I was going to see Miley Cyrus perform at the Fillmore in Detroit this Saturday. Not now. I’ve sold my tickets back to Ticketmaster, happily taking a loss, relieved that I don’t have to stand in a crowded venue to see a musician whose music and philosophy I really dig but who has the misfortune of launching a club tour one week after the 11/13 tragedy in Paris. I don’t want to potentially put my life on the line to see Hannah Montana get gritty.
Dramatic? Maybe. Irrational? Highly likely. Can I live with that? Indubitably.
Please, don’t lay the “don’t let the terrorists win!” proselytizing on me. I’m not in the mood for the same hollow narrative we all launch into with every increasingly frequent global tragedy…you know the steps, right?
Change your Facebook photo to some rallying iconography. Say you’re praying for something or someone. Stand with an anthropomorphized nation state. Light candles and clump together and cry. Wag a finger at religious extremists (whose – ours or theirs?). Blame Bush. Blame Obama. Blame Congress. Hold a B-list star studded telethon. Stand in a circle and sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” or John Lennon’s “Imagine.” (Folks, please look at the lyrics to both songs … they’re not about what you think they are.)
These gestures may provide comfort to some. Any more they just feel like sandpaper on my skin. They get us off the hook for a minute. They’re a collective snooze button until the next horrific, bloody event lands in our laps.
I was momentarily frightened of planes after 9/11; I thought about not going to movies after the Dark Knight Rises movie theatre massacre; I still wonder about my safety every time I go in a shopping mall or school now. But I never canceled any plans outright, until now.
The idea of people ruthlessly murdered while attending a dubiously named rock band’s show in the City of Lights – people who were trying to dance away the perpetual toxins of life in the 21st century suddenly faced with the reality that there is no escape? I don’t want to live in a world like that. I don’t want any of us to live in a world like that.
If life is a precious, magical jolt that animates and motivates, why should it ever be prematurely snuffed out – across species (human and animal), gender, age, race, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other demarcation we monkeys have dreamed up? I will be stopping by a viewing tonight of a dear friend’s father who passed away Friday. Her father was 80 and had cancer. That is heartbreaking enough. If everyone dies anyway, why jumpstart the process?
I have people (about a dozen of you, I think, and probably less now) who read my reviews and sometimes tell me, “Wow, you seemed really negative there.” I also have some folks who repurpose my reviews for their websites, people who get a little sniffy when I don’t write about movies or don’t write about movies based on books or don’t write about movies with a sci fi or fantasy element. I don’t care. You’re getting my work and my thoughts for free. Get over it.
And, yes, I am negative sometimes. I’m human. I’m a critic. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. These events, these tragedies, these crises, these controversies, these geopolitical shadow plays are stifling and sad … and we all die a little bit more with each one.
And, no, if I were carrying a gun when one of these nutballs burst in a concert venue or movie theatre or college lecture hall or beauty salon with an AK-47? I would be so f*cking hysterical I would end up shooting myself or some innocent nearby or the g*dd*mned exit sign, so let’s just shelve that inane Gunsmoke “solution” that a certain subset of knuckledraggers have landed upon.
So, I’m sorry, Miley, but I’m going to take a pass on this Saturday’s concert. You, Miley, are at the peak of your freak flagginess – you, of any of us, are the epitome of liberté, égalité, fraternité – and I hope you have a wonderful show and a fabulous visit to the Motor City. But I won’t be there to see it. I can’t be there to see it.
I was going to attend with my brave friend who just walked away from Mormonism because she couldn’t take the hypocrisy that has led the church of her upbringing to some very un-Christ-like positions regarding those who deviate from their norm. I feel similarly brave in that I just availed myself of a newly won right to marry my partner of nearly 16 years. But neither of us are brave enough to go see this concert by a Disney-girl-gone-bad, worrying that every time someone hits a snare drum or lights a pyrotechnic or lets out a barbaric yawp that our lives are in danger.
I guess freedom does come at a price, or I’m finally growing up, but I’m going to stay home and watch DVDs of a British soap opera named Last Tango in Halifax. And hit the snooze button a little longer.
Reel Roy Reviews is now TWO books! You can purchase your copies by clicking here (print and digital)In addition to online ordering at Amazon or from the publisher Open Books, the first book is currently is being carried by Bookbound, Common Language Bookstore, and Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room in Ann Arbor, Michigan and by Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Michigan. My mom Susie Duncan Sexton’s Secrets of an Old Typewriter series is also available on Amazon and at Bookbound and Common Language.
delightful, pithy and true…and congrats on your wise decision. perfect essay…and then some!!
thanks for always inspiring me to kind-hearted candor! it’s important! love you
love you, too!!!
I didn’t fly for nine years after 9/11. Partly because I’d just flown the weekend before and had the misfortune to have an embarrassing panic attack landing in a green thunderstorm. But also because I was very afraid. Then in 2010 I had a heart attack at work at the surprising young age of 55. After the realization that my life could end any day and time, I got on a plane four months after my heart attack and went to Costa Rica. I’ve flown there twice more since then. But this last Paris attack feels too close for comfort. And these religious terrorists are insane. So I hear you. It feels like the game has changed again.
Thanks – it is all very disconcerting. And the cavalier disregard for life on this planet seems to worsen by the minute
it is all so very sad for so many reasons. the collateral damage that touches so many lives in so many negative ways is endless. good for you for going with your heart, no one has the right to judge anyone else’s reaction/action to things that happen.
Thanks, Beth! Appreciate the validation
Dear friend, I love your honesty, your emotion, your ability to let it all out, your intelligence, your practicality, and how in touch you are with reality. (I think that comes from being a native Midwesterner.) 😊 Now that I think about it, I don’t believe I would have any desire to be at any venue like that right now either. Don’t ever stop being you…perfectly you. 💗
I adore you, nancy! Thanks for “getting” me, my fellow Midwestern kid! Love you
We have been largely sheltered from the effects of chronic terrorism that plague so many other countries throughout the world. It doesn’t feel good to have our eyes opened, nor to realize that the power elites in the world are neither immune, nor innocent. But it is an essential lesson to learn. Thank you for unabashedly teaching it.
Right on, Becca. Well said. We have lived in a privileged space so long, and we are seeing the effects of cultural hegemony run amuck for sure
This right here–” Any more they just feel like sandpaper on my skin” perfectly sums up where I am with the passive support of all the tragedies that happen so much more frequently than they used to. Or are they just better publicized now? Regardless, do what makes you and yours feel safe–that’s important. This is the only thing I’ve said about what happened–I haven’t taken all the cliched passive measures to “support” anything–and haven’t, not even back for 9/11 when everyone was slapping flags on their cars and bravely declaring their patriotism.
To me…people are people. Some people are assholes. Some people are murderers. Some people are creative, interesting, amazing people. I try to stay away from the assholes and surround myself with creative, intelligent, critical thinking people and I, too, choose situations that keep myself (and my family) safe, even if it means losing out on an experience (Miley). Kudos to you.
And as for negative?..so be it, the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Hugs.
Appreciate the feedback and affirmation. Also appreciate your perspective on where and with whom to spend your time. A thoughtful and helpful reminder
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Great readiing this