…And Perhaps Metallica Can Help Us Sort Out This Global Warming Thing

July 29, 2008

Eighteen months ago, Ryan Crocker was confirmed as US ambassador to Iraq and, I confess, I’m not really sure what he’s done during that time period. I mean, I can’t recall reading anything about him (and, probably to my detriment, I try to read a lot on current events).

I also might have just overlooked anything I’ve read about Crocker because when his name pops into my head all I can think of is Iron Maiden. One of the earliest things I ever read about him mentioned his love of Iron Maiden.

So, now when I hear/read “Crocker,” my brain spits out “Iron Maiden” in an involuntary reaction that surely would make Pavlov smile. I wonder if the collected works of Iron Maiden have had any influence on his decision-making (Maiden did draw upon historical events and military conflict a lot for imagery and inspiration). Someone could be basing a thesis on this theme even as I type?

That person shouldn’t be me. I never had a metal phase as a kid, but I did like Maiden. One friend had a younger brother who worshipped the band and my good friend Chris – who skewed more toward Devo, The Cure, and Robyn Hitchcock – truly endeared me to them.

As I recall, Chris had The Number Of The Beast recorded onto one side of a cassette (Maxell, I’d guess) and, on the other, in typical fashion for him – Men Without Hats’ debut. If Men Without Hats had ever influenced foreign policy, there would be a lot more thatched homes, lute-playing little people, and villagers fascinated by maypoles (if you’ve seen the video for The Safety Dance, you understand).

Of course, a part of me is suspicious and wonders if this confession of Crocker being an Iron Maiden fan is nothing more than an attempt to win my heart and mind.

And, I just saw that bizarre 9/11 coin commercial again – would it be possible to buy an Iron Maiden t-shirt in Liberia?

Meanwhile, because sometimes you simply need a little Iron Maiden…

Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills
The song from The Number Of The Beast that hooked me. The song gallops at breakneck speed as Bruce Dickinson wails a lyric about the slaughter of Native Americans. I somewhat remember us chancing across the video on MTV’s Headbangers’ Ball a handful of times.

Iron Maiden – The Trooper
I’ve seen no Maiden while scavaging for vinyl, save for one mangled copy of Piece Of Mind. I couldn’t remember The Trooper, but Paloma has been pushing me to buy a pair of Van’s adorned with the logo for The Trooper. Not as memorable as some of their songs to me, but it is possibly the only song I know with the word musket in it.

Iron Maiden – Two Minutes To Midnight
Suposedly, Ambassador Crocker has a poster from this song hanging in his office. I’m not sure what to make of that as Two Minutes To Midnight is about The Doomsday Clock used by the Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists to denote how close mankind is to nuclear armageddon. For those keeping score, the clock is currently set to five minutes to midnight.

Iron Maiden – Wasted Years
It caused quite a hullabaloo when Maiden used synthesizers on their album Somewhere In Time, but none are to be found on Wasted Years. Lyrical, it fits well with Nike’s slogan of “Just Do It,” and, if Motorhead can be used to sell cell phones, Iron Maiden could certainly sell tennis shoes.

Iron Maiden – The Wicker Man
For something of more recent vintage, The Wicker Man is from Brave New World, which saw the group’s most successful line-up reunite in 2002. Like much of my favorite Iron Maiden songs, it’s more fun than killin’ strangers.