Hot Rocks, Literally

Hot Rocks, Literally

Horner Op-Ed in Tech Central Station
January 01, 2003

"This Is Spinal Tap", the seminal, satirical Rockumentary, "capture[d] the sights, the sounds…the smells of a hard-working rock band on the road." This classic now begs a remake, incorporating a send-up of the rampant hypocrisy of, say, drug addled sexagenarians moralizing over the world's failure to lead simple lives of inconspicuous needs. "Tap's" producer, Rob Reiner, is unlikely to cooperate in such a project, so real life may have to do. And it will do wonderfully.

According to The Washington Post, the Rolling Stones are tossing a free concert to "raise awareness about global warming." Global warming, of course, is code for the purported catastrophic, human-induced interference with the earth's climate as a direct result of our "over consumption" and the widespread use of energy (fossil fuels). The venue is Los Angeles, that global epicenter of leading a measured existence. After some deep consciousness-raising, Mick and The Boys have decided to tout a theory that many highly credentialed academics have called into doubt. Harvard's Dr. Sallie Baliunas and MIT's Dr. Richard Lindzen are two of many having ably exposed the so-called "scientific consensus" about human-induced climate change as fantasy. Portrait of Responsibility The Stones doubtless contribute to the composite that is the trouser-stuffing foursome "Tap", trailing a detritus of legal and personal problems against which Reiner's subjects pale in comparison. Though they now pose as moral arbiters, it remains difficult to set aside Meathead's muse having earlier pioneered rock star punch lines from serial substance-abuse interventions to a child bride and organized public urination. This collective portrait of responsibility now knows unacceptable behavior when it sees it, and The Stones see it in affordable fossil fuels. This predictable, if curiously late-in-coming adoption of fashionable bubbleheaded feelgoodery offers such a Beggar's Banquet of gluttonous mockery it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Steel Wheels Last time the Stones tried this free-concert-with-a-message shtick was at the Altamont Raceway, best remembered for a concertgoer dying of stab wounds inflicted by the security posse engaged by The Stones, Hell's Angels. That night amid the chaos the band's pleas for shelter yielded rescue, emotional and otherwise, in a helicopter powered like their tour buses and plane by some magical energy source. The Angels, of course, are best identified with their lifestyle dedicated (in relevant part) to the freedoms of fossil-fueled automobility. These hirsute colleagues and their Steel Wheels will provide No Security this year. The presumptive moral of the likely non-acoustic, flood-lit and over-amplified show is that our gluttonous consumption of energy toward must be dramatically scaled back or we're all gonna die. Metamorphosis , it seems, is very in. At the time of Altamont, The Boys found objection in a man trying to tell them how white their shirts should be; now they want to make you sit on your neighbor's lap on the way to work and fiddle with your thermostat. Their present-day shamans were back then warning of an energy use-induced ice age; they've turned on a dime bag as to the calamity - now it's getting hotter, not colder - but the cause is still you and me. Will the sermon be brought to us by wind mills? If I don't see some beheaded California Condors of the sort littering the bases of real L.A. windmills, that Ron Wood's got a lot of 'splainin' to do. How about solar panels? And we're not talking about some nugatory gadgets trotted out for show in the stadium lot - presumably empty of cars, as no self-respecting global warming activist would be caught dead driving to this mosh. According to one Stones chronicler, "in the minds of critics and historians then and now, the tragic Altamont concert spelled the end of the 'Peace and Love' era." Maybe I've gotten into Keith Richard's stash, but wouldn't it be great if the inane Stones moralizing this February ushered in a similar sobering in the consciousnesses of the unwashed? Would it not speak volumes about man's capacity for critical thought if Greenpeace were to at least picket energy-slurping rock concerts agonizing over the alleged horrors of prosperity? Now, that would be Satisfaction.