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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Queer in your Ear

Date: June, 1999

Transcribed by
Some Guy (


Also troubling is Toolís video "Prison Sex." Yes, one of the 
boys in Tool (I can never remember who) is an out fag, 
but "Prison Sex" is most certainly not an outtake from 
Poison. Rather, the subject is child molestation. Itís animated 
by the reclusive Brothers Quay, whose gothic stop-motion 
technique brilliantly augments the barely-held-together 
recollections of a (fictional?) abused child. The abuser is a 
sleek black figure (think what you will about that symbolism) 
towering over the legless, one-eyed toddler.

Locked in a dingy, morgue-like room, this despoiled 
Pinocchio turns for escape to the slide-out drawers that line a 
wall, but only manages to unleash a doppelgšnger with a 
segmented body and rows of legs. "I have found some kind 
of temporary sanity in this shit, cum and blood on my 
hands," bellows Tool singer Maynard James Kean, whose 
tormented, portentus vocals, so tiresome in other Tool 
songs, are only apt here. Physical contact between abuser 
and child is limited largely to a metaphorical buffing by a 
paintbrush. When the child raises its hand to stop the 
painting, itís the gentle way the abuser flattens the hand 
back down to the floor that always gets to me.

The video edits out the naughty words I quoted but was still 
deemed too much for Much(Music), which has aired it all of 
once (at 12:30 in the morning). Funny, though, how shooting 
your abuser dead (Aerosmith, "Janieís Got a Gun"; Garth 
Brooks, "The Thunder Rolls"), a photo of a prisoner roped 
between two trees (Billy Joel, "We Didnít Start the Fire"), and 
provocative fetus, reefer, and Ku Klux Klan imagery 
(Nirvana, "Heart-Shaped Box") are all deemed suitable for 
round-the-clock airplay while a skilful treatment of child 
abuse thatís at once oblique and visceral is not. Paging 
Moses Znaimer! Donít we have a duty to bear witness to 
searing artworks of this sort? We donít need you to tell us 
that "Prison Sex" is too heavy for our own good.

Posted to t.d.n: 08/14/02 17:08:04