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Fear of a Keith Moon Planet

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Let's say we're back in the 1970s, and you want to be in a rock band. Beyond possessing at least a modicum of musical ability, there are several other pre-requisites to fulfill, e.g. long hair, sex, heavy drinking, sex, drug use, sex, intolerable drum solos, sex, and, of course, an innate ability to utterly demolish hotel rooms without an ounce of guilt or remorse.

How many yarns have been spun and books written and documentaries shot about classic rockers like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and The Who being banned from entire hotel chains after turning their rented rooms into potential Superfund sites? The legend of The Who's Keith Moon's was built as much on his motel madness as his drumming dexterity. As explains, Moon was known for "stripping naked in airports and on television shows, destroying hotel rooms, swinging from chandeliers, throwing televisions out of hotel windows, (and) putting cherry bombs in toilets" while estimates that the total damage "wreaked by Moon around the world over a span of 14 years was ... about $500,000."

Did George Bernard Shaw know something we didn't when he declared: "I don't know if there are men on the moon, but if there are, they must using the earth as their lunatic asylum"? Consider this recent come-on from a British travel website: "Los Angeles has more rock 'n' roll landmarks - and more trashed hotel rooms - than any other city, making it a mecca (sic) for music fans and trivia buffs." Thanks to folks like Tommy Lee and Sid Vicious, it's become socially acceptable-admirable even-to leave your borrowed digs in far worse shape than when you found them. But it's all harmless fun, right? Besides, who cares once you're gone? Hmm ... I smell a metaphor brewing.

But first, I suggest you look at your watch, check the time, and consider this: Since yesterday at this hour, 13 million tons of toxic chemicals were released across the globe; two hundred thousand acres of rainforest were destroyed; more than 100 plant or animal species went extinct; and 45,000 human beings died of starvation (most of them, by the way, were children).

We now return to our regularly scheduled metaphor (or is this an allegory?):

Imagine Planet Earth as an enormous, overbooked, and understaffed Holiday Inn Express. Now imagine the mass of humanity as, say, Ozzy Osbourne on tour...without his wife around to supervise. Go one step further and picture the politicians, generals, CEOs, and all those other "deciders" who are unable to see past the next fiscal quarter as none other than Keith Moon the Loon himself. Indeed, Hotel Gaia is in for a long, long night.

At some point, however, the hotel bill will come due. And make no mistake about it-based even on the tiny sampling of damage detailed above-this metaphorical bill will give new meaning to the phrase "dark side of the Moon." Are you ready?

Mickey Z. is the author of several books, most recently 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know (Disinformation Books). He can be found on the Web at
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Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at
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