Issue 026—Oh No You Didn’t—Features: Five Favorite Controversial and Hilarious Pop Culture Moments On TV, Sinéad O’Connor, Valerie Solanas, Hunter S. Thompson, Bonnie And Clyde, Elvis Found Alive, The Beatles vs. Jesus, Prince, Zodiac Mindwarp, John Cale, Except Rap And Country, Pro Wrestling, Iggy Pop, Sibling Rivalry, Gay Stereotypes On TV, Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes, Pierre Trudeau, Catfish, Banned Books.
Over the last few weeks, the blogosphere was in an uproar over SOPA and PIPA, two pieces of proposed legislation set to appear before the House and the Senate in January. While the alleged intention of the legislation was to thwart online piracy of movies and other media, opponents expressed concern that the actual effects of the bills would be far more insidious and damaging to the Internet, claiming that it would drastically change not only the structure of the Internet, but the way people use it. Although both SOPA and PIPA are US legislative proposals, there was an overwhelming fear that they would cripple Internet usage on a global scale.
By Ann Clarke
I rarely care about what the famous (and the infamous) do that stirs up controversy or awkwardness . . . but sometimes that shit is just hilarious! I am not talking about “Reality TV” either; I’m talking about the stuff that you weren’t really expecting—but were NOT surprised once it happened—and over which you had a good laugh. There have been plenty of moments like this in pop culture, but I’m only going to list the ones that I could watch over and over again and still laugh at hysterically. In fact, some of these things get funnier upon multiple viewings!
By Emily Carney
On October 3, 1992, Sinéad O’Connor was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Her first performance of the night was the song “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home” from her album of standards, Am I Not Your Girl? Nothing seemed remotely untoward until her second performance of the night, an a capella version of “War” by Bob Marley. Most of us know what happened at the end of that performance, but in case you missed the show or don’t know anything about Sinéad O’Connor, let me refresh you: She took a picture of then-Pope John Paul II, ripped it in half, and shouted “Fight the real enemy!” The performance was never replayed again. Sinéad was attacked mercilessly by Catholics the world over for her gesture and, to this day, this incident remains one of the most controversial things ever aired on live television in the United States.
In June of 1968, a woman named Valerie Solanas rode the elevator up to The Factory, Andy Warhol’s loft. In the elevator with her was Andy Warhol himself. In the Factory’s office was Mario Amaya, an art editor from London; Fred Hughes, one of Warhol’s assistants; and Paul Morrissey, Warhol’s executive producer. Morrissey walked into the bathroom. Within a few minutes, Solanas pulled out a .32 caliber gun and shot Warhol three times. She then shot Amaya in the hip. Hughes begged her to stop. When she fired the gun at him, it jammed. Just then, the elevator doors opened and Hughes told her get on. So she did.
Soon after, Valerie turned herself in to police. When questioned by the media outside of the police station, Valerie said that her reasons for shooting Warhol were “very involved. Read my manifesto and it will tell you what I am.” Solanas served a three-year sentence for attempted murder and died in 1988.
Over 40 years have passed since the shooting, but people are still asking the question “Why?”
By Paul Casey
“We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
Coupled with Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I, there is no more cherished catharsis for the teenage crowd than the work of Hunter Stockton Thompson. Or the drunk crowd. Or the drugged crowd. Or the drunk and drugged teenage crowd. Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the wonderful Terry Gilliam adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, are the blueprint for so much debauchery and casual destruction. Apart from the compelling joys and miseries of sucking from the Gonzo cock of hyperbolic substance use, Thompson is one of the most emulated crusaders in the truth game.
By Less Lee Moore
“Why? What’s you mean, ‘Why?’ Because you’re different, that’s why. You know, you’re like me. You want different things. You got somethin’ better than bein’ a waitress. You and me travelin’ together, we could cut a path clean across this state and Kansas and Missouri and Oklahoma and everybody’d know about it. You listen to me, Miss Bonnie Parker. You listen to me.”
—Bonnie and Clyde, 1967
Elvis Presley is alive and well and living in Simi Valley. Or at least that’s the claim of Elvis Found Alive, a new faux-documentary from Highway 61 Entertainment, who brought you Paul McCartney Is Really Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison (reviewed here). This time around, they’re doing a complete 180, revealing a conspiracy to fake a death instead of a life.
By Ayan Farah
It’s pretty hard to evade controversy when you’re in the most popular rock and roll band in the history of the world. Especially when you’re its most outspoken member. That band is, of course, The Beatles, and the aforementioned extrovert is none other than John Lennon.
By Paul Casey
Those who are only familiar with Prince as a traveling hits tour; one who thinks that Biblical coincidence—hello! 3121 perfume—is a guarantee of good business; and who makes deranged cultish put-downs of homosexuality and his old friends may not be aware that he was once something else. Some omni-sexual thing that was an expert in transgressive pop music and performance. Some deviant, perverted thing that ejaculated guitar semen onto his audience. Some ballsy twentysomething who wore black underwear and a trench coat to a Stones concert. Some kind of genius.
From 1978’s “Soft and Wet,” the only sign of Prince’s genius on his debut For You, sex was the thing. Indeed, even now a decade following the misunderstood Jehovah’s Witness tribute The Rainbow Children, sex is still the thing. While most casual fans of Prince are aware of the mention of used Trojan condoms in “Little Red Corvette”—a song and line which is still performed today—or what “Cream” refers to (also still performed), there is a depth of perversion in his music which passes many by.
Prince’s sexual creativity touches areas which make even his longtime fans uncomfortable, including rape, incest, and turning lesbians straight. It has also turned out some of his greatest songs. This is an introduction to and celebration of that work.