Longhairs Versus Blue Helmets caught my eye.
Heavy metal legend Dave Mustaine and TAS's old friend, Human Events editor Jed Babbin, probably don't share too many overlapping areas of interest. But, as Megadeth's latest offering United Abominations makes clear, the transgressions of a certain international body situated on the East River is one topic over which the guitarist and Inside the Asylum author could have a meeting of the minds.Campaigns and programs for eliminating. That all reeks of bureaucracy, not solutions.
In a mere five minutes and thirty-seven seconds United Abominations' title track encapsulates a litany of complaints against this "blot on the face of humanity," as Mustaine sneeringly calls it, from its practical indifference to ethnic cleansing and state-sponsored terrorism to the "mire of hypocrisy, bribes, kickbacks and corruption" it mucks around in. "The U.N. is where our so-called allies undermine us, and we pay 22 percent of the tab to host our enemies here at home," Mustaine intones during what is almost certainly the only song this year to name check Kofi Annan's son Kojo ("Held hostage by Oil-For-Food/Yet their own plates are full off the fat of their lands/There's no blood on their hands, right Kojo?") thunders along.
"I have a feeling a couple years from now, people are going to be saying, 'Who the f--k is Kojo?'" Mustaine laughed in a recent telephone interview from Amsterdam amidst the hustle and bustle of the United Abominations world tour. "But you know what? I bet some of the kids who bought this record looked his name up after reading the lyrics and know a whole lot more about the Oil-for-Food scandal than they did before."
Not everyone is amused by Mustaine's battering of the blue helmets. "I just wonder which abomination he considers worse: Eradicating polio or ending obstetric fistula?" Mark Leon Goldberg sniffs on UN Dispatch. "Or is it the campaign to reduce childhood mortality rates by two-thirds that gets the aging rocker's blood boiling? I suppose he can take his pick."
"I'm sure the United Nations does some good stuff," Mustaine retorts. "I mean, they've got one of the most beautiful women in the world pushing rice in Darfur. But that's the irony of it all. They'll send those C130s over there full of supplies, drop it off and...the rebels get it. Deliver it all the way if you're going to deliver it. What good is it if it goes to the bad people? Then there are these allegations of women and children being raped by peacekeepers in Africa -- the first time that happens it's a crime, the second time it is a travesty."
It's the lack of outrage that has Mustaine outraged. "Why doesn't Michael Moore do an expose on the UN?" he asked, adding, "When I see Syria on the Security Council [in 2002-2003], am I supposed to feel secure?
And you have to love his thoughts on pumping out inane lyrics for the anthem rock crowd. (which I was shamefully part of once)
"I had labelmates when I was on Capitol Records like Poison who had songs like 'Talk Dirty to Me,'" Mustaine explained. "That never appealed to me. I wanted to do something that was a little bit more profound, even if I didn't really want a bunch of pontificators in the front row."