fall of the Berlin Wall is interrupted by scenes of skinheads throwing Molotov cocktails into buildings. Loder then talks about "economic paranoia" and "anti-immigrant sentiment" fueling far right ideologies in post-reunification Germany, which culminates with a clip of skinheads singing a song about giving Elie Wiesel cups of tea laced with Zyklon B. This ultimately leads to Loder stating that kids are turning to white power music because they feel as if their governments are sacrificing THEIR economic futures in favor of their own liberal social policies ... which, yeah, certainly couldn't explain why kids TODAY are into all of that "alt-right" Pepe the Frog stuff or anything like that. The narrator then explains how 1.5 million migrants from war-torn, former Soviet-controlled states have flooded into Germany since 1988, and that's making neo-Nazi skinheads ANGRY as all get-out. To demonstrate this, we get this one unintentionally hilarious scene where an Indian guy points to graffiti showing a swastika and carefully explains that it probably means "hey, these guys might be Nazis, be careful fucking with them." Then we get footage of a 1992 "anti-fascist" concert headlined by The Scorpions before another commercial break whisks us away.

Now we turn our attention to North American skinhead music, and it doesn't take Kurt long to start decrying outfits like "The Church of the Creator" and the "Hammerskins" as vile, reprehensible pieces of dookie who "hate all people different from themselves," all while praising "non-racist" skinhead groups like the Sharps, who - irony of ironies - hate everybody who thinks differently from themselves. That segues into the lead singer of RAHOWA talking about how important the Internet is to building the skinhead music fanbase, which leads to a scene in which a hacker acting on MTV's behalf infiltrates a BBS board that offers homemade explosives recipes and asks its users to send in the addresses of "queers" for some kind of database. This leads Loder to ask what is it about this kind of music that goads Americans into believing such incredibly "anti-American ideals?" One detective says it's probably because the kids are getting abused and neglected at home and they're probably longing for any kind of camaraderie that doesn't include their parents yelling at 'em or the cool kids at school referring to 'em as "weirdo faggots." 

Apparently, 1993's neo-Nazis looked like 2016's Bernie Sanders supporters.

Time to hear from the lead singer of RAHOWA again (who, of course, has renounced his Nazi ways over the last few decades, in case you forgot it.) He says some inconsequential shit, and now it's time for Kurt Loder to hit the mean streets of Orlando, wearing a gaudy red floral shirt and sunglasses as part of some "undercover" assignment.

Oh shit, he's there to interview the imperial wizard of the KKK, who is apparently a 16-year-old kid with four or five developmental disorders named Archie Johnston. Meanwhile, this dude in a Beastie Boys shirt makes fun of him for being into Hitler. He shows Kurt a noose in his bedroom and says the Klan is about "Christian Identity" and they argue about what the biblical definition of "neighbor" is. Anyway, they try their damnedest to make Archie look mentally retarded, which, yeah, he probably is. Then they show him talking on the phone trying to get a bunch of guys together to go scare some homosexuals while "Take The Skinheads Bowling" plays in the background. Loder than asks whether or not Archie and his ilk ought to be censored which - after citing the First Amendment - he begrudgingly says no. But that doesn't mean he doesn't think they shouldn't be under a constant state of surveillance, which Loder never addresses as a violation of the FIFTH Amendment, but what the hell ever. 

By the way, that Archie kid was later arrested for assaulting an interracial couple. And the special ends with him getting taken into custody while "The KKK Took My Baby Away" by The Ramones plays. Yeah - I can't imagine TODAY'S MTV being so tongue-in-cheek when it comes to TODAY'S skinheads, for sure.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Gomer Pyle, S.S.

You know, this kind of stuff is getting harder and harder to get a hold of. In fact, the only way I could even screen this special was a secondhand copy of a copy taken from fucking Veoh, so it's probably safe to assume that within another five or ten years or so, this thing's gonna' be all but erased from the Web. And since YouTube and Dailymotion are getting so insanely Nazi-esque about both copyright protected material and "offensive" content (even if it's framed in a way to make fun of and demean people with radical viewpoints) getting posted on their respective platforms, unless somebody is ripping this shit to the Internet Archive en mass we could be on the verge of a multimedia purge the likes of which haven't been seen since the great MGM vault fire of 1967.

The whole thing, from start to finish, is barely 22 minutes long and once you've caught it once there's not really anything noteworthy enough to inspire you to rewind the cassette. It definitely has a weird late '80s, early '90s vibe going on, meaning it doesn't really feel like it belongs in either decade, but still has enough aesthetic imprints from both to kinda feel familiar.

While MTV today hosts entire awards show anchored around white guilt, I suppose it's safe to say they weren't nearly as deft with their counter-propaganda back in '93. It's obvious that Viacom was trying to posit the emerging neo-Nazi skinhead music culture as a major cultural concern, but at the same time it's presented in such a hokey package that it's hard to take the program seriously. That's evident from the goofy Beavis and Butt-Head onscreen font and the downright bizarre musical interludes (I'm STILL not over the whole Auschwitz-set-to-George Michael music video), not to mention the depiction of Archie Johnston as a dude literally too retarded to answer basic questions about the U.S. Constitution, let alone usher in an ethnic purge of millions of people.

Eventually, Viacom would get significantly better at using the Music Television format to push sociopolitical agendas, but Hate Rock is certainly evidence that the powers-that-are at MTV have been trying to use their platform to engineer culture for decades. As an anti-white supremacist spiel, it's pretty weak and flaccid, and as a random abstraction of its time, it's not all that entertaining nor enlightening. Indeed, I think we'd all rather have watched the commercials that originally ran on the program than the program itself - and if that isn't a testament to the fact we've become a truly post-racial society (if not a colorless, mass-marketer-tested, consumerism-uber-alles Valhalla) I don't know what is.


A while back I actually got an email from a guy who said he knew Todd and the circle he hung out with back in the day. I asked the reader if I could publish his email comments in full, which he agreed to under the condition I keep his identity secret. Anyhoo, here's what he had to say — by the way, I'm publishing it unedited, just because. 
I knew Todd (last name Keller), in fact I still have some junky old tattoos from the kid. (he was) Dumb as a rock,  I moved away from Orlando just a few months before this MTV episode was filmed. 
I'm NOT a racist, but sadly I was. I grew up and avoided the criminal life that killed or jailed everyone I knew from that time. I'm writing to give you some insight to what happened then and there in Oviedo.  
There is no justification for this ignorant bullshit but Todd wasn't  raised by some redneck - his mother was normal and frequently admonished Todd for his racism. He wasn't poor. He didn't do drugs. He believed most of what he aspoused to believe mostly because of the school system in Oviedo.  
Jackson Heights middle school and oviedo high were racial hotbed in the mid 90s. Both schools had a majority of African American students, these children were also having very hard lives. Crack was king and given the rural history of the town many of them where grandchildren or great grandchildren of real slaves. There were murders, race riots (in school), and if you were white you sometimes bore the brunt of issues. I saw two murders one in 6th grade and one in 9th. 
Time and travel continue to impress on me how strange of a world I live in. No one had hope, everyone hated everyone. In all honesty we (black and white) should have probably fought for a better school, teachers that cared, and our future. 

And really, there's only one thing I can say in riposte to that. And that thing, of course, is ...

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