Tháng Tư 19, 2024

Dee Snider Reveals the ‘Greatest’ Enemy of Free Speech, Says ‘Elon Musk Is a Champion of It’

Twisted Sister legend Dee Snider has revealed what he feels is the “greatest enemy” of free speech, arguing that Elon Musk, the billionaire business mogul who owns X (formerly Twitter) and is behind the revolutionary companies Tesla, SpaceX, Starlink and more, is a champion of this perceived enemy.

Snider, a noted political moderate who does not strictly align with one political party or another, opened up about a “misinterpretation” of the oft-cited First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the one regarding free speech — in a recent interview with 90.3 WMSC FM.

Dee Snider on the Enemy of Free Speech

Responding to a question, Snider contends (transcription via Blabbermouth), “The greatest enemy of free speech is the misinterpretation of what the First Amendment means. There’s this idea, and Elon Musk is a champion of it, that free speech is saying anything you want whenever you want. That is not what they meant when they wrote the First Amendment.”

Musk, since taking over Twitter last year and rebranding it as X, has been a major proponent of “free speech” on the social media platform. He has been been scrutinized for looser content moderation policies that what users had experienced under previous ownership. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether or not the company was compliant with a privacy order issued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

Offering examples of what the First Amendment does not protect concerning free speech, the singer continues, “You never could say something that could endanger someone’s well-being, whether it’s physical or mental, with your words. You were never allowed to scream ‘Fire’ in a crowded movie theater when there’s no fire, because people can be hurt. You can’t say things to people or post things online that could hurt people psychologically, mentally and physically destroy their lives.”

Regarding the above, Snider urges, “That’s not free speech. That’s being an [asshole]. Okay, so there’s a difference between being an [asshole] and having free speech.”

With that cleared up, he reiterates, “So that’s the biggest threat, quite honestly, is a misinterpretation of what free speech means.”

About the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

Concerning free speech, the First Amendment of the Unites States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Cornell Law School summarizes this amendment as follows: “The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.”

Musicians Who Ran for Political Office

These rockers not only made music, but also wanted to make a difference in the world.

Gallery Credit: Todd Fooks

Krist Novoselic

Krist Novoselic is a vocal activist for liberal causes and has been since the early days of Nirvana. The bassist considered a run for lieutenant governor of Washington back in 2004 but then decided against it. Rolling Stone reports that in 2009 Novoselic did make a brief run for Wahkiakum County clerk as a member of the fictional Grange (Grunge?) Party. However, he was only doing it to showcase the silliness of the election laws in the state, and he dropped out before the vote.

Joe Walsh

Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh knew he couldn’t actually be president when he ran for office in 1980. (He was only 32 years old at the time, you have to be 35 to take office.) He ran on a platform of “Free Gas For Everyone,” and promised to make “Life’s Been Good” the new national anthem. But he wasn’t done. In 1992 he was Rev. Goat Carson’s VP running mate. Their slogan was “We Want Our Money Back!”

Peter Garrett

Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil left the band in 2002 to fight the good fight with an Australian conservation group. His passion for helping save the environment led naturally into a political career. He became the Labor Party candidate for a Sydney suburb and then became their spokesperson on environmental issues. He was re-elected in 2007, but Paste Magazine says that as time went on his political stances became controversial, leading to his removal as minister of the environment. Garrett later rebounded as a minister of education, and has refocused his work in music.

Jello Biafra

Dead Kennedy’s frontman Jello Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979. His platform? That businessmen would have to wear clown suits. Even still, Rolling Stone says he came in 4th out of 10 candidates. On a much larger “what if” scale, Biafra ran for president with the Green Party in 2000, challenging Ralph Nader, who eventually became their candidate. And Nader went on to siphon votes from Al Gore in the general election, who was defeated by the narrowest of margins by George W. Bush.

Luther Campbell

Luther, or Luke, Campbell of 2 Live Crew unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Miami-Dade Country in 2011. Although he “so horny,” he proposed that strippers should be taxed to help fund the county. He got 11 percent of the vote!

Alice Cooper

A well known joke at this point, shock rocker Alice Cooper has been running for president since 1972. CNN says a recent campaign slogan from the 2016 election was “I can do nothing as well as they can do nothing.” His running mate was Tom Hanks, although this was without Tom Hanks knowledge or consent.

Martha Reeves

The leader of Motown’s Martha and the Vandellas, the group had a string of hits in the ’60s including “Nowhere to Run,” “Heat Wave,” and the oft-covered “Dancing in the Street.” She ran for a seat on the Detroit City Council and won, serving from 2005 to 2009.

Dave Rowntree

Rowntree, the drummer for Brit band Blur, was active in Britain’s Labour Party while in the band. When Blur took a break in 2006, he even went back to school and became a solicitor (British for lawyer.) Paste Magazine reports a string of defeats: He ran for a seat on the Westminster City Council and lost, and then lost again running for another seat in another district. Then he lost once more running for another local post. Still, he still involved in politics and speaks out against the death penalty.

Sonny Bono

An OG musician turned politico, Cher’s better half became the mayor of Palm Springs in 1988. Bono then ran for senator but was defeated, but he eventually became a Republican congressman for the state of California in 1994. Bono died after a skiing accident in 1998 and his then wife Mary was chosen to serve out the rest of his term. Mary was re-elected 7 more times.

Wyclef Jean

After doing some hurricane relief work in Haiti in 2010, Wyclef Jean was moved to pursue a higher calling. He ran for president of the country. There were problems: Jean was not a resident of Haiti, did not have command of either of the two main languages of the country (French or Creole,) and one his of this Fugees bandmates was particularly unsupportive of his run. (Pras was already heavily involved in the campaign of another candidate.) Jean was eventually disqualified from running by the Haitian government.

Jon Fishman

Drummer for jam band Phish, Fishman said he got the itch to serve the community from Krist Novoselic. A big supporter of Bernie Sanders in his presidential runs, Fishman ran for and was elected a selectman in Lincolnville, Maine, in 2017. He still serves today and plays in the band.

Freddy Lim

Freddy Lim, vocalist for Taiwanese death metal band Chthonic, was elected as a legislator in his district back in 2017 and was reelected in 2020. Lim has been one of the loudest musical and political voices in the fight for Taiwan’s independence from China even before he entered politics. So loud, in fact, that he was featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight in a clip where Lim was chanting essentially, “F*ck China” from the stage.

Peter Wishart

Peter Wishart, once keyboardist for Big Country (remember “In a big country, dreams stay with you”?) has become a member of the Scottish Parliament. He’s been a steady member of government there since 2005. His list of accomplishments is pretty impressive: Former party spokesperson and chair of the Scottish Affairs committee, he ranks as the longest serving Scottish National Party MP (Member of Parliament) and among the longest serving Scottish MPs in the House of Commons.

16 of the Most Political Rock + Metal Bands

Outspoken artists championing causes!

Rage Against the Machine

Formed in 1991, the leftist rap/funk metal troupe have issued numerous socially conscious compositions. Namely, their support for the EZLN inspired “People of the Sun” and “Without a Face,” and they display the EZLN flag in concert. Also, they’ve been vocal about the last several presidential elections (including protesting Steve Forbes’ hosting of SNL in 1996 and wearing “Guantanamo Bay-like prisoner suits” during a September 2008 show in Minneapolis). Recently, they’ve defended reproductive rights on stage and on social media, too.
Clearly, they’ve never stopped raging against various machines of oppression, hypocrisy and the like. We’ve only just scratched the surface.

Pussy Riot

Their name says a lot, as does the fact that Russian performance artists Pussy Riot recently launched an NFT campaign to help Ukraine. Beyond that, they’ve been arrested for “disobeying [Russian] police” and criticizing Vladimir Putin. Among other things, their subject matter ranges from defending political prisoners (“Rage”) and rebuking the Orthodox Church’s anti-LGBT and anti-woman positions (“Punk Prayer”), to opposing deceitful elections (“Release the Cobblestones”). They approached the 2014 killing of Eric Garner, too, via  “I Can’t Breathe.” Obviously, their expansive multimodal methods are creative and controversial, meaning that Pussy Riot might be today’s most fearlessly creative protest band.

Megadeth

Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine is famously candid, and politics is frequently a topic of discussion. For one thing, Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? was – according to a 1986 interview with Los Angeles Times – written to show that heavy metal artists should “be aware of what’s going on.” Eventually, there’s the exploration of war, religion and animal rights on Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction, as well as the overt allusions to governmental and theological missteps on The System Has FailedUnited Abominations and Dystopia.

Pink Floyd/Roger Waters

Yes, other members of Pink Floyd wrote about serious things after their earliest abstract experimentations; however, bassist/singer Roger Waters undoubtedly spearheaded their socio political leanings. Most notably, 1977’s Animals is loosely based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, just as follow-ups The Wall and The Final Cut were strongly influenced by the traumas of World War II (comprising Naziism) and the 1950s British education system.
Post-Pink Floyd, Waters has doubled down on his humanitarian proclivities, such as with the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Hell, his current “This is Not a Drill” tour is loaded with unapologetic assertions about administrative violence, tyranny and profiteering.

System of a Down

Armenian-American quartet System of a Down began by contributing “P.L.U.C.K.” to Hye Enk, a 1997 compilation created to raise awareness of the 1915 Armenian genocide. Thus, they’ve always been tied to politics. Later, breakthrough record Toxicity offered observations on mass incarceration (“Prison Song”) and police abusing protesters (“Deer Dance”), whereas future songs “B.Y.O.B.” and “”A.D.D. (American Dream Denial)” assert that America undervalues soldiers (to put it lightly). In a 2021 chat with Vulture, frontman Serj Tankian even suggested that “trying to speak the truth, and . . . trying to find justice” is worth risking “safety” and approval from admirers.

Sleater-Kinney

Washington’s Sleater-Kinney is perhaps the most well-known act to emerge from the riot grrrl movement (which basically fused feminism and other sociopolitical interests with punk and indie rock). Therefore, it’s not shocking that 1996’s Call the Doctor was motivated by how society “consumerized and commodified” people or that 2000’s All Hands on the Bad One dealt with sexual assault at Woodstock ‘99. Elsewhere, 2002’s One Beat is repeatedly anti-war, just as 2019’s The Center Won’t Hold was – as guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein explained to NME – meant to “take the broader political climate and couch it in with the personal.” Right on!

Napalm Death

The grindcore pioneer’s second LP, 1988’s From Enslavement to Obliteration, alone tackles everything from sexism (“It’s a M.A.N.S World!”) to animal rights (“Display to Me…”) and financial greed (“Make Way!”). Then, later tunes such as “A Bellyful of Salt and Speen” and “Diplomatic Immunity” correspondingly champion human welfare and critique war. As recalled by Kerrang!’s Nick Ruskell in 2020, singer Barney Greenway noted in 1991 that “the ideas” of the band encompass “anti-racism, anti-xenophobia, equality, anti-homophobia.” Of course, there have also been many cases of Greenway sharing philanthropic opinions in concert, such as during the group’s 2018 tour with Slayer.

Ministry

If there are two things Chicago’s Ministry are known for, it’s popularizing industrial metal and getting political. Various relatively early tracks (for example, “The Land of Rape and Honey,” “N.W.O” and “Thieves”) incorporate real speeches to fully bring their anti-fascist and anti-political corruption stances to life. That said, founder Al Jourgensen has arguably become more transparent over the last 20 years, such as with Ministry’s full-length trilogy of George W. Bush admonishments (Houses of the MoléRio Grande Blood and The Last Sucker). Expectedly, 2018’s AmeriKKKant and 2021’s Moral Hygiene cumulatively saw him setting his sights on Donald Trump.

Fever 333

Similarly, singer Jason Butler told Guestlist.net that the “333” in Fever 333 – which stands for community, charity and change – is “the foundation upon which the whole project rests.” Although they only began in 2017, they’ve already demonstrated copious left-wing outlooks. For instance, the title of 2019’s Strength In Numb333rs relates to Butler wanting to “speak with . . . the disenfranchised.” In addition, their June 2020 Long Live the Innocent livestream was motivated by the murder of George Floyd, with proceeds going to Black Lives Matter and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Even their website prioritizes their causes over their music.

Bad Religion

Several artists on this list have meaningful monikers, including Bad Religion. Rather than promote outright atheism, though, singer Greg Graffin told NYRock in 1998 that they’re warning people against having faith in self-serving opportunists and persecutors. Naturally, that applies to totalitarian politicians and practices, with their entire catalog reflecting that perspective. (I mean, 1981’s self-titled debut EP contained “Politics” and 2019’s Age of Unreason LP was – guitarist Brett Gurewitz once explained – centered around how “values of truth, freedom, equality, tolerance, and science are in real danger.”) Gurewitz also called it “an album’s worth of ‘Fuck Trump’ songs,” so there’s that.

Rise Against

In a 2012 interview, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath surmised that audiences “have questions about the world around them; they’re . . . look[ing] toward their favorite bands . . . to . . . reflect those questions” before admitting: “We’re a band that . . . isn’t afraid to talk about politics.” Case in point: tracks such as “Blood-Red, White, & Blue,” “Hero of War,” “Broken Dreams, Inc” and “Prayer of the Refugee,” plus the “Ready to Fall” music video’s environmentalism. They were involved with Punkvoter in 2004, too, and they partnered with Vans to release vegan-friendly shoes in 2007.

War on Women

Formed in 2010, hardcore punk quintet War on Women’s co-founder, Shawna Potter, was directly influenced by riot grrrl. That link is evident throughout their catalog, as they routinely write about topics such as reproductive rights, sexual assault, transphobia and (on the aptly titled “Glass City” from 2015’s War on Women) the ongoing employment pay gap(s) between men and women. With 2020’s Wonderful Hell, they even confront prejudice against expatriates (“This Stolen Land”) while countering misogyny with sardonic misandry (“Aqua Tofana”). In July 2022, Potter spoke with Consequence and rightly deduced that the music industry hasn’t progressed enough regarding gender equality.

Strike Anywhere

This Virginian ensemble is sometimes classified as “anarcho-punk,” and frontman Thomas Barnett went into depth about their radical agenda with Pop Break in 2011. The liner notes for 2001’s Change Is a Sound are just as explicit: “Strike Anywhere supports the vegetarian lifestyle, the living wage movement and the fight against corporate globalization.” Also, their logo embodies the “Three Arrows” symbol used by the Iron Front (after whom Strike Anywhere titled their fourth and last LP). Furthermore, “Frontier Glitch” – from 2020’s Nightmares of the West comeback EP – is about “imperialism, exceptionalism, and . . . the death cult of nationalism.

Anti-Flag

All of their album covers and titles are blatantly radical, with compositions examining topics such as military deaths (“Die for the Government”), the Iraq war (“Power to the Peaceful”) and issues in the justice system (“Mumia’s Song”). Predictably, 2023’s LIES THEY TELL OUR CHILDREN will be no different. However, Anti-Flag have gone further by starting their own festival – ANTIfest – in 2012; since then, they’ve partnered with numerous organizations (Amnesty International USA, Punk Rock Saves Lives, Emmaus, etc.) They’ve also taken part in plenty of protests over the years, as well as created activist groups such as The Underground Action Alliance.

Green Day

While the first decade of Green Day’s discography is unpolitical, the same can’t be said for their post-2000s work. Indeed, “Minority” from Warning is what truly got the trio going; from there, 2004’s American Idiot famously exuded biting analyses on 9/11, the Iraq War, the media, George W. Bush’s presidency and civilian complacency and apathy. Follow-ups 21st Century Breakdown and Revolution Radio continued those themes amidst commenting on mass shootings and social media. Sure, the trio harkened back to their more lighthearted origin along the way (and with 2020’s Father of All Motherfuckers), but they’ve maintained their outspokenness ever since.

Dead Kennedys

Guitarist East Bay Ray has stated that their name is an “homage to the American Dream” (which was “assassinated” alongside MLK Jr., JFK and RFK). Musically, you have Dead Kennedy’s signature tune (“Holiday in Cambodia”), not to mention the artwork and tracklist of 1981’s In God We Trust, Inc. EP, which condemn materialism, organized religion and neo-Nazis. The rest of their 1980s run upheld their penchant for satirical yet pointed leftist songwriting, so much so that they influenced aforementioned artists such as Rage Against the Machine, Bad Religion and System of a Down.

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