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By Loren Green
For a guy struggling against criticism of being "too angry to be president," Howard Dean's unhinged concession speech in Iowa on MLK Day may have been the last nail in the coffin, an oratorical gaffe equivalent to Trent Lott's ill-conceived words about Strom Thurmond. Or like Bush if he were to tell a press junket in a moment of unguarded candor, "I mean, like, fuck the poor--what have they done for free trade lately?" But the subsequent "remixes" of Dean's "I have a scream" speech could end up functioning as the kind of damage control no politician could buy himself with a campaign chest the size of, uh, the national deficit. After all, voters flocked to the polls after watching Bill Clinton get down with his sax on Arsenio in '92. Now that Dean's been remixed more times than Basement Jaxx (70-plus tunes in one cursory Googleing), maybe the pundits who were waiting for an excuse to crucify Dean will be drowned out by the college students who were waiting for an excuse not to study late Monday night.
Which is what most of the Dean remixes sound like: The one-laff-or-less work of insomniac students with a pirated copy of Sound Forge and a skate-sticker-emblazoned Graphix bong. But some pro-Deaners have already started to capitalize on the aftermath of Screamin' Dean's tirade. Ball State student Caner Ozdemir affirms on his website, DeanGoesNuts.com (where dozens of the remixes are collected): "I am a proud Dean supporter! I was one before Iowa, and will be one all the way to the White House (YEEAAHH!)"--referencing Dean's impromptu tribute to Dez Cadena in his closing exclamation.
The remixes themselves fall into one of two categories: snippets of the speech grafted onto lame dance beats à la "Rappin' Ronnie" (and about as entertaining), and the tracks where well-known classic-rock caterwaulings are mischievously swapped with Dean's hapless yelp.
You're no Al Jourgensen, Mr. Dean, but a few of the dance mixes are worth a chuckle. In Chris Flyer's "Dean's U.S. Tour," Dean's ranting voice is pitched up to a psychotic bray that approximates Genesis P-Orridge. And on "Deansane in the Brain," you can almost see Dean stalking the stage behind B-Real, mic in one fist and blunt in the other, his necktie lashed across his forehead like a true Yankee cholo. It ought to be abundantly clear by now that I'm loco, ese!
But the cheapest shots are always the funniest. Dean lends his Viking war cry to DJ RSVP's "Immigrant Song," proving that Robert Plant was probably the least absurd force behind Led Zeppelin, and later he becomes the hilarious proxy for Brian Johnson's rock-as-cannonball-as-dildo plosive on Remmen's "AC/DC Remix." Then the ass-ripping catharsis of Dean's scream turns literal in Fritz Liess's "Dean-liverance," as Dean punctuates Ned Beatty's "defining moment." So you really can't blame the man for sounding a little, er...unfocused by the time he shows up late to the Beach Boys session on "Dean's Going to Kokomo": ("Aruba...[CALIFORNIA!!!]...Ooh, I wanna take ya...Bermuda...[AND TEXAS!!!]...") Hey, you try to do a rock tour and a whistle-stop at the same time.
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