Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Rejected NPR Commentaries (a semi-regular feature)

I watched President Bush campaigning the other day at the Daytona 500. Well, I should say that I read an article about it, later, on the Internet. Though I am the father of two, I am not a NASCAR fan, therefore not a coveted "NASCAR Dad", and therefore shunned by the candidates in this year's presidential election.

But I am a part of a different voting bloc, one whose numbers and power are ignored at the candidates' own peril. I am a "Waiting For A New Beastie Boys Record Dad". It's been six years now since 1998's Hello Nasty, we're disoriented, we're antsy, and we need something-someone!-to believe in.

A little history: me and my fellow Waiting For A New Beastie Boys Record Dads picked up the Beasties' breakout Licensed to Ill when we were in high school, maybe college, maybe junior high, back in 1986 and it blew our minds. Here were these guys-these dorks!-who looked like they could be us but were so much more impossibly awesome. We developed heterosexual man crushes. Our formative adult years were punctuated with well-spaced releases from MCA, Ad-Rock, and Mike D. As we grew older, their music likewise became more mature while still maintaining the kind of playful recklessness that we, the ones who are now Waiting For A New Beastie Boys Record Dads, honestly always lacked but heartily admired nonetheless.

But then, as our 20's ebbed away, and kids started appearing along with their obligatory and incessant Raffi CDs, and middle age loomed, the Beastie Boys stopped. And we became a demographic. A hungry, lonely, desperate demographic. Just look in the eyes of any dad loading a screaming toddler into a minivan. I mean really look at the guy. He's one. We're everywhere. Come get us.

And the thing is, it would be easy for the candidates to incorporate an appeal into their existing styles. Bush could declare, squinting, that he knows the Beasties have been developing material for years and he's going to march in and get it recorded, with or without the UN. Edwards could call upon his trial lawyer experience and long record of helping common folks fight for their right to party. And though it might be risky, Kerry could hurl old copies of Beasties classics like Paul's Boutique and Check Your Head over a fence to send a message that they just aren't good enough any more. Of course, any of the contenders could also promise to nominate Ad-Rock to be Secretary of Illin'. Sure, the pundits would scoff. But that shrewd campaigner would win the vote of every single Waiting For A New Beastie Boys Record Dad across this great nation of ours.

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