So, this weekend, Beyonce apparently gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the universe at Coachella. I didn’t see it but I also don’t doubt it. Beyonce is incredibly talented and has the means , creativity and balls to put together such a performance. I was playing a show that night but, when I returned to my hotel room, my twitter and facebook feeds were ablaze with people frothing at the mouth about this performance. The clips looked great. Sounds like there were all sorts of surprises and that she truly brought it on all levels. Again, Beyonce is great. She is without question an iconic inspirational person for millions of people and, by all accounts, a good person beyond that. Just wanna clarify that cause I know how nuance in 2018 works and how easily people miss the message. All that said, the reaction to her performance was what I might expect if someone cured cancer. I’m really not trying to take anything away from Beyonce here (or anyone for that matter) but we’re talking about a performance by a pop star not someone orchestrating world peace. And this all brings me to the idea of idol worship and why it’s never a good thing.
Let’s start here. We are all people. Yes, this is some hippie shit to say but it’s true. We all eat, shit and sleep. Beyonce has to wipe her ass just like you , me and Donald Trump do (though i think he goes back to front). So, to hold someone else (especially a famous stranger) in such high regard has always seemed odd to me. I mean, people act as if the artists/politicians/celebrity they love are these infallible beings and that’s insane to me. By all means, respect and celebrate your heroes. But never lose perspective that they are simply just human beings like you. Sure, they may be more talented and better looking than you. They may be richer. They may even be smarter. They could be a lot of things you aren’t. But when you just throw your hands in the air and submit to someone entirely, you’re basically treating that person like a deity. Now, the idea of submitting to someone and loving them unconditionally works in real life, like, with people you know and actually love. People who care about you. People who, even though they are not perfect , you accept wholeheartedly. To be this way with a stranger? What is wrong with you? This person you worship doesn’t know you. They certainly don’t care about you. They’re just another person living their lives, unaware of your existence. Meanwhile, you’re willing to go to war for them. It’s the most lopsided one sided relationship of all time.
I’ve never even remotely bought into fanatical fandom. I remember when I was younger, seeing clips of girls at Michael Jackson shows , weeping uncontrollably with outstretched arms in the nosebleed seats of one of his shows. Even as a kid, I was like ”Huh?” cause , to me, it seems very easy to separate my deepest emotions from the fact that i really like someones music. It was like “Yeah, Thriller is a great album but unless you’re saving my family from a burning house my dedication doesn’t go very far beyond buying your next album when it drops”. People get legit psychotic over this kinda stuff. Hell, imagine if I tweeted some shit like “Eh, Beyonce is okay” (disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY OPINION, JUST AN EXAMPLE) . I’d have 1000’s of lunatics in my mentions eviscerating my entire existence and probably many threats to my life. Hell, I might even have actual friends of mine mad at me.
Can we just step back for a moment and think about that? This would be a bunch of people infuriated that I don’t worship Beyonce. Not even that I think she sucks. But that she’s simply “okay”. I know this is a hypothetical idea I’m talking about but you know I’m right. And this shines a light on how everything is black and white now. The grey area (where common sense, logic and critical thinking exist) is shrinking. It’s all this or all that. It’s as if nuance doesn’t matter. But here’s the thing: EVERYTHING IN NUANCED. Especially human beings. There isn’t a person on earth who doesn’t have one person walking around saying “Man, fuck that guy” , and with good reason. “nobody’s perfect” is something we tell children when they’re learning that it’s okay to make mistakes but I feel as though that point is lost on people who idolize. Look at Trump’s followers. On a daily basis. this dude is brazenly doing and saying awful things and they literally just overlook it (or claim to be “fake news”) and keep pushing ahead. I mean…shit…thinking beyonce is infallible is delusional as fuck but at least you could ATTEMPT to make a case for that. To feel that way about Trump? That’s like willingly eating a pile of dog shit and then telling everyone you know how good it tastes.
I have an odd relationship with idolizing people and fandom partially cause I have fans. The idea of it is weird in itself. It’s something I never quite get used to. Like, i get it…but at the same time, I don’t. And , keep in mind, I’m nobody. I’m not famous. I’m literally a dude who just pushes buttons. but I have had people I never met cry when they met me and that shit is all sorts of weird. Obviously , everyone is different and we all create bonds with things in different way. I’m a practical person. I don’t get wrapped up in my feelings about this kinda thing. But some people aren’t like that at all and that’s okay too. But , not a day goes by that I don’t see someone speaking of or reacting to a famous stranger in a way that makes me feel second hand embarrassed on their behalf.
I’m a fan of many people but not once have I cried or had a meltdown at the sight of them. If anything, I’ve always gone the other way where I actually just choose not to interact with them OR if i did, I was somewhat distant. Cause really, what’s the goal of meeting your idol? Shaking their hand? Having a brief convo? Having a long and meaningful conversation? Becoming their friend? Marrying them? The further it goes into fantasy land the more disappointed the person is when it doesn’t happen. So, for me, it’s always been a “Hey, big fan of you work”, a handshake and keep it moving. Cause the last thing you want to do is find out this person you look up to is a flawed human being just like you and, perhaps, a total asshole.
I’d like to take the phrase “Do not worship false idols” and amend it to say “Do not worship idols”. By doing so, you’re creating a hierarchy of value within the human race that is pretty much baseless. By no means am I saying that people shouldn’t praise their idols. Look up to them. Learn from them. Ride for them and support them in all their endeavors . But , just remember, every person on earth is one pedophile charge away from being deemed a complete piece of shit. So don’t cash in all your chips on a stranger just cause you like how they sing and dance. Or cause they tell you to make America great again. Or anything. Holding someone in high regard and blindly following are two different things. Just remember most things are based in nuance and grey areas. Everything else is just your caveman brain grinding its gears. But, hey, don’t listen to me. I’m just some guy. Just like you.