Only science can tell.
The Pomp Culture Thunder Matt Foundation for the Study of Speaker-Melting Rock presents its current findings in today’s installment of Iron Maiden vs. The World.
Despite the TMFFSSMR’s long standing policy of neutrality on issues of athletics (due to most Foundation Employees spending their school years carving “Maiden Rules” on their desks with their keys, in lieu of participating in organized sports), the resurrection1 of The Saloon must be acknowledged. And there’s really only one thing we know how to do: KICK IT OLD SCHOOL.
So without further ado, let’s look at the best each of these Venerable Franchises Have to offer:
The 1908 Cubs
Apparently (and I’m stunned that no major news outlet has pointed this out every goddamn time the team is mentioned in any way, shape, or form), the Chicago National League Franchise has not won a World Series in over 100 years. But, there was a time when this was not so. In fact, there was a time when the Cubs were THE most feared team in baseball.2 A time when player/manager Frank Chance could say “Whoever heard of the Cubs losing a game they had to have?” and not be greeted with the same snickers as we at the Foundation make when we say “Merkle’s Boner.”3 Yes, the 1908 Cubs are the current high-water mark of the franchise (though Carlos Zambrano’s recent mustache almost gave them a run for the money).
The 1984-1985 Irons
Sure, some will say Maiden peaked with Paul Di’Anno, but those people probably think the 2005-6 World Series weren’t cancelled for lack of interest. Di’Anno was a fantastic vocalist, and most bands would kill for his pipes, but aside from the banshee howls of Bruce Dickinson, the World Slavery Tour lineup of Maiden also included the strongest, and most stable Maiden lineup in history (maybe not that impressive, given their track record, but still…). And their live setlists included such monster songs as “Two Minutes to Midnight,” “Flight of Icarus,” “The Trooper,” “22 Acacia Avenue,” and “NUMBER OF THE BEAST,” y’all!
Just check here. Or here. We’re not going to hold your hands every time we release a study. Criminy.
Intellectual and/or Literary Merit
Despite the proud working class origins of both of these organizations, they have each had their share in inspiring great literature. After the Chicago Nationals ruthlessly pricked the gonfalon bubble of John McGraw’s hated Giants in 1910 (yes, it’s after the year in question, but it’s the same players as 1908), whiny, sissy East Coast favoring Franklin Pierce Adams wrote the storied “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” later renamed “Tinker to Evers to Chance” by the general public, as the original title has been deemed “ridiculously pretentious.” Of course, John McGraw himself preferred the title, “Jesus H. Christ, Why Can’t We Get a Break Against These Assholes?”
But few know just how influential Maiden have been in the development of poetry. In 1797, noted proto-metalhead Samuel Taylor Coleridge (while nodding out of his gourd on a mixture of Laudenum, Wormwood, Fermented Starling Livers, and Orange Pekoe Tea) briefly slipped out of linear time, and had a vision that he described in a letter to fellow nutcase William Blake as “A Bande of Minstryls clad in tightest Samite garments, wielding Stringed Instruments of unknown Make didst shred mine Soul with an admixture of Chordes of Power and accompanies Solos of Vast Technicality.” He later cobbled his hazy memories into the renowned poem “Aces High.” Maiden later returned the favor by putting Coleridge’s own “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to music on their epic Powerslave album.
Sure, “Tinker to Evers to Chance” has entered the national consciousness, but it’s clearly doggerel. Coleridge is apparently a good poet, at least judging by the Maiden cover (The Foundation would research this but poetry is for Chicks)…
This is a tough call. Maiden, as stated in previous entries, leads more by example than influence. Indeed most of the 90s can be seen as a reaction AGAINST 1984-85 Maiden by bands that knew they could never equal the Irons in a fair fight, and chose rather to play less technical, lo-fi music in another decade entirely.
The 1908 Cubs have a tremendous impact on culture, but localized in the Chicago area, though WGNTV provides the Cubs Diaspora with as much information as they can, as does the excellent Crazy ’08, Cait N. Murphy’s fantastic account of this legendary team, and the world they inhabited – a book that is long overdue a movie adaptation. If He’s Just Not That Into You can get a movie deal, why couldn’t something that actually has a narrative drive and actual characters? Plus, baseball historians can always look to the hectic, hotly contested game won by the Cubs when noted second baseman, dugout attorney, and all around psychopath Ty Cobb Johnny “It’s Pronounced EEvers, Dammit” Evers totally FACED Giants stooge Fred Merkle on a rules violation in awesome fashion.
This is a tough call – but like their legendary season, the Cubs squeeze by at the last minute by riding Merkle’s Boner.4
Pomposity Bringing the Thunder
Well, here’s the crux of the dilemma? Who Brought the Thunder? The easy answer is: Both.
Maiden has long had a history of delivering the goods live, and the World Slavery Tour is probably their finest 500-odd hours of Goods Delivery. Epic shows in front of huge crowds with a set that resembled a 3-D version of this:
…are pretty damn THUNDROUS.
But the 1908 Cubs were part of baseball’s first true dynasty – a team of winners who could beat you on the basepaths, behind the plate, from the mound, on the streets, and in the rulebook. Their best pitcher was missing a finger but overcame that handicap, their second best was named Orval but overcame that handicap, their right fielder had a hook for a hand, and their catcher was a steam-powered robot built by Nikola Tesla that belched flames and black smoke from his lifeless eyes.5 Which is pretty damn THUNDROUS in its own right.
Rocking Your Face Off
Have you HEARD the music of 1908? Not exactly awe-inspiring.
This category is a gimmie for the Irons. Sorry. Live After Death vs. the 549 Irving Berlin songs written that year? Sorry, North West Siders.
And this bring us to a tie score of 2/2 (with one push). Let’s see how the rotating categories play out…
Hall of Fame Members
Just as strong a gimmie for the Cubs. The legendary (though admittedly overrated) DP combination of Tinker, Evers, and Chance are all in, as is Mordecai (of the Nine Fingers) Brown – an astonishing 4/9ths of the opening day starting lineup.
Thus far, the buffoons at the so-called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have failed to induct the 1985 Irons’ lineup, thus proving what a sham they are. This alone is proof that society is in decline.
Since these are both high water marks, both competitors went into the inevitable decline afterwards. Maiden expended so much effort on their tour that they didn’t release another album for nearly a year. And though their next pair of records were still face-meltingly rad, they were less face-meltingly rad than previously achieved. And it was downhill from there for many years, with Dickinson leaving, only to be replaced by veteran fill-in Ted McGinley. Indeed, it wasn’t until the early 21st century that Maiden really began their slow, Mickey Rourkesque rise from their own ashes.
The 1908 Cubs never again repeated their Series win, though they came close on several occasions. For the next 30 years, the franchise had many ups and downs, but was still a feared team for much of that time, especially the 1930s. But by the late 40s, the Cubs were under the control of an apathetic owner who didn’t care how good the team was and allowed their once proud legacy to become an even bigger joke than Metal became when grunge hit in 1992. And that owner later sold it to a huge corporation that cared even less about performance vs. profit. And the Cubs have yet to recover since.
Maiden’s Renaissance amongst hipsters and loosely-Cubs-based Pop Culture Blogs alike, combined with the fact that every member of the 1908 Cubs has either died or (in the case of Tesla’s Amazing Catching Man) long since rusted away gives the Irons a slight lead.
With a final score of 3-3 (and one push), it looks like the first tie in Iron Maiden vs. The World history. I blame Merkle. And his erection.6
1. How the hell is there no Maiden song called “Resurrection”? It’s not like Judas Priest copyrighted the name. However, even a hypothetical Irons song called “Resurrection” would totally rule, according to TMFFSSMR’s sophisticated data modeling algorithm (The Possible Eddie Cover and Oh-My-Fucking-God-Wouldn’t-That-Be-Killer? Test of Awesomeness, or “PECOTA”).
2.Of course, there was also a time when the French army was the most powerful in the world as well.
3. Tee Hee!
5. The last two items may not be strictly true. But they are still an important part of the Myth of Our National Pasttime.
6. There is NOTHING funny about Priapism. NOTHING.