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Posted by The Storm on April 10, 1999 at 16:02:22:
Wow, you go away for a day and then all sorts of interesting things start to explode on the board. Which is why I moved my comments up here.
First, on the Jesus issue: I was just in Houston a month or so ago and so crosses on the side of the road about every 2 miles. That's a really Jesus-lovin' place, alright. It's a terrifyingly Jesus-lovin' place. Of course, that's not all that's going on there, and I had a good time and good conversations with people who weren't so into the Jesus scene. But the main point is, at 19 years old, you're going to have to get out of Houston for a while and see a bit of the world to shake this Jesus monkey off your back. I mean, have you ever even been to New Orleans, just a 3 hour drive away? Jesus don't dig New Orleans too much, and the feeling is mutual. New Orleans is too Caribbean for Jesus' taste, which is why New Orleans prefers "Voodoo Lounge" and Houston prefers B2B.
Because, you know, it's not that B2B (and in particular "Saint of Me") is an anti-Jesus record. There's certainly a kind of tugging at the tiger's tale aspect to a death-defying song like "Flip the Switch," so to the extent that Jesus, God, and those other Bible guys can conceived as tigers, it's kind of anti-Jesus. But more than anything else, B2B is anti-Tao. "Tao" of course means "Way" in Chinese, and the spirit of Taoism (which ended up infusing Zen Buddhism) is that if you go against the Way of the Cosmos--do things that are unnatural--everything in the universe will get thrown out of sync and screwy things will start happening. So the Stones try to go against the nature of the Stones by making a mechanized, computerized, anti-Stones record like B2B, and you get sales plummeting, Mick getting laryngitis repeatedly, Keith breaking his ribs, and finally the Mick and Jerry divorce. People who understand Taoism could have easily predicted these consequences the moment they heard ASMB and the other anti-Stones, seek-hip-shamelessly sounds of B2B. They've gone off track, upset the delicate cosmological balances of nature, and fucked up royally. Jesus probably didn't mind B2B much, and the same with God and the other Bible guys, because they taught man to manipulate nature and harness it to his "benefit." That means technology, like computers and synthesizes. Jesus, God, and the Bible guys were probably smiling at the sounds of B2B because it represents humanity's un-Taoist, un-Zenist assault on nature.
Now, on the issue of Mick's misogyny: I remember asking in the fall of '97 on this (actually, the other) board why women still liked the Stones even though the lyrics were misogynous. It was a completely different cast of women characters in those days, but the answer basically boiled down to this: "When women hear 'Under My Thumb' or some such song, we just put ourselves into Mick's role and imagine the lyric as '...the guy who once had me down.'" In other words, they simply role-reverse and use Mick's expression of his occasional hostility to women as a way to relieve their own occasional hostility to men. Of course, no one is hostile to members of the opposite sex at all times, and Mick also writes some incredibly beautiful love ballads that should be completely in touch with the times ("Already Over Me," "Always Suffering," "Out of Tears," "Baby Break It Down," "Evening Gown"). You should give him credit for these. But in general, people of both sexes feel hostility and anger to the other frequently enough that someone of Mick's androgyny can appeal to both. Only reactionary femi-nazis and people who haven't thought it through thoroughly could fail to recognize this. I'll grant you, though, Mariajag, that Mick's behavior during this divorce has been appalling. But I remember when I suggested this a couple of months ago, there were howls of protest on this board, including protests from women who identified Jerry Hall as a "horseface" and completely identified with Mick and took his side in the divorce case, perhaps imagining themselves as more appropriate partners.
So it's a complicated world, and whether you're in Houston or in love, you've got to
get out every now and again to see it from a different perspective.