Why We Shouldn’t Ignore Ted Nugent or His Fellow Crackpots

FILED TO: Headline Articles

(Photo: Nugent with Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) at the 2013 State of the Union.)

Whenever extremists blurt out extreme things online or elsewhere, there’s always a concurrent sub-debate about whether we should pay attention to these people. The most recent case, of course, is Ted Nugent’s meltdown in which he reacted to criticism by CNN with an epic Twitter tirade that included word-salad tweets like this one:

Of course, the remarks that touched off this latest pandemic of Nugent gibberish began when he called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and, within the same rant, a “chimpanzee” (the chimpanzee part is often overlooked). Last week, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer hosted a guest who, while admittedly violating Godwin’s Law, noted that Nazis referred to Jews as subhumans. Following the CNN segment, even conservative leaders like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) condemned Nugent.

Reacting to all of this, Nugent went full berzerker on Twitter, and then only offered a half-assed, excessively whistly apology — “not necessarily to the president” — for his clearly racist statements about Obama.

My friend and colleague at The Daily Banter, Chez Pazienza wrote last week in a post titled “Who Gives a F*ck What Ted Nugent Thinks?” that “quite frankly you’re never going to get those people to shut the fuck up anyway.”

Getting extremists on both radical wings of the political debate to shut the fuck up shouldn’t really be the goal. Chez is absolutely right: Nugent will go to his grave (not swiftly enough) babbling in word-salad riddles about killing woodland critters just to watch them die, while trolling any liberals within earshot, accusing them of hating the Second Amendment and [insert self-satirical Nugent cliche here].

Instead of lapsing into outrage comas attempting to silence people like Nugent, the more effective goal should be to, quite simply, discredit and marginalize these crackpots. If someone — anyone — with a reasonably tall soapbox chooses to say something controversial, they should be prepared to be treated accordingly because, as we’ve discussed before, if you market in controversial statements, don’t be surprised or indignant when you stir up, you know, controversy. Likewise, if you choose to associate yourself with a crank like Nugent, be prepared to catch the blood spatter when he gets clocked in the head by CNN or Media Matters or whoever for saying something utterly dumb and offensive.

But let’s tackle exactly why we should, contra-Chez, care about what Nugent and other extremists say.

Primarily, and to repeat, anyone who goes around in public calling African-Americans “subhuman mongrels” deserves to be swiftly and publicly marginalized, delegitimized and exposed as hateful trash. The more effective the marginalization is, the less influence screechers like Nugent will have. As the number of people who take Nugent seriously goes down, the seriousness of the discourse goes up. Who knows whether this works in every case, but shaping public perception is certainly more effective as a tactic than somehow silencing an overzealous kook.

Getting down to specifics, even though Nugent’s musical career is largely over and, let’s face it, barely existed in the first place (Chez’s take-down of Nugent’s music is priceless), he enjoys a considerably high degree of political influence in spite of his reputation as a narcissistic fire-eater. He holds sway mostly over his far-right followers, but also as an NRA board member, a frequent guest on talk radio and cable news and, most importantly, via his close ties with various Republican politicians.

(Photo: Nugent with Texas Governor Rick Perry.)

The latter category is most recently highlighted by his stumping for Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. Should Abbott win, Nugent would ostensibly have a seat at the table within the government of the second largest state in the Union, and one that continues to lurch farther to the right, policy-wise.

Even after the latest round of remarks, Abbott defended his celebrity pal, saying, “I don’t know what he [Nugent] may have said or done in his background. What I do know is Ted Nugent stands for the Constitution. He stands against the federal government overreaching and doing what they are doing to harm Texas.” Yeah, as long as you stand up for conservative principles, calling the first African-American president a “chimpanzee” is fine and dandy.

Meanwhile, Nugent will be on The Dennis Miller Show for an entire hour Monday. He continues to be the host of his own animal-death-porn telecast for the Outdoor Network. (Speaking of which, his fetishistic obsession with killing animals, especially for sport, along with his shilling for the gun lobby is almost as offensive as some of his remarks. Almost.) He was on The O’Reilly Factor earlier in the month. Like it or not, has-been or not, Nugent is a public figure with a respectably-sized fan base. He also has a not-too-shabby 223,000 followers on Twitter — a format, by the way, that’s tailor-made for Nugent’s dollops of simplistic horseshit.

Ignoring him will not make him go away. It’ll only allow him to more freely peddle his hateful crap-on-a-stick.

Indeed, ignoring the crazies is not unlike ignoring a suspicious mole. It might make you feel better to not worry about it, but it won’t keep it from ballooning into something serious. And yes, I just compared Ted Nugent to skin cancer. With apologies to skin cancer.


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  • Gary Chompts

    I’m a little confused. Do you have better things to do other than spend time on internet. I read through this article. You may be the hate mongerer. I can’t read into tea leaves, but I am getting tons of bad vibes from your hate speak about Ted Nugent.

    Don’t the like 1970’s? Don’t like Entertainers. Want to push an agenda. That I don’t join in your hate speak about Ted Nugent makes you want to “Shut people up” Well our country has alot of liberals who didn’t serve in the US Armed Forces.

    My family did. I have read numbers of threads we’re yes every crackpot, conspiracy theorist and rambing fools thought that Ivy leaguers, big leaguers, winners, real God fearing Americans would say Amen to everything you said.

    I’m not for you or against him. Isn’t what your doing hate speak? Don’t you think that by now your family is suffering enough because your neglecting your real responsibilities.

    I kinda think you know you need therarpy. I can tell. I’ve run into your kind before. Liberal left who doesn’t want to participate in the American experience. So you head to internet.

    I might not be Moses. But I am wise to your game.

    Get real.

  • Tammy Minton Haley

    this is my first visit here, thank you NintendoWii10, who i know from mediamatters.org

    why shine a light into the cockroach nest that is nugent’s mind?

    because he’s not the mirror, he’s the reflection…he’s not the cause, he’s the symptom…

  • nathkatun7

    Bob, I am with you 100%!

  • Dago T

    Dear Banter:
    When referencing Teddy from here on out, could you modify his name to include “feces eatin’ or some such, after his performance with the Skippy or Jif to dodge the draft?

  • waspuppet

    Back in the early 90s the smart, savvy liberals told me that Rush Limbaugh was so obviously ridiculous that the smart, savvy response was to ignore him and he’d disappear. That worked like a charm, didn’t it?

    Last week, one of my Republican co workers said “yeah, what he said was reprehensible but why do you care so much?” And when I told him “because he’s standing arm-in-arm with the probable next governor of Texas,” even this guy said “Yeah, OK, I get that.” Why is that so hard for so many of us?

  • Schneibster

    As a musician myself, I wouldn’t call anything Tedly did special in any way. It was good party rock-n-roll, nothing more. Fun to play, not challenging. OTOH he did manage to put on a good show and it sounded good, which is as important in RnR as playing well. Only, too fuckin’ loud. The only time I went to a concert that featured him without earplugs, I retreated to the third deck of the Oakland Coliseum, AKA “mount Davis,” and still had tinnitus for three days, disturbing for a musician.

    He’s also trying to escape anonymity in politics using the same tactics: too fuckin’ loud.

  • Ashes Defacto

    We shouldn’t stop at merely not ignoring this crumb. Every Republican candidate running for office from President all the way down to local school board needs to be forced to answer as to whether or not they endorse the lifestyle and perspective of this bigoted draft dodging drug addled self proclaimed pedophile and all round world class hypocrite.

  • Christopher Foxx

    As I said in comment on Chez’s posting:

    I think attention SHOULD be paid to Ted Nugent. I think he should constantly be held up as an example of the things, of the policies, attitudes, panderings, shamlessness, crudity, selfishness, utter lack of intelligence or ideas that “conservative” politicians embrace.

    He should be popularized and promoted as an example of all that is wrong with Americans to the extent that no politician of any stripe should want to be associated with him in any way.

  • tienle

    I think you could go through this article and substitute Sarah Palin for Ted Nugent and it would be just as accurate. Paying attention to her didn’t help anything. She was even closer to having a seat at the big table. Pointing and laughing seems more effective to me.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      I actually don’t think that’s true. The attention that Palin received emphasized what an idiot she was and it actually made lots of people realize it. Maybe it DID have an affect the election. I have no numbers to back that up and I would love to see research on it, but that’s my impression.

  • trgahan

    We also can’t ignore the Nugent’s of our media cultural because it is not WHAT this or that individual says so much as when they say it a disturbingly high number of citizens (enough to swing elections and/or influence advertising revenue) nod emphatically and scream “Hell, YEAH!” These people ARE the primary, consistent, voting base of one side of political spectrum. If these antics (or for that matter the entire FoxNews empire) didn’t sell/influence elections, we would never hear idiots like Nugent, even in the internet age.

    If we don’t expose and remind ourselves who the consumers of all this bomb throwing are and what they REALLY believe we get buried the media propaganda trying to hide the group’s true motivations. These are the same people with the miss-spelled signs, tri-quarter hats, and racist pictures of Obama that, pre-election, were only reported as “grass roots fiscal conservatives concerned about government spending.” And, at least in MSM circles, the mask of the Tea Party was only allowed to be taken off when the results were in….

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Check out the comment thread on this article on Crooks & Liars. There’s some back-and-forth there between me and a gun enthusiast, in which inter alia he has to validate an invalid analogy by claiming that a person’s body is that person’s property.

    As soon as he did that I ended the conversation.

    The body is one’s person, not one’s property. A person is not property. The human body can never under any circumstances, in any context, be considered “property.”

    Absolutely these people should not be ignored.

    • i_a_c

      Dude is a moron. I would have cut him off as soon as he went on his voter ID non-sequitur, which was his very first reply. I’ve said this before but you have the patience of Job with these wingnuts.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I basically ignored that. Amazing how I got drawn in not on gun issues, but on whether motor vehicle registration is “for tax purposes” or for liability purposes. Amazing how these folks can lie to themselves to defend the indefensible, and keep their house of cards from falling down.

        Amazing also how they reveal who they are without realizing it or intending to. “My body is my property,” he says, “that’s the basis of property rights.” No, that’s the basis of slavery.

  • missliberties

    But isn’t Ted Nugent a ‘good christian’? You know like Putin.

  • Collin237

    Or the other definition of “suspicious mole”! LOL

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    And yes, I just compared Ted Nugent to skin cancer. With apologies to skin cancer.


    I agree Bob. Any time a public figure says racist, hateful things we have an obligation to point that out. If he was a nobody, who’d care? But he isn’t, unfortunately, a nobody. Shaming them, if possible, or at least pointing out just how wrong what they’ve said is and shaming the people that help to keep him in the limelight, is like cutting off that pre-cancerous mole. Nip it and him in the bud.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Anyone willing to stand with him in public, or not publicly denounce him, should be confronted with that. I usually can’t stand Wolf Blitzer, but at least during his recent interview of Rick Perry he repeatedly brought up Perry’s support of Nugent and his refusal to condemn him.

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        Yeah, I can’t stand Wolf either…but sometimes he surprises me and does the right thing. Good on him. We should all email him and tell him so…and maybe it will affect how he reports in future……..is that too much to hope?

  • Stellours

    Thank you for the support of the animals.
    Was there really a time when someone only had to say “shame!” and it was good enough to really shame someone?

  • Dave van Duzer

    ditto. regret having been in the same room with the man


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