In April of 2012, Detroit native and master of the incendiary sound bite, Ted Nugent, stood before a crowd of NRA members and stated, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year. Why are you laughing? Do you think that's funny? That's not funny at all. I'm serious as a heart attack."
Sixteen months later, Barack Obama is president and Ted Nugent is alive, though not in jail. I can't help but think that, had a prominent liberal such as Bill Maher or Michael Moore made a similar statement regarding a Romney presidency, the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the Insane Conservative Posse (note the Detroit allusion) would be all over it like a birther conspiracy, demanding death or jail time forthwith.
This, despite Nugent's odious comments before an association of entrepreneurs in San Antonio, detailed last month in a Washington Post magazine profile. Referencing a conversation he had with Texas Governor Rick Perry, regarding the state's feral hog overpopulation, Nugent offered the following:
"Lots of places have a hog problem. In Texas, the hogs have a Ted problem... And four hours later [referring to shooting from a helicopter with an M4 machine gun] I had 450 dead hogs." He concluded mellifluously with, "And now if they would just take me to South Central [Los Angeles]!"
While stranding Nugent in South Central might make for an entertaining, Bizarro World-esque version of Cops, a calculated response seems more appropriate. Why not provide an opportunity for Nugent to demonstrate his humanitarian side? In other words, why not turn lemons into lemonade (or perhaps more aptly, feral hog entrails into pulled pork sandwiches)?
An Open Letter to Ted Nugent:
For better or worse, you're a son of Detroit. And regardless of whether or not you continue taking a page out of the George W. Bush playbook (specifically, if you wear a cowboy hat long enough people will naturally assume you're from Texas), you'll always be the Motor City Madman ('madman' being the operative word).
And as you may have heard, the city of Detroit is in the midst of an economic crisis. Public workers' pensions are being threatened, and the Detroit Institute of Art's priceless collection could potentially be sold at auction to pay the city's creditors. You strike me as champion of labor, and a culture vulture (probably a Van Gogh connoisseur), and therefore eager to help your hometown.
Consider this: what if there were a way for you to keep your promise -- while not dying, nor going to jail (per se) -- and help the city of Detroit in the process?
I submit the following:
As an alternative to prison, you should serve time as a celebrity resident of the Detroit Zoo. Let's call it the "Ted Nugent Petting Zoo Exhibit," which should compliment the Giraffe Encounter exhibit nicely.
While incarcerated at the zoo, your schedule will entail standard petting zoo resident responsibilities: posing for pictures, getting spat on by impish children, ingesting turnips and carrots hand-fed by tourists, and encouraging everyone to pet your head and stroke your chin-mullet as you smile with feigned delight.
Each night you'll play a free concert covering all of your greatest hits. Additionally, your first encore -- before "Cat Scratch Fever" -- will include a performance art piece where you'll dance the Chubby Checker "Twist" while singing an a cappella rendition of "Hakuna Matata" (for the kids). Simultaneously slinging your feces about is optional.
When winter commences, and the weather is no longer conducive to outdoor concerts, you'll serve as halftime/intermission entertainment for Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons, and Lions games. This will, obviously, include allowing anyone under 150 pounds to ride you like a donkey at the state fair, as well as the occasional duet with the woman who operates a unicycle while flipping bowls on her head (I saw her at Madison Square Garden once, and she killed).
Most importantly, all the proceeds from your efforts will help benefit the city of Detroit. And you might even get your own show on Animal Planet!
Though I've yet to confirm anything with zoo officials, it seems logical for your stint to begin over Labor Day weekend and conclude in January (conjugal visits will be permitted on national holidays, provided researchers from Michigan State University's Department of Zoology can observe for posterity).
The other option, of course, would be for you to go to prison, presumably through the end of Obama's presidency. But considering what I've seen in the movies, from The Shawshank Redemption to Ernest Goes to Jail, American prisons can make the Hanoi Hilton look like a La Quinta.
Please give this proposition a thorough think. I trust you want to keep your word, and given the alternatives, some quality time spent at the zoo seems like a win-win for everyone involved.
In all sincerity, Mr. Nugent, why not turn an empty promise into an opportunity to help the great city of Detroit? Why not set politics, ideology, and all that divides us aside, and use a frequent and familiar unifier -- music -- to do something positive? Michigan, particularly Detroit, has a rich music history. Be the first advocate for three benefit concerts in Detroit -- at Ford Field, at Joe Louis Arena, and at Comerica Park -- with proceeds to support the city's recovery. Make that promise, and perhaps other legendary Michigan artists -- Stevie Wonder, Jack White, Smokey Robinson, Iggy Pop, Madonna, Bob Seger, Diana Ross, Eminem, Kid Rock, Mitch Ryder, Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, etc., etc. -- would collaborate on such an endeavor benefitting the greater good. From one Michigan native to another, take a moment to consider the possibilities.