Nugent stirs campus with hard-line views
College Republicans' speaker weighs in on drug and alcohol usage, Native Americans, gays
By Jerome C. Pandell
Conservative activist and rock star Ted Nugent saluted "the attitude, the spirit and gargantuan kahunas for inviting Uncle Ted to share in this educational jihad campfire" with about 600 Northwestern students at Ryan Family Auditorium Friday night.
"Unlike Jerry Garcia," said Nugent amidst cheers from the mostly male audience, "I'm here tonight because drugs, tobacco, alcohol and way too much fast food is for assholes."
Nugent, who was brought to campus by College Republicans, commanded the audience to work hard toward the "American dream, because there's no such thing as a French dream."
"There is a Mexican dream," Nugent said. "It's to get the hell out of Mexico and come to the United States where you're paid for your work."
Nugent -- who often hunts with the native peoples of North America and Africa -- said the American dream is "full of holes" because American Indians "wanted Ted Nugent to teach them how to kill a buffalo with a stick."
"When Indians are abusing substances and dying through intentional misconduct, I suppose you would have to call the Motor City goofball to set them straight," he said. "Today, you bust your ass in America 'til the Fourth of July to pay for the asshole lifestyles of pimps, whores and welfare brats."
College Republicans President Katie Althen said last week the group was bringing Nugent to campus to talk about guns in America -- a topic he only briefly touched on Friday.
"I didn't know what to expect," said Althen, a Weinberg senior, after the event. "He raised a lot of discussion, and he's the most exciting speaker I've seen on this campus."
During his speech, Nugent said he never went to college because he was "too busy learning shit." He credited his father for raising him to eschew drugs and alcohol. "My dad would have ripped my head off and shit down my neck if I stepped out of line," he said.
In the 1960s, Nugent turned down drugs from Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia because "there's some good looking pussy out there, and I don't want to mess with my level of awareness," he said. "If you're not smart, horny will do."
About six audience members walked out when he began a tirade that blamed "butt funking" for the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"Gays get more tax dollars than boys and girls who have leukemia through no fault of their own," Nugent said. "The word queer, fag or homo can't bother 'em because they're funking in the ass. ... If using the term butt funking is indecent, then what is butt funking?"
Evanston resident Nick Bennett, a former NU student, appreciated that Nugent let him talk one-on-one after the speech.
"He was pretty gracious for letting me argue with him," said Bennett, 21. "A lot of his viewpoints I disagree with, but he presents them well, and to form any kind of argument, you need to get all sides."
In a society too politically correct, Nugent said no one separates symbolism from conduct any more. Using the racial epithet "n-word" as an example, Nugent told a story of how one of his Motown heroes in the '60s told him at age 13 that if he kept playing the guitar, he might "grow up and be a n-word one day."
"To me the word 'n-word' is a badge of honor," Nugent said. "But if some Klansman with brown spittle dripping out of his mouth said, 'You ain't nothing but some n-word,' I'd have to shoot him."
Matt McLaughlin, an usher at the event, said some of Nugent's beliefs surprised him.
"Every other word was 'funk,'" said McLaughlin, a Medill sophomore. "He took his views to (an unexpected) end of the spectrum."
Before he left, Nugent charged the audience to "challenge operating procedures" because "the status quo sucks."
Nugent stayed to chat -- and in some cases argue -- with students after his speech. He also offered his own assessment of his performance:
"I feel the speech was a 10, and I came to cause disruption and make people think."
The Daily's David Sterrett contributed to this report.
[Photo Caption: Ted Nugent flips the bird at about 600 students Friday night. Nugent's take on gays caused six audience members to walk out. Molly Smith/The Daily Northwestern]