Studies in Human Pathology
A Tale of Two Teds
The Strange Case of Compulsive Hunter and Fulltime Asshole Ted Nugent
[Or How to Flaunt One’s Depravity All the Way to Public Acclaim ]
“I recently saw the VH1 documentary about Ted, and saw that he takes a lot of pride in teaching today’s youth about the importance of archery, self-discipline and respect for wilderness. (sic) After seeing you and your small children all involved in the sport, I purchased a bow and equipped my two sons. They enjoy it very much.”–Patrick McCarthy, California
“There’s a sucker born every minute, but none of them ever die”—Joseph Bessimer, a notorious confidence trickster of the early 1880s known to the police as “Paper Collar Joe”. (Bon mot wrongly attributed to P.T. Barnum)
PATRICK McCARTHY’s BENIGHTED OPINION OF TED NUGENT is testament to the truth of Bessimer’s infamous dictum. Idiots may always be with us. But what’s the reality behind the well-polished good ‘ole boy act? At 61, Ted Nugent, heavy metal rock star for several decades, has been cheerfully “whacking” animals for 44 years. “Whacking”, of course. is Ted’s own cute term for what he loves to do best when he comes across an unsuspecting animal. And that’s to put big arrows into or through his body with the obvious intent to maim and kill. Whacking animals is very big in Ted’s intimate circle, where he is, of course, the “Whackmaster”. Yeah. Ted is simply crazy about bow hunting.
But his natural sensitivity, and to some extent the burden of now being in the spotlight as a self appointed national evangelist for the activity and even the possibility of political office as a GOP avatar, have injected oflate a measure of restraint in his utterances. Ted these days is not too happy when people around him refer to bow hunting as just ‘a recreational sport.” That’s loose talk. What he does. (please note the difference), and what he’d like many, many millions of fellow Americans and people around the world to do is to practice bow hunting as a life‑style.
It follows that at the Nugent compound meat doesn’t come from the supermarket. Oh. no. In the Nugent tradition, the men go out and hunt their meat, and that’s no sissy figure of speech. But. wait, there’s a bonus. Ted, who claims with a straight face that he’s never done drugs and that he’s thrashed anyone who ever offered him some, is certain of another thing: killing animals for food and fun can also keep you clean. Yes, the ills ofsociety‑‑crime, despair, drugs. poverty—they will all miraculously vanish if people will just stay away from junk and go hunting, er, bow hunting, that is. So after decades of cutting a figure as an unreconstructed rebel, a visceral anarchist without a program, Teddy has arrived, to become, of all things, a wholesome, clean‑livingAmerican, a real stand‑up guy kids can look up to. In fact, as he never tires of saying, why do drugs when hunting and the outdoors are much greater highs?
Patrice Greanville is Cyrano’s Journal founding editor and publisher. This is an updated version of an original piece published in 1991.
TED NUGENT: KNOW YOUR RIGHTWING SPEAKERS (CAMPUS PROGRESS WEBSITE)