Author Topic: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'  (Read 5096 times)

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Offline Cable

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Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« on: July 21, 2014, 09:08:38 PM »
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/gene_simmons_try_being_nice_to_rich_people.html

Quote
"I have been part of the [top] one percent [of Americans in terms of wealth] for the past 30 years, [and] it's fantastic!" he said. "The one percent pays 80 percent of all taxes. Fifty percent of the population of the US pays no taxes. The one percent provides all the jobs for everybody else. If the one percent didn't exist, there would be chaos and the American economy would drop dead."

"Try being nice to rich people. I don't remember the last poor person who gave me a job."

"You know how I spell shameless? P-r-o-u-d.

"People often confuse, at least in my estimation, my pride and self-confidence with arrogance. Because they are not used to people who have an in-your-face, 'take it or leave it/this is how I am' point of view. I'm more like an animal in the jungle that [urinates] on the ground and doesn't ask your permission. 'This is me, this is my territory.' It's simply defining who I am and what I stand for.

"That's called full disclosure, before the facts. Others simply hold their opinions to themselves and never say who they are you. You will always know who I am. You don't have to like it; that's OK if you don't."
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Offline The King in Crimson

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 09:24:47 PM »
Yes, now I will always know that Gene Simmons is an asshole douchebag. Color me surprised. I'd give a more nuanced response but it already exists in the comments section to that article.

"A poor person never gave you a job? Really, Gene? Next time you stand on stage, I'd recommend you take a look at the thousands in your audience and try to remember who put you there in the first place, who's given you the chance to still do what you do today."

Indeed.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 10:39:01 PM »
Even though many bag on rich people too much, as if they are all either greedy assholes who screwed poor people over to make their money or entitled snobs who inherited their money, Gene Simmons' stance here is absurd, but not surprising coming from him.

Offline puppyonacid

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2014, 04:06:52 AM »
I had no idea that the legions of KISS fans worldwide are all CEOs. Who knew?
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 06:00:03 AM »
As usual with Gene, everything to excess.

Although to be honest, I can't fault him for his feelings on the subject (his wording, however....)
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Offline puppyonacid

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 08:03:31 AM »
It's pretty short sighted though.

KISS and Gene Simmons could have not made it. It could be argued that any band that does achieve that sort of success must have had a huge slab of luck along the way somewhere.
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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 08:13:07 AM »
It's pretty short sighted though.

KISS and Gene Simmons could have not made it. It could be argued that any band that does achieve that sort of success must have had a huge slab of luck along the way somewhere.

Clearly... as it wasn't their huge slab of talent that got them where they are.

As usual, I agree with Hef.
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Offline Chino

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 08:16:39 AM »
Quote
"Try being nice to rich people. I don't remember the last poor person who gave me a job."

The those rich guys that are currently giving regular folks a job are frantically looking for ways to get rid of them (self check outs, automated machines, outsourcing, improved efficiency in supply chains, computer programming, etc..). If (when) McDonalds or Dunkin' Donuts could figure out a way to turn their establishments into large-scale vending machines, they'd do it in a heartbeat. The filthy rich give people jobs because they need minions to help make them more money. 

All I know is, Walmart is the largest employer in the country. The six Waltons, who I believe were all on the top 20 richest Americans list last year, have a greater net worth than the bottom 30% of people in this country. Walmart is the largest employer in the nation, yet their employees require more than six billion dollars a year in public assistance. Riddle me that one, Gene.

Offline puppyonacid

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 08:22:23 AM »
It's pretty short sighted though.

KISS and Gene Simmons could have not made it. It could be argued that any band that does achieve that sort of success must have had a huge slab of luck along the way somewhere.

Clearly... as it wasn't their huge slab of talent that got them where they are.

As usual, I agree with Hef.

I don't know if that was sarcasm or not. Just to clarify I'm certainly not saying that Gene Simmons success is undeserved and that KISS are not talented. They're not my cup of tea - but a lot of artists I like talk about the influence KISS have had on them. In that sense I respect the contribution they have made to music.

However, there are artists and bands who are arguably just as talented that haven't made it. The difference really often is that portion of luck. My point being, without that then Gene Simmons would not be part of the "1%" and may well be in an office job grumbling about trying to make ends meet.
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Offline The King in Crimson

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 08:27:29 AM »
It's pretty short sighted though.

KISS and Gene Simmons could have not made it. It could be argued that any band that does achieve that sort of success must have had a huge slab of luck along the way somewhere.

Clearly... as it wasn't their huge slab of talent that got them where they are.

As usual, I agree with Hef.
Well the people willing to buy the tickets, albums, and merch helped too. I'm not trying to denigrate his (their) talent but nothing is done in a vacuum. KISS could've been talented as hell but if no one cared, then no 1 percent whining in 2014.

But yeah, be nice to rich people. Not because they're rich but because they're people. Same applies to the poor and the middle class.

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 08:35:45 AM »
I was being a little facetious... talent is certainly not required for success, and most definitely not in the music business.  How many bands other bands had about as similar talent as KISS, but are nowhere near the global phenomenon that KISS is?  There are many ingredients required to realize the kind of success KISS has achieved.

Gene is a smart business person, I'll grant him that. 
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Offline puppyonacid

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2014, 08:38:06 AM »
I'm still not sure on the point you're making.
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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2014, 09:31:18 AM »
I'm still not sure on the point you're making.

Then don't sweat it.  I was just trying to poke a little bit of fun at Gene that he's part of the 1% not on his talent, but on a lot of factors.
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Offline Chino

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2014, 10:04:31 AM »
What he's trying to say is that Kiss was pretty shitty. Sure they could play instruments, but they weren't that good. Their gimmick was 99% responsible for their success. If they didn't wear face paint, they would have never made it out of the bar scene.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2014, 10:20:01 AM »
What he's trying to say is that Kiss was pretty shitty. Sure they could play instruments, but they weren't that good. Their gimmick was 99% responsible for their success. If they didn't wear face paint, they would have never made it out of the bar scene.
But they had the wherewithal to come up with the gimmick and market the living shit out of it. That to me suggests talent far beyond their music abilities. I'm not defending Simmons, one of the country's leading assholes, but I won't dismiss them as untalented.

The point that poor people made them what they are is a damn fine one, though.  Ironically, it's now the wealthy that support them.
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Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2014, 12:20:03 PM »
Gene is an asshole and he always has been.  He put out a solo album called "Asshole".  But I will always argue with people who say "All makeup, no talent lol".  As touched on in the prog/open minded thread in GMD - just because you don't like something, doesn't mean it's without talent or merit.  It just means that you don't like it.

But yes, Gene is an asshole and this is really not even shocking, coming from him.  This is fairly well expected.

And on top of being in the 1% financially, he's also in the 1% of people who've gotten to bone Shannon Tweed.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2014, 01:02:27 PM »
Seriously Coz? That girl's more cartoonish than his demon character.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2014, 01:05:50 PM »
Gene is an asshole and he always has been.  He put out a solo album called "Asshole".  But I will always argue with people who say "All makeup, no talent lol".  As touched on in the prog/open minded thread in GMD - just because you don't like something, doesn't mean it's without talent or merit.  It just means that you don't like it.

But yes, Gene is an asshole and this is really not even shocking, coming from him.  This is fairly well expected.

And on top of being in the 1% financially, he's also in the 1% of people who've gotten to bone Shannon Tweed.


I've always found him to be repugnant as a person, but he was among the first people EVER to recognize and leverage "mystique" combined with costumes, special effects and all of that "blood" he used to spew all over himself and the stage.


Basically, I admire his business savvy, but admiring him leaves a bad taste in my mouth.



Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2014, 01:40:39 PM »
I think Gene invented the term "merchandising."
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Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2014, 06:58:19 AM »
Seriously Coz? That girl's more cartoonish than his demon character.

I like cartoons.

Offline Chino

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2014, 07:22:50 AM »
Yeah. Cosplay can be a lot of fun.

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2014, 07:36:33 AM »
Also, she wasn't so cartoonish in November 1981.  That's the Shannon Tweed *I* remember.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2014, 08:25:37 AM »
I think Gene invented the term "merchandising."

Nah, he didn't invent it.  He just figured out how to market and make money from it.  :biggrin:
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2014, 02:59:13 PM »
What he's trying to say is that Kiss was pretty shitty. Sure they could play instruments, but they weren't that good. Their gimmick was 99% responsible for their success. If they didn't wear face paint, they would have never made it out of the bar scene.

I disagree with that.   I get that Kiss is a take it or leave it proposition, and maybe it's because I was on board from (close to) the beginning, but it's a fallacy to assume that without the makeup that all else would have stayed exactly the same and the outcome would be different.  Alive! made them celebrities, and it was an album.  Music.   They were doing something right musically even if it isn't your bag, and I have a feeling that Paul in particular would have been a rock star one way or the other.   If the makeup thing didn't work, I believe he could have made it happen in some other way.  Would he be singing "Love Gun"?  Probably not, but I don't think people realize how relentless those two (Paul and Gene) were.   They were going somewhere come hell or high water.  To pass it off as "luck", as if they were sitting in their loft on 23rd Street waiting for stuff to happen to them - as opposed to making stuff happen for themselves - is not accurate. 


Personally, I agree with Hef; Gene is Gene, and if you expect anything else, well, you're not paying attention.   I would question his word choice as well, but even Paul will tell you, Gene likes to hear himself talk.

Big fan of Gene and Paul then and still am now.

EDIT:  I am also probably one of the few people in the world that think Shannon is more repugnant than Gene.  She does nothing for me, though I will agree she took a mean photo back in the day.   Personally, I like Gene; met him once and he was as far from an "asshole" or "douchebag" as you can get.  Second best celebrity encounter of my life, second only to... Paul, who was hands down the nicest person you could ever possibly hope for in a celebrity.   He actually took about 10 minute to talk to my then six-year old daughter, got down on his knee to be at her height, and made her feel like the most special person in the world  She had no idea who he was ("Do you sing "Beth"??") but she knew he was important to Dad and it made an impression on her.   I'm taking her to her first Kiss show in two weeks.  I just hope Paul's voice isn't total crap, though I'm not holding my breath. 
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 03:05:19 PM by Stadler »

Offline El Barto

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2014, 03:31:12 PM »
What he's trying to say is that Kiss was pretty shitty. Sure they could play instruments, but they weren't that good. Their gimmick was 99% responsible for their success. If they didn't wear face paint, they would have never made it out of the bar scene.

I disagree with that.   I get that Kiss is a take it or leave it proposition, and maybe it's because I was on board from (close to) the beginning, but it's a fallacy to assume that without the makeup that all else would have stayed exactly the same and the outcome would be different.  Alive! made them celebrities, and it was an album.  Music.   They were doing something right musically even if it isn't your bag, and I have a feeling that Paul in particular would have been a rock star one way or the other.   If the makeup thing didn't work, I believe he could have made it happen in some other way.  Would he be singing "Love Gun"?  Probably not, but I don't think people realize how relentless those two (Paul and Gene) were.   They were going somewhere come hell or high water.  To pass it off as "luck", as if they were sitting in their loft on 23rd Street waiting for stuff to happen to them - as opposed to making stuff happen for themselves - is not accurate. 

Two problems with that. First off, as I'm sure you've noticed, notoriety has little to do with talent. The bigger issue is that the people who bought it did so because they were fans and the album was as close as they could get to the live experience outside of going. I'm not sure there were that many who heard R&RAN and said "holy shit, what an awesome band" and ran out to buy the thing. It happened, but it's probably not the cause of their celebrity. They were already a famed live band, and that overdubbed recording just help to cement it.

And I've got nothing against them, BTW. I was even alright with their asshole bass player. It wasn't until they pretty much erased Criss and Frehley that I started despising them; just seemed like a dick move.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2014, 03:48:31 PM »
Two problems with that. First off, as I'm sure you've noticed, notoriety has little to do with talent. The bigger issue is that the people who bought it did so because they were fans and the album was as close as they could get to the live experience outside of going. I'm not sure there were that many who heard R&RAN and said "holy shit, what an awesome band" and ran out to buy the thing. It happened, but it's probably not the cause of their celebrity. They were already a famed live band, and that overdubbed recording just help to cement it.

Well, of course your two problems are right on the mark, and I can't argue with you.   You're right; to many it was a souvenir of the most bizarre concert they've ever seen.  So fair point.   

Quote
And I've got nothing against them, BTW. I was even alright with their asshole bass player. It wasn't until they pretty much erased Criss and Frehley that I started despising them; just seemed like a dick move.

I guess I have a hard time understanding why he gets so much hate.   He speaks his mind.  I bet if I put a poll up here asking people to self-evaluate, most would say "I speak my mind and don't care what people think!" as if it was a desireable trait, and yet that is all they are really ragging on him for.   

As for Peter and Ace, don't get me started.   I think the big sin of Paul and Gene with that is that they've tried to have their cake and eat it too.  They're not Axl, and they're not Metallica, they are somewhere in between.  Though to be fair, is there any major band that has allowed half the band to float in and out a total of three times EACH, and been let down every time by those two floaters?  It's sort of unprecedented, isn't it?   I think if you've read the six major works on the early days of the band (the four autobiographies, "Behind The Mask" and "Nothin' To Lose"), the picture is not grey.   And to ask Gene and Paul to kowtow to those two, AND disrespect two guys who argruably gave as much if not more to the band in the interim (Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick) I think that is a lot to ask.  Peter and Ace didn't exactly miss any opportunities to make Gene and Paul look bad, and they were going in the Hall!  The real class act would have been for Ace and/or Peter to go to the Hall, and say: look, you be fair to the band that is Kiss and let at least Eric and Bruce have a nod (Grateful Dead, E Street Band, yadda yadda) and I'll deliver a makeup performance with Gene and Paul.   And make it happen.  Instead of going on Eddie Trunk's show and making faces and snide comments about Gene and Paul, as if either Peter or Ace would have made it out of NYC without them  (NOT).

Offline El Barto

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2014, 03:59:27 PM »
Yeah, I'll try not to get you started on that.  :lol

My issue with Simmons isn't that he speaks his mind. It's that he's an asshole. Al Franken had a great story about him, and the Danger Danger towel story is great as well. At least one is exactly the sort of story he'd be damned proud of and is exactly the sort of thing you'd call assholish; probably why he named titles his biography as he did.
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Offline Cable

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2014, 05:30:58 PM »

My issue with Simmons isn't that he speaks his mind. It's that he's an asshole.



 :tup

The guy has points, and in the country he is entitled to most of his earnings. But as King In Crimson pointed to the one comment, it's the working class that made him the 1%.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2014, 05:48:01 PM »

My issue with Simmons isn't that he speaks his mind. It's that he's an asshole.



 :tup

The guy has points, and in the country he is entitled to most of his earnings. But as King In Crimson pointed to the one comment, it's the working class that made him the 1%.
I'm not sure that's entirely fair. It's certainly the working class that gave him his shot and his seed money. I also won't discount his involvement and what he's done to build himself/KISS into what it is, as well. As I see it, it's the working class that gives Peyton Manning the opportunity to do what he does, but it's his talent that makes him so successful. And before anybody says that Peyton is talented and GS is not, the exact same analogy can be applied to Bill Belichik. It's not musical (or athletic) talent that makes him the godlike bastard that he is. It's mental and interpersonal skills, which he gets to use because the working class buy football tickets, watch it on TV and buy merchandise.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2014, 07:22:26 PM »

My issue with Simmons isn't that he speaks his mind. It's that he's an asshole.



 :tup

The guy has points, and in the country he is entitled to most of his earnings. But as King In Crimson pointed to the one comment, it's the working class that made him the 1%.
I'm not sure that's entirely fair. It's certainly the working class that gave him his shot and his seed money. I also won't discount his involvement and what he's done to build himself/KISS into what it is, as well. As I see it, it's the working class that gives Peyton Manning the opportunity to do what he does, but it's his talent that makes him so successful. And before anybody says that Peyton is talented and GS is not, the exact same analogy can be applied to Bill Belichik. It's not musical (or athletic) talent that makes him the godlike bastard that he is. It's mental and interpersonal skills, which he gets to use because the working class buy football tickets, watch it on TV and buy merchandise.

I agree.  And I'm not sure what the working class helping make him part of the 1% has to do with his comments.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2014, 07:49:50 PM »

My issue with Simmons isn't that he speaks his mind. It's that he's an asshole.



 :tup

The guy has points, and in the country he is entitled to most of his earnings. But as King In Crimson pointed to the one comment, it's the working class that made him the 1%.
I'm not sure that's entirely fair. It's certainly the working class that gave him his shot and his seed money. I also won't discount his involvement and what he's done to build himself/KISS into what it is, as well. As I see it, it's the working class that gives Peyton Manning the opportunity to do what he does, but it's his talent that makes him so successful. And before anybody says that Peyton is talented and GS is not, the exact same analogy can be applied to Bill Belichik. It's not musical (or athletic) talent that makes him the godlike bastard that he is. It's mental and interpersonal skills, which he gets to use because the working class buy football tickets, watch it on TV and buy merchandise.

I agree.  And I'm not sure what the working class helping make him part of the 1% has to do with his comments.

He's basically saying the rich are job creators. Pointing out how the working class plays a role in job creation is a direct response to those claims. Be nice to rich people, yes... but be nice to poor people too.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2014, 09:39:22 PM »
Yeah, without us lowly commoners he wouldn't have gotten a job or made his money. He certainly did a good job of marketing himself and his brand, but if people didn't spend hard earned money on his product it wouldn't matter. I feel safe calling myself part of the poor that gave him a job (I saw a show once, 25 years ago).
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Offline Chino

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2014, 09:48:17 PM »
I bought Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. That movie had a kiss song at the end. I guess I gave Gene a royalty.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2014, 07:21:07 AM »
He's basically saying the rich are job creators. Pointing out how the working class plays a role in job creation is a direct response to those claims.

That is still irrelevant to what he is saying.  Although Simmons' argument itself contains a few reasoning fallacies, this response contains at least two blatant ones.  Simmons mentioned "the poor."  "Working class" and "poor" are not the same.  That is a scope shift (specifically, you are equivocating on the meaning of terms).  You (and others) also commit the same error in trying to equate buying albums and/or concert tickets with "giving him a job."  In the context of his argument, these are not the same thing.

yes... but be nice to poor people too.

That's all well and good.  But, again, that has nothing to do with his statement.  His statement is not suddenly invalid because poor people also deserve to be treated well.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Try Being Nice to Rich People'
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2014, 11:12:17 AM »
Yeah, I'll try not to get you started on that.  :lol

My issue with Simmons isn't that he speaks his mind. It's that he's an asshole. Al Franken had a great story about him, and the Danger Danger towel story is great as well. At least one is exactly the sort of story he'd be damned proud of and is exactly the sort of thing you'd call assholish; probably why he named titles his biography as he did.

I think he'd be proud of both stories, though I find it fascinating that the teller's of the stories themselves each drew different conclusions.   I frankly think Al Franken is an asshole - a bigger asshole than Gene Simmons - and his telling of the story was in a context that would encourage hyperbole.    Ted himself immediately spun the story around to make it a lesson, one it sounds like he absorbed, recognizing the context of the story (his story about Paul singing his name is a classic as well).

Not coincidentially, Franken's story was '82, and the audio of it CLEARLY implies that Simmons' English was at the least stilted.   I met him on the Lick It Up tour, 1983, and it was as I said the second best celebrity encounter I've ever had.   I had the booklets from Alive! and Alive II with me, as well as the Killers and Lick It Up albums (Gene and Eric signed the Killers LP, Paul and Vinnie signed the Lick It Up LP).  It was a Meet and Greet, and it went Gene-Paul-Vinnie (who stood back from the table sucking a tall boy)-Eric.   Paul was chatting up the two women in front of me so I got "stuck" in front of Gene.  Note that:  for all his cocksmanship, the girls were talking to Paul, and rather than ignore me he started talking to me, a 17 year old jackass.  He asked me what I had and I showed him and he started telling stories ("You know, this shot [the cover of Alive!] was not in a concert; it was staged to get the right angle!") and he asked me which was my favorite costume (from the cover of the Alive II book; I said then and still do think the best was the Love Gun era) and he asked me my favorite album (then it was Creatures and Hotter Than Hell).   His English was perfect, and he could not have been more pleasant and polite.   Granted, none of this says he ISN'T an asshole, and certainly if the Franken story is true as told that IS an asshole move, but I will say I think Gene is an easy target (mostly because he puts himself out there as a target).