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I personally want a president who
can dive into a mosh pit and emerge with his tie straight. If that’s not
a metaphor for aplomb in domestic policies and international relations,
what is?

Yes, besides being a Dignity Thing, it’s a keen test of Ultimate Manhood. I am talking ’bout the
fiery orator and — you should pardon the expression — feisty
conservative, Alan Keyes
, Republican presidential long-shot, who has
caught Gary Bauer’s ire for having flung himself into a mosh pit. It
happened at a Renewing America rally, and Keyes’ jump was either at the
urging of his daughter, or at the instigation of political satirist
Michael Moore
, who promised his cable TV
show would endorse the first candidate to do so. Pick one.

If you feel like you’ve missed the slang-boat, a mosh pit has been defined as “a crowd
of people, typically in front of a stage at a concert, who catch and
sometimes toss a performer or audience member who jumps into the crowd.”

Can you imagine Gerald Ford in a mosh pit? He’d trip.

Bill Clinton? He’d unzip.

John McCain? He’d flip.

Nixon? He’d bring Bebe Rebozo and a bottle of catsup.

JFK? Don’t go there. Just don’t. Camelot and mosh pits don’t mix,
except in a Seymour Hersh book.

Al Bore? He’d say he invented them, then claim he had no prior
knowledge of teenage girls who rarely use them, then natter on about
Tipper’s great new medication for her bi-polarity anyway.

Eisenhower? He’d mow the mosh pit down with a Sherman tank.

Dubya? He’d loosen his tie, roll up his slaves, I mean, sleeves, drop
by the margins with a pair of bodyguards and some very greedy
real-estate speculators, play-on, play-out, party on, Dude, then sell
mosh-pit time-shares for a hefty federal tax-write-off.

Bill Bradley? This boring over-achiever is too tall and too
much the Rhodes Scholar to mosh. Besides, he’d worry it would mess with
his heart medication.

Gary “Mr. Mosh-Envy” Bauer? Though he secretly itches to mosh
himself, he would end up merely carping about his opponent, as we see.

Most of the other current crop of candidates would, I suspect,
squirt the mosh-pit with a high-speed fire-hose to squelch its frenzied
energy and disperse it as a nuisance, a conspiracy, or violation of one
amendment or another.

You get my drift.

Like any American tragically disenchanted with the present political
process and its attendant mediocrity of manpower, I was largely trying
to ignore the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, until I saw
the headline, “Keyes Criticized for Mosh-Pit Fall.”

Hmmm, were they speaking figuratively there? I first wondered to
myself, since my cat, Hobeydoo, an avowed anarchist, devoutly refuses to
discuss this or any other election, at least with me.

Meanwhile, logically applying the pendulum-swing dialectic theory to
this forthcoming presidential election, since, clearly, a
Clinton-tainted Al Bore can’t win, we will obviously get Clinton’s
opposite, meaning a Republican. So, who do you love — someone rich,
corrupt, and soulless who flunks an impromptu pop quiz on world leaders?
Or someone eloquent and earnest and cultured who blasts Moral Decline
and Political Decay and “The Slave Tax” and “Murder in the Womb,” AND
can win at Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, AND Jeopardy?

Clearly, 49-year-old Alan Keyes is TOO qualified for the American
presidency, when you consider that both Bill Bradley and Dubya have had
sub-standard test scores in their time: “Mr. Keyes travels with a laptop
computer, amusing himself by building virtual nations in a game called
‘Age of Empires,’” notes the Washington Post, which went on, “He speaks
French and Spanish and knows a bit of Russian and ancient Greek. He
plays the piano, as well as classical guitar. He quotes everything from
the Declaration of Independence to the Book of Genesis, even foreign
policy papers from the Carter administration.”

And mosh-pit politics is NOT like Bill Clinton honking his saxophone
on national TV to distract a distraught electorate from his personal
peccadilloes.

Actually, the mosh pit has a much deeper psychological meaning. In
fact, it is fraught with significance. To the Freudians the mosh pit
represents the Id, that seething, roiling array of unruly instincts that
may actually govern most of us. To the Jungians, the mosh pit might
represent our collective unconscious, a kind of LaBrea Tar Pit of the
universal symbols that tie and bind us together as a people.

There is something truly atavistic about mosh pits.

They seem to suggest, or inspire, primal bonding. “Seems more a
physical joining of the performer with the audience that affirms the
psychological joining which occurs at the event,” says Daniel J. Benor,
M.D., a wholistic psychiatrist who practices psychotherapy and spiritual
healing. “The outer symbolically resonating on other levels because the
bodies of the participants come together in a dance of trust. A reversal
of the performer driving the concert scene, putting him/herself into the
hands of the audience, who then move the action.”

“Aiolia,” a St. Louis writer and teacher, recalls her first, nearly
mythic encounter with a mosh-pit: “Back in ’81 or ’82, I saw the first
show Bad Brains, a seminal D.C. hardcore band, ever did in Boston, at
Jumping Jack Flash. During the show, the kids were slamming down front
– the term mosh pit didn’t exist, but that’s what was happening. They
were jumping on stage and flinging themselves into the scrum, and the
band didn’t mind. I was young too, but there was no way I was going near
that pulsating mass of humanity. In part, because I’d already started
writing rock reviews, but really because I loathed team sports.”

Naturally, mosh pits have other detractors besides Gary Bauer. “What
do you want me to say about a mosh pit? Actually, they’re pretty dumb,”
reports my Montana friend, “Meta-JJF,” adding, “My only experience with
them is overseeing kids’ behavior during a local concert where I
actually saw one jerk leap into the mosh pit and everybody parted. He
smashed to the floor but was probably too stoned to feel anything,” he
says of the moshing at a youth concert in Helena, MT’s Myrna Loy Center.

And, if we are to consider what “Psycheal,” a Philadelphia counselor,
has to say, Alan Keyes is lucky he lived: “I have had a couple of
university students as patients as well as the son of a friend, who are
into this absurdity. I say absurdity as I also have heard of serious
injuries and I believe at least one fatality. I believe these fans are
risking similar consequences as diving into a body of water where the
depth is not reliably posted. Mosh or mush pit, ban it!”

While the Jews have noshing — a kind of Hebraic grazing — now
politicians have moshing. No, moshing is not yet quite the millennial
version of the Inquisitional auto da fe, but it could be.

We’ll see.

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