Bender: Holy rock and rollers and nipple discrimination

It's hard to rock across North Dakota while the state Legislature is in session, according to columnist Tony Bender.

Tony Bender

Alright, I may as well come clean.

I store classified Corvettes in my garage next to Hunter Biden's laptop.

Hmm ... Hunter Biden's Laptop ... cool band name, right? I oughta take this up with the boys. Our country/punk ensemble's moniker, “The Turgid Tallywackers,” inspired by recent Republican legislation, hasn't inspired the kind of attention we'd hoped for. Basically, arrests — most recently when we opened in Valley City for a West Fargo-based band of legislators, “Captain Kangaroo and the Bullies for Christ.”

While I'm no fan of the swamp/polka genre, “Polka Salad Annie,” is getting some airplay. I even saw breakdancing on Facebook Live during The Flag morning show. Coulda been a seizure.

Our troubles began when our singer, Johnny Crash, doffed his shirt at the Din of Inequity and was summarily dragged off in cuffs (which he's sorta into, anyway) for violations of the North Dakota Drag Show Code. As George Santos says, “You'd think they'd give Grammy winners more respect.”


The issue was Johnny's tattoo of the Venus de Milo. It's pretty cool, actually. Their belly buttons even line up. But navels weren't the problem. According to North Dakota Sensible Code, his nipples were legal; her's weren't. Discrimination! Who decided male nipples aren't as obscene as women's?

We clearly need more legislation on weighty issues like this. Surely, we can table tax cuts for the rich while we sort out the important stuff. For instance, if someone transgenders from male to female, at what point do their nipples become illegal? And what's the mandatory sentence for nipple offenders?

Unsurprisingly, the “Valley City Incident” went virus (and ominously, the vaccine could soon be banned). Personally, I found the exposé written by the loco (typo) editor patently unfair. Because it was mostly true. Yes, when I was with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Bender at Woodstock, I did take the brown acid. And Tallywackers bassist Ozzy Heartburn did once eat a gerbil live on stage. Well, we were live. The gerbil less so.

Now, Nipplegate.

Weirdly, despite the adverse publicity, our records started flying off the shelf.

Only to be placed behind the counter by the nuns at the Valley City Library of Bibles.

I understand. It's devil music. But it's not easy being a holy rock and roller, either. Minot Rep. Jeff Hoverson , America's premier ministerial cowbellist, missed Burning Man last year because he refused to have his bangers mashed by the TSA. They oughta call it T&A. It's basically legalized fondling. They might have been infiltrated by “the gays,” some of whom idolize him as the “Brad Pitt of the Pulpit.” They're taking over, you know. If you get a chance to see Hoverson perform, his rendition of “Do You Think I'm Sexy?” just slays.

Then there's Sen. Janne Myrdal , lead tambourinist for “Hot but Mostly Bothered.” Touring's become “dern-near” impossible because her chastity belt consistently sets off alarms at the airport. Plus, authorities inevitably confiscate her WD-40. Which can lead to bathroom emergencies. Rust, you know. Once, they had to summon the Jaws of Life.


So her band won't be touring with the “Sanctimonious Buzzkills” this year. However, they will play occasional accusatory dirges at the Red River Women's Clinic. You ain't heard nothing till you've heard “Baby, What a Big Surprise” on pipe organ.

God Bless America, wherever it is.

Opinion by Tony Bender
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column from North Dakota for Forum News Service.
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