A few months ago, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails included links to Chomsky and moveon.org on nin.com. Following the election, he wrote, "one step closer to the end of the world. the one-two combo of corporate greed and organized religion apparently proved too much for reason, sanity and compassion. it's a sad and shameful day to be an american." I'll admit it: I was overjoyed. As my education and experience have broadened, and as recent world events have unfolded, I have found myself more and more interested in politics -- and everything I've learned and seen has led me to disagree fundamentally with the current American right wing. I believe that art is intrinsically intertwined with opinion and politics as much as with personal emotion. So, since Reznor has had an enormous impact upon me artistically and personally, it seemed only fitting that his political leaning, hitherto unrevealed, was a reflection of my own.
Of course, his Republican fans weren't so pleased. They scrambled to declare that musicians shouldn't push their politics upon fans, insisted his new obviously political lyrics could be interpreted apolitically, or simply blocked their ears and illogically refused to believe that their idol could disagree with their own deeply held Christian conservative beliefs.
Again and again, I asked the question of how these people could stand being Nine Inch Nails fans. After all, if Trent Reznor were to announce that he fully supported President Bush, the war in Iraq, and a ban on gay marriage, I would probably stop buying his records immediately. Given the nature of his music, however, I knew I would never face that dilemma (let's keep our fingers crossed that he never falls victim to Born-Agains or Scientology).
It's true that I would prefer that these die-hard righties weren't fans at all. Frankly, I don't think they deserve his music. Janeane Garofalo commented on The Daily Show last year that "being a Republican this year is more than a difference of opinion — it's a character flaw," and I agree with her whole-heartedly.
Well, it seems that Reznor's own opinion regarding his fans isn't so far from mine.
A close friend had the privilege of hanging out backstage with the band at a recent show in Fresno. The following conversation took place.
Friend: So what do you think of the moral dilemma you've placed your Republican fans in?
Trent: They shouldn't be fans in the first place.
Friend: Can I quote you on that?
Trent (slight laugh): Yes.
Spread the word, liberal NIN fans. You heard it here first.
And buy two copies of With Teeth.