While people argue over what motivated and inspired Tucson mass murder Jared Loughner, there’s always one scapegoat to turn to: what music he listened to. He’s been described as a “pot smoking, metal listening loner,” who shut out the world with his iPod earbuds. His only favorited YouTube video shows someone (possibly Loughner) burning an American flag while Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” plays. According to Billboard, the band is upset that their 2001 single has been misinterpreted, “again.” Again?
- After 9/11, the song was on Clear Channel’s list of songs not to play on the radio because of its chorus (“Let the bodies hit the floor.”)
- In Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore points out that “Bodies” is one of the songs American soldiers use to pump themselves up for the battlefield (a few years earlier Moore talked to Marilyn Manson for Bowling For Columbine about the way he was associated with mass murder).
- In 2003, 19-year-old Joshua Cookie murdered his parents while playing “Bodies.”
- “Bodies” was one of the songs used to torture terrorist suspect Mohamedou Ould Slahi in 2006.
It’s a terrible song for sure, and probably one that, like Garry Glitter’s “Rock n Roll Part 2,” should only be played at sporting events (and, possibly, laser tag arenas). But does it inspire violence? After articles linking the song to violence and Loughner appeared in the Washington Post, the band released a statement explaining that the song was about “the brotherhood of the mosh pit” and not murder. “We find it inappropriate to imply that our song or rock music in general is to blame for this tragic event,” the band said. “It is premature to make this assumption without having all the facts in the case.”
Still, it’s kind of hard to ignore that this song has been used around and associated with some very terrible things. But using “heavy metal” as some sort of sign of mental illness isn’t right either. Some of Loughner’s other tastes, according to Huffington Post:
The boys listened to the heavy metal band Slipknot and progressive rockers The Mars Volta, studied the form of meditative movement called tai chi, and watched and discussed movies.
Loughner’s favorites included little-known conspiracy theory documentaries such as Zeitgeist and Loose Change as well as bigger studio productions with cult followings and themes of brainwashing, science fiction and altered states of consciousness, including Donnie Darko and A Scanner Darkly.
Could indie movies be to blame? Tai chi? Or could easy access to guns plus mental illness? Ask Mr. Heston:
In somewhat related news, one of Rep. Gabriel Giffords favorite bands is Calexico.