50 shades of shame

Just a heads up, this is gonna sound like a bitter old man rant. Just go in to reading this expecting that so when the moment hits that you feel like saying “You sound like an angry old man, bro!” just know that I’m already aware of this and you can keep that jewel of wisdom to yourself.
Okay…now that that is out of the way.

The other day a friend and I were watching the MTV VMA’s. Something I feel everyone should do as it tends to work as a “state of the union” address for everything that is wrong with our youth culture. Performance after performance went by and my friend looked over to me and said “Do people not feel shame anymore? Like, how are these people not on stage just totally embarrassed for themselves?”. It’s a thought I’ve definitely had before but never really vocalized so succinctly. There we were, sitting back , watching Miley Cyrus stick her tongue out like she learned her sexuality from a new-born baby , throwing her gangly limbs around without a care

and all I’m thinking is “how is she not mortified with herself right now?”. She obviously wasn’t. She is an entertainer. I suppose some people love any and all attention and how they get it doesn’t matter to them. It’s like the old saying “There’s no such thing as bad press”. Pretty much everyone who watched the VMA’s gasped and turned red during Miley’s performance. Not cause it was so scandalous but because it was so insanely awkward. Yet, the next day, it’s all anyone was talking about. So, in the eyes of MTV , it was a success. Kinda like how I’d imagine people who become Youtube sensations by being partially retarded might view themselves as a “Success”.
So, on one hand, you have entertainers. They’re here to entertain us. In many ways, they’re still just jesters who flop about for our amusement. So, I get it. I suppose when you decide that your life is on display, you must forfeit all your rights to feel shame like a normal person might. But , still, I gotta think there is a part in the heart of every man/woman who does this that dies a little every time they get off stage. I make music and reluctantly perform. Meaning, it’s not a natural act for me. If you’ve seen me live you know that I’m pretty low-key. I’m more focused on executing the task at hand than the bells and whistles that could go along with it. This could be to my detriment but I simply am not that other type of person. I’m a person who doesn’t really like blowing smoke up people’s asses so , if I were to act a certain way on stage, I’d feel like I’d be lying to myself. Sometimes I’ll go on the road and I’ll play with an act where the person is turning knobs and pressing buttons just like me but he’s on stage losing his mind , while endlessly being on the mic yelling shit. I know the energy is contagious and , in defense of those type of electronic performers, I suppose it does translate. After all, it’s a show. But, for me, I could never be that dude. I see that and feel embarrassed for the guy. Perhaps cause I know that pressing a button isn’t some huge deal. It’s not a guitar solo. It’s not belting out a powerful note. All i know is that, if that were me, I’d be crazy uncomfortable in my own skin. Granted, that’s probably a good part insecurity on my part of really “letting go” but I’m also not a kid. I think we can all agree that seeing a dude in his mid/late 30’s “Cutting lose” is a bad look. Just to be clear, I’m not knocking the people who do that, I simply can’t turn off the switch in my brain that filters out corny activity. I like to think I’m acutely aware of my actions and how they make me feel. And if I were to start thrashing about on stage while playing one of my many downtempo songs, I’d feel like a fool. Clearly, I’m in the minority with that so perhaps it’s more my problem than others. I just feel , expressing real natural emotion is one thing (Fiona apple is an example of someone who looks insanely awkward on stage but you get the feeling it’s just her natural reaction to performing her songs, so it works), it’s just when that emotion seems orchestrated that I take issue with it.

Entertainers are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to shamelessness. Think about lying politicians who have to pretend to feel bad for things they’ve done. Or move way down the totem pole to normal people like you and me just living our lives. Sometimes , I’ll walk around the city and just see people having public moments that I can’t fathom. Like that thing where someone will be on the street screaming into their cell phone and when people look at them they’re like “What the fuck are you looking at?” You. I’m looking at the crazy person who’s screaming in public. Or how about when someone is in a restaurant and they just flip out on a waiter over some bullshit. In front of everyone they will go on a tear , cutting down their server over something they most likely didn’t even have anything to do with. It really blows my mind and I always feel bad for anyone who’s with people like that. I also wonder how that person justifies their actions but, the reality of it most likely is they’re just fucking assholes dealing with issues way deeper than a poorly cooked hamburger.

It’s funny. I feel as if the majority of these types of issues come down to three things:Self awareness, insecurity,and ego.Too much ego, Too little self-awareness and a cyclone of insecurity. Maybe it’s me that’s being insecure cause I’ll get physically uncomfortable simply by seeing this type of thing unfold after all, “Douche chills” exist for a reason. But, then again, them not being embarrassed might be a blessing for them. Clearly, it does pay off at times. But still, I can’t help but see these type of things on all the different levels and just wanna yell “Dude! You know people are watching you right now, right? YOu do not exist in a vacuum!”. But I wouldn’t do that cause, you know, that would be making scene.

Maybe we’re all just so entitled nowadays that these things don’t even compute to most people. We’re all so used to “speaking our minds” with no consequences that the idea of taking responsibility for those words/actions doesn’t even register. After all, this is the #yolo era. I do remember a time when things weren’t like this as much. Where people policed each other a little more and , if you got out of line, someone was there to let you know, with either a stern scolding or a punch in your fucking face. I guess , with the focus on self-importance and the desire for notoriety, those days are long gone. It’s too bad though cause I feel like the world would be a better place every person was assigned an old lady with a ruler to smack you on the hand every time you did something you shouldn’t be doing.


17 thoughts on “50 shades of shame

  1. Truth, Block. Preach it bruv.

    I think it’s a combination of inflated ego, and lack of self-awareness that make for the worst of these “entertainers” you’re talkin’ about. Insecurity plays more of a part in whether or not you’re ok with those “WTF” moments being around strangers or just around ppl closer to you (i.e. more or less “secure” settings). I think with a lot of ppl, part of the problem at play is a lack of true self-assessment/reflection as well, juxtaposed with a lack of self-awareness. Also, I think our generation (mid-20s to mid-30s type of ppl) has taken the idea of moral relativism (That whole ‘what’s right for me is right for me, and you for you’) to apply to FUCKING EVERYTHING. There is no ABSOLUTE right and wrong, thus there is no amount of accountability, even to themselves!

    I live in a somewhat dicey part of a gritty city (B-more) and it’s great how many normal, live-and-let-die kind of ppl you meet. Still, I can’t even tell you how many times I’m out at night somewhere thinking “Damn, bro…. now that I’ve heard your retarded toasts for every shot you’ve bought you and your crossfit buddies, I can go on living my life.” Or how many times I’ve been walking down the street and some high-school-looking ass-hat is walking up the street with a Wacka Flocka mixtape blaring from his shirt pocket spitting lyrics in random peoples faces as he walks past them. And I think to myself, where the hell do these people get the boundaries they live within? How is this inside your lines of “Shit that’s ok to do in public”?

    I’m with you on it when I say that I just look at someone like that, and my face says “No, it’s not just me. Every normally adjusted person you come across also thinks you’re a fucking idiot (or a little attention-loving slop-tart).”

  2. This reminded me of an episode of Louie where an old dude was freaking the fuck out at an airport and Louie watched the dude for a few minutes before just laughing at him.

  3. Public Enemy’s album ‘Apocalypse ’91’ came out in 1991 when I was 12. We had it on constant rotation (I live in NYC; Parental Advisory didn’t apply). A friend of mine, no doubt moved by the overwhelming message and gravitas of Chuck D., started belting the lyrics to ‘Can’t Truss It’ out his bedroom window while the song pumped in the background. We lived on a quiet block in Northeast Queens. His parents pulled into the driveway without us knowing and heard him. I was sent home; he was given a verbal thrashing and grounded for a month.
    The point is, you’re supposed to learn at a young age that these things are NOT OK to do. The same way you see a person in their late teens/early 20’s (or older) on the subway with headphones on singing along to 2chainz. Or even worse playing the song out the speaker of their smartphone. They don’t care how ignorant they look or sound. They were never taught to not act that way. It’s different than the entertainment industry where an artist may purposefully act brazen or over the top to satiate fans. But in both instances there should some adherence to a value system and self- awareness.

  4. Couldn’t agree more. I mean, flipping out in public is cool when you’re 15. I think it’s a healthy and normal thing to be an obnoxious little bastard when out with your friends at that age. It purges it from your system so that when it’s time, you can (gasp!) GROW THE FUCK UP. Our culture has basically just become sissified enough that there’s no room for adults to police each other’s behavior anymore. You either catch an assault charge, or you have a grip of bystanders on you like “Why would you crush so and so’s individualistic spirit and freedom of expression? What kind of sociopath are you?” Dude with the comment on moral relativism hit the nail on the head. On a side note, why all the media furor and water cooler yakking about Miley’s performance, yet not one comment from anyone on what was truly the disturbing thing on screen? That’s right, I’m talking about Robin Thicke’s fucking Beetlejuice suit.

  5. I turned on the MTV awards at the point where Miley Cyrus was performing. I thought her performance was maybe a little awkward, but I kind of thought it was like anything else on TV/MTV nowadays. I know people have compared it to Britney Spears or Madonna and I’d imagine there are tons of comparable instances where artists have have done something edgy on TV for shock value. I actually thought she executed her performance well. You know it was to get attention so that people would talk about it, that had to be the aim, and she seemed pretty confident in the manner she pulled it off, that she didn’t seem to care what other people thought about the performance. It is MTV after all, there has to be some sort of history there of things being spectacular or edgy or obscene or whatever it is.

    As far as similar acts taking place in public. Don’t you think this whole internet culture contributes to that? Nowadays everyone has to have an opinion about something, feels entitled to their opinion, feels justified in voicing their opinion, that it just seems to be the same thing happening on a different scale. And the popular artists that are getting publicity, I mean who is more at fault the artist or the media/consumerist culture that supports the whole thing?

  6. This makes me wonder what you think about the Roasts that they do on Comedy Central; The most recent one being of James Franco b/c Andy Samberg’s portion was so different than the usual rants of making fun of each other, he poked fun at the character he was playing and went through with screaming he sucked James Dick (his portion was hilarious in my opinion). There’s no way someone could go through with that act if they had any issue with embarrassing themselves so I wondered your take on that aspect.

  7. This rant was perfectly timed to my shitty, shitty mood today so, thank you!
    PS:I’ve noticed your writing getting better and better since I started reading your blog, that’s cool to see. Take that as you will, because I obviously don’t write myself, but yeah.

  8. “I simply can’t turn off the switch in my brain that filters out corny activity.” I know the feeling, it’s a blessing and a curse…

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