With the recent death of GWAR lead singer Dave Brockie it occurred to me that we’re losing our appreciation of The Other Side. We’re losing our ability to see past ourselves and to imagine a bigger world.
I followed Brockie’s ODERUS (his GWAR character’s name) Twitter feed and it was all but guaranteed to offend at least once daily. More times than not he was muck-raking and playing a bit of Devil’s Advocate as he posted his own views mixed with more outrageous statements that were the equivalent of his Id being let out of its cage for a bit. Since his death I have started to realize that the American people have very little interest in spirited discourse or listening to the views of people they don’t agree with. Now, this isn’t a new thing, and I know I am TERRIBLY guilty of this but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Look no further than something that happened over the weekend. A young man who plays football was drafted in the NFL draft and when he found out he was drafted he kissed his significant other. Seen it a million times. Totally reasonable and appropriate. Oh, wait, he’s gay and his sig other was another man.
Naturally people were upset, and naturally the old dog of ‘I shouldn’t have to watch that’ gets brought out to be shown to the people. Yes, it’s always better to be outraged and offended than to look beyond what you feel. We are in a Me First world and by god if I am offended then the rest of the world needs to know it and respect it.
I won’t say America has become because any tendencies we have were there, they’re just out more now. And the thing is this, we don’t want to listen, to see, to learn about alternative views, lifestyles, religions, or ways of seeing the world but we sure as heck wanna make sure that no one treads on how we live. We want to be loud, rude and to wave whatever flag we have handy and make sure that EVERYONE knows where we stand but we have no interest in seeing how others feel about it.
And it makes me miss Brockie all the more.
I may not have agreed with everything he said but at least he had the guts to stand up and SAY something and not to just stamp his feet and complain when others say things. He at least took a stand on things. And oh, sure, people take stands, but they’re the weakest stands possible. On one hand you will hear how America is a ‘Christian Nation’ and then on the other how Christians are being persecuted. BWHA? We are becoming a nation that refuses to let the world spin unless we Will it to. None of this is to say that there are not a lot of people with open minds and open hearts who want to be a part of the bigger world but there is a spreading stain of resistance that sounds SO much like the whining of a petulant child.
I don’t WANNA believe in evolution.
I don’t WANNA believe in climate change.
I don’t WANNA know that people of the same sex show their love physically.
I don’t WANNA hear that other sexes and races and nationalities may not feel as if America is always fair.
I don’t WANNA!
On and on.
And it isn’t just Christians, or any one group. Heck, I get tired of atheists crying about a world full or religion as if it’s a new thing. What I WISH is that we could all just focus on what we enjoy and stop worrying about everyone else. I WISH we could learn to listen to one another and to find more common ground.
Here’s the deal – have your opinions. Live your life. Do your thing. But understand that the world gives very little of a damn about you and what you do and how you do it. The world evolves, and you can take that however you want but the fact remains that the world moves forward every day, with or without us and many times to spite us. And you can hold whatever you feel true as True as long as you live but you sure as heck butter understand that a day may come when you have to not just face that the world doesn’t see things the same way you do but that it may well come to your door knocking to call you out for those Truths.
Life is not safe.
Life is not sane.
Life is a river and all we can do is hold on to one another and try to guide ourselves to gentler waters when we see them.
We are a nation obsessed with fame, with controversy, with sex and scandal but won’t deal with the issues beneath those things. We are in love with the veneer and not the heart. We are raising a generation of kids that want fame at almost any cost, never realizing that the kind of fame the average person can get is fleeting but stains for years. There is a reason self portraits became selfies. It became less about the portrait of the person, less about the moment of OH MY GOSH THIS IS HAPPENING and more about the LOOK AT ME AND WHAT I AM DOING! Less about the beauty of the moment and more about the beauty of us in every moment.
We are so focused on what makes us happy, and sad, and upset that we are starting to forget that there are other people feeling the same things at the same time and that sometimes the things that make us happy make them miserable.
But what makes an opinion different than righteous indignation?
An opinion is a stance you take and pronounce and stand by. Righteous indignation is all about your feelings being hurt or you being upset. An opinion is a flag flown high, even if it’s a flag that’s more holes that material, and righteous indignation is the kicking of dirt and the stamping of feet. So few will say something and stand by it. We rush to social media at every turn to shout our notions to the world then so often have to back track when we realize that we may have been a little TOO candid. We have our governor’s off and our spines out and we’re ready to shout to that world that we probably, maybe feel this way.
Here’s the bottom line – the world is spinning away from us as we navel gaze and take our selfies. Every time we shout to the rooftops about how upset we are without hearing another side, without seeing a bigger world we are losing the future.
Yeah, as they say – everyone has an opinion.
Few have the conviction of that opinion and fewer still have the wisdom to realize that just because they have that opinion it doesn’t make them right.
We pick small fights, little wars, tiny disputes to obsess over – someone disrespecting us, something a celebrity does, something we see online – so we don’t have to face the large issues we don’t feel we can change – poverty, war, violence, crime. We distract ourselves with the smaller battles to make ourselves feel good.
We aren’t happy.
And because we aren’t happy we blame the world. We blame the Them, and the They, and the Those and never the Us because we run our show. We row this boat. And we either get over it or get on.
I miss Dave Brockie because in a world of people crying over their petty offenses he had the guts to look at a bigger world and to take a stand in it. It means nothing to say you’re upset about this or that and then move on to the next offense of the week. It’s a world of difference to talk, to listen, to debate, and to hear what others think.
We used to live in a world of opinions that made us think and challenged how we saw things. Now we’re just in a society that loves to stare in the mirror and pout because no one is paying attention to us and what WE want.
I ain’t right, but sometimes, sometimes Iain’t that wrong either.