We all remember those people who thought that heavy metal fans were stupid and uneducated.  Well, after Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister destroyed Tipper Gore and her power abusing hen pecked husband (I think his name was Al), the world had to face the fact that headbangers could think and speak as well as anyone.  In fact, sometimes metal bands actually replaced the traditional educational apparatus when it failed.  Such was the case with me, a socialist high school history teacher, and Iron Maiden. 

Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden had band names that sent shivers down the spines of parents, as well as some kids.  For me, Black Sabbath was the force that confronted evil and injustice with an organic pulsating dark sound.  Judas Priest was the catchy and slightly poppier declaration of metal solidarity.  And Iron Madien was the fast, over the top playing of a band that really liked world history.

And that worked out great for me because as an advanced student at University City High School, I was getting a lousy social sciences education.  Actually, the math and English departments were quite solid.  But other than Mr. Coaker, the U. City history and current events teachers were unhappy women pushing personal agendas.  I believe Mr. Coaker was a conservative, but I never had his class.  The women I had throughout my four years at that laboratory for applied Statism were more interested in make statements against those who they were threatened by. 

Maiden’s “The Trooper” was one of the metal anthems of the day.  The song is about the English commander Lord Raglan’s doomed and fool hardy cavalry charge against the Russians during the Crimean War.   Also on that album Piece of Mind is a song about the old fable “Flight of Icarus”, as well as a number about the lead character in the movie Dune.  I remember looking up the history behind the lyrics on those Maiden albums, which is far more than these self-serving, self-righteous “teachers” I had encouraged me to do.  

My junior year history teacher was a light-skinned black woman named Donna Rogers.  She orignally taught at our 80% black public middle school, and though she was a very suburban woman who send her son to a private school, she tried very hard to be “down”.    During the early 80’s there was a big issue in the “black community” (there really is not such a thing) about dark black and light skin blacks.  She made sure that she was in the “all the way black club”.  She even took me to see Louis Farrakhan in 1984, (when I was 12), and defended he and Jessie Jackson’s anti-semitic remarks.

One of Maiden’s staples is “Run to the Hills”, recounting the Indians struggle against the European occupation. Balancing that is the track “Invaders” which depicts the Vikings overrunning of the Europeans.  Dickenson recounts the English and Franks victimization at the hands of “the mighty Norsemen.”  These songs were on the same album, and they taught me something that most public school social studies teachers don’t have the guts or integrity to teach students.  The Europeans got invaded and enslaved, just like everybody else. I also, upon following up on this, discovered that the Islamic Saracens occupied Europe and subjugated whites. 

During one of Mrs. Rogers lectures on how black violence was actually white society’s fault, I mentioned what I had learned years earlier from my Maiden history forum.   She basically said I needed to play ball.  I was never very good at playing their kind of ball.  She once said that any salary over $50,000 was made at the expense of Latin America.  When she was saying that blacks are naturally victims based on skin color, I pointed out that in many Latin American countries her and I would not be in the same race, because I was much darker than her. 

She agreed, but then went on to talk about how white racism binds all blacks.    I saw black and white as artificial constructs, ranges which had no defined parameters.  Then I countered with my high school conservative activist idealism:

Black and white are not based on intrinsic uniformities.   The idea of associating appropriet social behavior or poltical party identification to black and white people is illogical, because physical characteristcs do not have constaining implications on social character.  The impact of appearance comes from how people react, and those choices are not controlled be the traits that constitute us as  black or white.

 Instead of backing her objection to this  with facts, she looked around to the class until they bailed her out with laughter and commotion.  And she was paid over $50,000 a year to fail us.  

The Iron Madien albumns cost me about $4 a pop used. 

Eventually I told her about how Alexander the Great destroyed the Persians army with a much smaller force, and she was offended that I identified with him over the  Persians.  The Madien song of the same name ended with “he paved the way for Christianity”.  When I discuused how his role in advancing Western Civilization made him much closer to me than Darius, she obviously didn’t know what i was talking about and said something about the fact that black people were victims of capitalism.  Somehow, my talking about Alexander the Great got her to admit she was a socialist. 

Donna Rogers is a perfect example of why spending more moneyon public education is a complete waste.  I was getting more out of  the sylabus created by the hard rock band from England than from the “sista girl” who was supposed to be the key to helping the “people” catch up to the man. 

What a joke.

On there 2003 release, Madien had a track called Passchendaele, an epic and grooving metal masterpiece about the World War I battle that saw horrendous carnage for both the English and the Germans.  The British General Haig’s Ypres campaign to capture  PasschendaeleRidge cost him 300,000 dead and wounded, and the Germans suffered 260,000 casualties.  This song got back into studying World War I, the war that many historians disregard.  But that conflict, and the politics that led to it still shape modern events today. 

That’s why I used to refer to Iron Madien as “History Channel Metal”.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Such a pleasant blog post! I’m so pleased you decided to share it.

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