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.