Flipping channels the other day I was surprised to see that the rock and chat show hosted by hardcore icon Henry Rollins (who turned 48 on Friday the 13th!) on the Independent Film Channel still hasn’t been given the boot. I still remember one of the original episodes years ago that literally made me cringe when the middle-aged punk rocker, absurdly deferential and so clearly out of his league, interviewed maverick director Werner Herzog. It was the first time I realized Rollins’ problem, that in his thirst for knowledge he devoured facts that he was unable to digest, only spew them back up like after a bad drinking binge. He’s an intellectual poseur really, a geek wanna-be, and what’s so ironic and disturbing is that he’s forever going against one of the founding tenets of punk rock – just be yourself. Longing to be part of an intelligentsia far out of his reach (“If only I read enough books about black holes maybe I can get Stephen Hawking on the show!”), Rollins ignores his own talents – and remains painfully unaware of his own limitations.
But for me, the truly defining moment came during a segment showing Rollins typing a tongue in cheek letter to ultraconservative pundit Ann Coulter who undoubtedly wouldn’t know Rollins from a roach spray salesman (or did she, in fact, meet him back in the day when the singer achieved what was probably one of his lifetime goals of appearing on her friend Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect”? I certainly could picture Ann and Bill in a prizefighting debate while Rollins looked on like an eager puppy begging to jump in, oblivious to the truth that no matter how hard he worked he’d never have the skills to turn pro). Yet what bothered me most were his smart-ass suggestions to her, that the Republican cheerleader become his “domestic-concubine” who would just “shut the fuck up” and worship him. Hot and bothered me most. With every “shut the fuck up” typed by fingers connected to those brawny tattooed arms I imagined dropping further and further to my knees in adoring submission until I would finally take that punk rock cock in my mouth. So in a sense my sexual frustration watching the beefcake Rollins mirrored his own frustration with himself. I would fuck him in a heartbeat, I thought, if he would only just shut the fuck up.