When you wish upon a star…


“The problem with being a star is that anyone CAN be, but not everyone SHOULD be…”

When we were teenagers, my friends and I would sit, listerning to our favorite bands for hours. Sometimes we’d watch their videos, imagining what it would be like to be in their shoes – singing songs we wrote while an enchanted world watched and listened. I would go to sleep, wishing for the day when the limitations of funds/technology and the barriers created by A&R folks would be a thing non-existent. In other words, a day when anybody could become a star.

“Be careful of what you wish for…”

This 21st century has ushered in the era of my wildest teen-aged dreams. But it’s also created a kind of nightmare that I’d never imagined could exist.

In an age of YouTube stars demanding that we “Leave Britney Alone!” while wiping away tears of mascara (along with any hint of self-respect), spectacle is king. Or queen, as in the case of certain fraudulent “LonelyGirl”. Girls have gone wild while boys proudly exhibit their inner jackass. Their logic asks, “Is it possible for me to get noticed AND taken seriously while pretending to be something I’m not?” People – mostly, but not limited to the young – don’t seem to care about being artists, per se. They want to become what they believe art is.

That is to say, they want to become something stared at, pondered upon, desired, loved or even hated. Art has become ‘the art of the con’. Whatever it takes to elevate these few to that point of apotheosis that they’ll never attain. At least, not in the way that they hope to. See, just like any other god, once one becomes one, they never really accept or realise that they have yet.

This is because it doesn’t feel anything like what they thought it would. Sometimes it’s more draining, other times it’s simply boring. But most of the time, one wants to have more. These are the times when our gods are found dead of an overdose. Or without underwear. The result? Hotel heiresses who are famous for nothing, and slickly-produced television that poses for ‘reality’. (Whatever THAT is anymore! When was the last time you felt ‘real’ in front of a video camera?)

Here’s the saddest part – no matter when this technology would’ve been created, the sad truth is that the results would’ve been exactly the same. With this in mind, I suppose there’s something to be said about having controls in place, limiting just who ends up becoming a star. There’s something kinda liberating about hiding some aspects of art. Who truly wants to know how the coolest magic tricks are done?

One thing that I’m definitely certain of is this: I’m glad that YouTube didn’t exist when I was a teen. God only knows how much of a jackass I would’ve willingly made of myself…

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Passion of the Idiot…

So I’m on the bus a while ago, heading to my buddy’s birthday dinner. The thing is packed like the proverbial can of sardines, there’s the token wacko bitching about the increasing fares, and then there was the frightening slum-village b.o. (I cringe at the recollection…)

Anyway, these two ’emo’ types hop on a couple of stops later. One pays her fare and moves on. But the other – an elfin little thing, no taller than 4’10” – decides that she’s gonna ‘make a statement’. She turns to the exhausted driver – the bus was hot as hell – and takes out her bus pass, muttering the words “Heil Hitler!”. Then, after excusing herself past me, elf tosses her friend a self-satisfied grin.

See, that kind of thing kinda bugs me. When people toss words like “nazi” or “slave” around, identifying it with themselves or their lame causes. I don’t think it’s particularly gutsy or witty when people do that. To me, it’s a bright red mark of ignorance. So I did what I do best – I called her on it. Live and in stereo.

I asked, “Excuse me. What did you just say to the driver when you showed him your pass?”

Let me tell ya – the look of horror on her face was worth the fare alone? Priceless. She managed to stammer, “What?”

So I asked again, “I was just wondering what you said to the driver? Something about Hitler?”

She turned to her equally shocked friend for help. The friend immediately lied, “All she said was ‘excuse me’, dude!” But I calmly said, “No, I’m referring to what she said to the DRIVER. Not to ME.”

The friend insisted that neither of them had said anything, and with that, they pushed their way to the back of the bus through the crowd. (No doubt to be with the other ‘rebels’ back there.)

Pathetic. Gutless. The driver rolled his eyes and smiled. Mission accomplished.

The sad part is that this kinda thing isn’t limited to younger people. There’s no shortage of others of all ages out there who feel justified in their ignorance – until you call them on it.

Here’s my thing. There’s nothing heroic about belittling a city worker on behalf of your misguided protest against Transit. The guy probably had his own problems to deal with. The same goes for people who refer to cops as ‘pigs’, but are thankful as hell when these same ‘pigs’ show up after their friend/loved was raped or their house got broken into.

Are there some cops who suck? Of course! Are there some bus drivers who suck? Definitely! (Hell, I’ll even say MOST do! Sorry guys. But some of you really need to work on your PR skills…) Referring to these people as “Hitler” – a guy who was partially responsible for some pretty shitty things – is so moronic.

Not only that, but if you’re GONNA say stupid shit like that, at least back your shit up.

Sad. Lame. Pathetic.

Published in: on October 9, 2007 at 7:44 am  Leave a Comment  

30 Seconds before coming down

There’s this place where I go, sometimes, that reminds me of how immediate life is. It’s not necessarily a physical, tangible place. In fact, depending on the time, the circumstance, and/or the person, it can be many different places.

It’s that place, about thirty seconds before starting to come down from hours of heavy drinking, when you ask yourself “What am I doing?”. Not because you think that what you’re doing is wrong, but just because the question suddenly arises, unsolicited.

Or that moment in the middle of the night, when you’re watching your lover, your child, or even your pet sleep, so still. And you think about how much of a pleasure it is to witness such beauty, such purity. Such a sense of security on their part.

It’s that point where you’re laughing so hard with your friend that for a split second you wonder if and/or hope that you can be friends forever, but at the same time, it doesn’t even matter.

It’s also that time when you’re alone and you wonder how people really see you, what people really think about you… How do you really smell? When you laugh, are they hearing your joy, or do they think you’re just putting it on – just like you’ve secretly accused THEM of doing sometimes?

Do they really like your cooking? Your opinion? Your kiss? After all, you’ve doubted them on a number of occasions, so doesn’t it stand to reason that they may doubt you too? But once again, you remember: does it matter?

It’s in those moments, in those places that I feel truly mortal after all. And the more thankful for the honor. I don’t even care if I’m still here tomorrow.

Published in: on October 9, 2007 at 7:39 am  Leave a Comment