If Adolph Hitler were a teenager today, he’d no doubt be sporting a shaved head and army boots, and fronting a reich ‘n’ roll band, much like those MTV exposes in “Hate Rock,” an interesting but journalistically superficial look at the rise of racism set to a four-quarter beat.
Hate rock is white supremacist rhetoric accompanied by punk-rock style music. It’s called “Oi” in Europe, where hate rock was born and thrives today — especially in Germany, where the fall of Communism has opened up Berlin to a flood of refugees from all over Europe, Asia and Africa.
Hate rock has made its way West, to Canada and the U.S., and although the hate rock bands come off as noisemakers and posers with no hope of signing with any major label, the MTV special gives a face to this small movement, exposing the philosophy and the frightening way it’s doled out.
However, there are awkward moments that minimize the danger of these supremacists, such as offering one “leader” of teen racists in Florida who seems to wield no power: He can’t organize a single person to protest with him at a gay and lesbian parade.
But the skinhead rockers in Germany don’t seem as impotent as the copycats in the West. To its disadvantage, show doesn’t spend much time with real threats.
Also, spec never explains the business of hate rock. The music is mostly performed in white supremacist clubs, but it never delves into sales or distribution of records, or even if they exist.
The also touches on high-tech hate mongering such as computer mailboxes and videogames without questioning just how far-reaching they are. The range and impact of hate rock and its message isn’t gauged here, but it’s encouraging to see this type of programming on MTV and it’s also encouraging to see that the much-maligned MTV does have a conscience.