This one has some staying power. The most recent massacre, I mean. We might be talking about this all the way to, you know, like next Monday.
And I know that sounds dismissive of tragedy but it isn’t really: it is dismissive of the official response to tragedy. A little earlier today I saw that the Yankees and Rays will forgo their game broadcast and will, instead, broadcast several hours of DNC gun control propaganda. They didn’t call it that, but that doesn’t change what it is. As I read the Yankee’s statement is just became blazingly clear what they could actually do to bring an end to this:
Fire the next top flight player who gets a girl pregnant and doesn’t marry her.
Because that is what this all is: what is wrong with our society is entirely the result of society deciding not to enforce standards. Sure, one ball player not doing the right thing didn’t cause this all to happen, but thousands of professional sports stars over decades acting like pigs in the off season played a huge role. They taught the young men of America – and especially poor, young men – that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can deliver the goods. That only your ability to make money matters…everything else will be covered up, paid off and forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Years ago I wrote about Mick Jagger and his life and I pointed out that his persona, especially as young, was an act. He was a middle class kid. Nice, respectable life. His mother was a Tory. He did very well in school and had he not become a rock star, probably would have had a long and successful career in some square employment. But the persona, crafted to sell records, was of a wild, party man. A street tough telling it like it is via his music. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll! But it was, indeed, all an act. A very successful act: Jagger is worth about $500 million. And I considered Mick Jagger, and many like him, and wondered how many people took it at face value and decided to live that life – live the act, that is. But by actually doing it and not having an army of people to keep things squared away and hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up all mistakes?
Given the popularity and endurance of the Rolling Stones, it was probably several million people around the world who wanted to be like Mick. Or like any one of scores of other famous rock acts…which were (and are) acts. Make believe. Those few in the business who really lived that life – Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, etc – ended up dead at very young ages. Because living that life is suicidal. Neil Young sang about it being better to burn out than fade away – but he sang that in 1979 and he’s 76 now and very much fading away rather than burning out.
Let me quickly think of the people I know – friends and family – who are six feet under because they went along with all that: George, Todd, Rob, Pat, Jeff, Alex…that’s just top of the head. How many people can think of that many in a few seconds? Then we can add those who are simply a mess: a good dozen that I can easily think of. And then there’s their kids! Also a mess – though some of them have managed to rise above.
Certainly the sudden massacre of 19 kids in school is a shock – but in the grand scheme of things, in this War Against Decency we’ve been waging for 70 years, it hardly counts as a skirmish. More than 100,000 people died of drug overdose in the United States last year. That about 5,200 school shootings. And they passed almost unnoticed. Not dramatic enough. Can’t make a good DNC political point about it. And, heck, I actually saw pictures of NYC billboards which are telling drug addicts not to feel shame, but just use the drugs properly. But dead is dead – whether from a bullet or drugs. Or any other of the social ills which are causing people to die (I think I read that 28 people were murdered in Chicago last weekend…and not too long ago an adorable little girl was gunned down in a McDonald’s drive through…but, hey, she was black and so was the shooter and it was over gangland crap so nobody gonna do a major news story about that).
We can change and we will change. This cannot endure. Bad as it is – and looks to get worse – the strength to cure this will be summoned. The longer we wait, the more brutal the reaction. But it has to be. Civilization is necessary in order for 90% of us to live. When our backs are really against the wall, you’ll be surprised what people are capable of. But until then, I’m going to keep pointing out what is wrong and who contributed to it.
So that when retribution comes, the right targets will feel the heat.