Greetings, friends! This week you can call me Mr. Yin-Yang, ‘cause I’m bringing you tales of darkness and light from the high-stakes world of showbiz. First up, the pitch black yin: the feud between Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora continues to rage, leaving fans wondering if these two aging Italian-Americans will ever play hard rock together again. Let’s hope so; they’re very good at it! And now, the blinding yang: get your motor running and head out on the highway—to Eternal Salvation!—because His Holiness Pope Francis blessed hundreds of Harley Davidson motorcycles in Vatican City over the weekend. Pope Francis? More like Pope Easy Rider! So, let’s compare my dreary yin to my vibrant yang and see which one wins this week’s Culture War!
Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora
Few musical partnerships have yielded such agreeable, hard-rocking fruit as that of Jon Bon Jovi (50) and Richie Sambora (53). Together, they’ve written hit songs about all sorts of interesting subjects, including kissin’, lovin’ and, yes, even huggin’! But this wonderful partnership has been in turmoil ever since Richie pulled out of Bon Jovi’s worldwide Because We Can tour last month. Jon says Richie left because he’s drinking again. Richie has denied this and sarcastically suggested his friend replace him with The Edge from U2. So, what’s really going on here? According to Bon Jovi insiders—an elite group whose ranks I hope to join one day—the dispute is really about silly green. You know, money.
The question is: has Jon Bon Jovi been Jon Bon-ripping-off Richie Sambora? I certainly hope not. After all, Richie Sambora is one of the best guitarists in his group. JBJ can’t reasonably expect Richie to play at his best when he’s so broke that he’s forced to go begging in the streets for bread crusts between stadium gigs. The sad fact is, a guitarist needs nutritious foods like beans, cheese, legumes, fresh fruit, and chicken if he’s to play hard rock night after night without falling ill. Besides, Bon Jovi isn’t about money; it’s about entertaining people in their mid-to-late 40s who haven’t heard a new song in 25 years and keep hoping for 1987 to roll around again.
The Blessing of the Thousand Harleys
Being Pope probably sucks most of the time. When you’re not praying, you’re touching sick people; when you’re not touching sick people you’ve got to figure out what to do with the international cabal of pedophiles who work for you. Why, it’s enough to drive a man bonkers! That’s why it was nice to see Pope Francis let his hair down on Sunday, when he got to hang out with a few thousand bikers in St. Peter’s Square. The burly leathermen were visiting Francis to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Harley Davidson motorcycle company, and the Pope rewarded them by blessing their hogs. And while some may find the sight of Christ’s representative on Earth waving his hands over a bunch of machines weird, it’s not. It’s just like the time Christ blessed that fleet of helicopters during the wedding at Cana.
Of course, the bikers weren’t the only ones visiting the Pontiff that day, as USA Today (my news source of choice) makes clear: “Once the service got under way, bikers in their trademark leather Harley vests sat in the square alongside nuns and tens of thousands of faithful Catholics taking part in an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally.” Whoa. Bikers, nuns and pro-life activists? Man, the sexual tension in St. Peter’s Square must have been unbearable. I feel compelled to have sex right now just thinking about it!
This weeks’ winner is (vrrrrooom… vrooooom): Pope Francis AKA Harley Pope-idson AKA Pounder. It was a tough call, but in the end, having a biker Pope seems a lot cooler than worrying about a pair of squabbling hard rock legends. And the influence of biker culture on the Catholic Church can only be a good thing. At the very least, the bikers can introduce priests and bishops to some girls, which would be a total game changer, am I right?