Don’t Wanna Rock With You
So far, this October’s planned concert honoring the late Michael Jackson seems like a tribute to the behind-the-scenes turmoil of Jackson’s life rather than the impact of his music. Jackson’s mother said earlier this year that the concert will be held in Wales (for some reason), two weeks after Jackson’s doctor goes on trial for involuntary manslaughter. That upset some family members, but the biggest controversy for fans was the head-scratching booking of rockers KISS, whose Gene Simmons was quoted in a Classic Rock magazine article last year saying he had no doubt Jackson “molested those kids.” The band’s potential appearance at the “Michael Forever” event (to be broadcast globally) infuriated fans so much, KISS’s invitation was rescinded. Hard Rock fans who also love Michael Jackson can take solace in another strange (in that we didn’t know they still existed) booking — Alien Ant Farm is still a go!
There’s No Crying in Black Metal!
The Polish constitution contains an article protecting freedom of speech, but the country’s hate speech laws add a serious caveat to that freedom. No one can stop the free expression of ideas — unless those ideas are deemed offensive to religious sensibilities or insulting based on a person’s race or nationality. The law to spare hurt feelings seems open to interpretation, though, particularly when it comes to art. A few residents in the past decade who published anti-Semitic literature have been charged under the law, but Polish prosecutors have mostly backed off of pursing action against artists. Nergal, frontman for Polish Death Metal heroes Behemoth, is the latest artist to emerge from charges unscathed. A judge ruled that when Nergal allegedly ripped up a Bible during a concert and called it a “deceitful book” from a “criminal sect,” it wasn’t illegal because it was a “form of art.” It’s good news for Nergal, who — in a sign of just how much more popular Black Metal is in some parts of the world — is reportedly going to be a judge on the Polish version of U.S. televised singing competition, The Voice. We’ll be watching for YouTube clips of Nergal telling singers, “I’m just not feeling your Satanic passion and your evil was a little pitchy, dawg.”
Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary makes headlines when it announces what new words are being added, an apparent attempt to keep up with trends and appear cool to the kids (most of whom could Google the definitions of 25 words in the time it takes to find one by leafing through hundreds of old-fashion “pages”). This year’s additions include things like jeggings, retweet, woot and sexting. But, apparently, the Oxford folks also remove words from time to time. One of them taken out this year is going to leave generations of kids to their own devices (literally) to figure out what the hell old people mean by “cassette tapes.” The term — referring to the plastic things that contained “MP3s” and were played on prehistoric “iPods” (boombox, Walkman, etc.) — was yanked, even while the cassette is experiencing a cult-like resurgence. If they’re removing words that are irrelevant in today’s society, maybe next year they’ll finally take out “dictionary.”