The geometry of the online universe features a cesspool of tweets and a wormhole of videos, bending time and refracting light amidst a sea of noise. The paradox of this universe is that the more implausible a story sounds, the more likely a story’s sound. Take, for instance, the story of a contest between a father and a group of Washington senators and wives.
The story begins with a half-Jewish transvestite, a cross between Sarah Jessica Parker with an Adam’s apple and a man wearing a cross and bearing an androgynous name. He enters from the rear, a pariah in Babel and a paladin from Babylon; a Long Islander in a swamp of Puritans and Pharisees.
Our hero is Dee Snider, lead singer and songwriter of Twisted Sister, a heavy metal band from New York by way of New Jersey.
He’s on Capitol Hill, inside the Russell Senate Office Building, to testify before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, whose members include the great-grandson of a robber baron, the grandson of a food conglomerate, the son of a slain demagogue, the scion of a frozen seafood company, the daughter of a governor, and the namesake of an opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Snider, the son of a New York State Trooper, stands before the likes of Rockefeller, Danforth, Long, Gorton, Kassebaum, and Gore.
He states and spells his name for the record.
Let the record also reflect that the day is September 19th, 1985, because Snider doesn’t know if it’s morning or afternoon.
What follows is a takedown, a verbal assassination, with more frames than the Zapruder film and more hits than a viewer can annotate in an hour.
At the 15-second mark, Snider removes and unfolds a note from his back pocket.
The note, two sheets of loose-leaf paper with as much import as a transcript (in block letters) of a confession to malicious destruction of property, exonerating Snider and expunging his academic record, because the dog—the dog!—ate Snider’s homework: the note is sheet music to punk the censors and crowd.
The note is the confession of a Christian and an artist, free of any movement save freedom itself, for the note is the work of a lyricist—a defender of the right to write—who knows pretense is more vulgar than profanity.
The note is a rebuke of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an association for wives of congressmen and senators, and the wife of the secretary of the treasury, who live in Washington but reside in four of the 11 states of the former Confederacy: like Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore of Tennessee, and Peatsy Hollings, wife of Ernest “Fritz” Hollings of South Carolina; like the wife of an old person’s idea of a young person, and the wife of a young person’s idea of an old person’s idea of an old Strom Thurmond.
The note is the urtext of subversion, of how to look dumb and dumbfound a Senate committee, of what it means to know something—to know many things—about the nature of lies and the lies we tell ourselves about human nature.
The note speaks to the fact that Snider knows one big thing, that those who overestimate themselves underestimate the power of a citizen armed with truth.