The worst part about reporting or commenting on shameless acts of self-promotion by celebrities, politicians, or clergy with an agenda that appears contradictory to their beliefs, is that public acknowledgment of those acts is perceived by that party as a reward for their behavior.
The HBO-sponsored Veteran’s Day concert last week marked the intersection of two contradictory traits in human nature: self-sacrifice and self-promotion. Between a self-serving act who had refused to modify his gig for an all-ages crowd by at least not dropping any F-bombs, another who has made his anti-war, anti-conservative opinions public in interviews and in past concerts, and the promoters who were aware of the personalities of their choices, there is plenty of blame for all sides to share in terms of trying to turn a concert that was intended as an expression of gratitude for others, into a spectacle of attention-mongers with self-centered agendas.
Due to past experience, watching similar concerts in which some participants decided to utilize the attention that was handed to them to indulge in self-promotion, I had chosen to not watch that concert, but the reports of foul language, plus the rendition of the anti-war song “Fortunate Son” reminded me of an incident that had happened in a hotel several years ago. My hotel room that night was next to an indoor courtyard which is used for parties. Needless to say, the noise from a dance had kept me up until it had ended.
Well, during that dance, the disc jockey decided to play Steve Miller’s song, “The Joker,” a song with these words:
“I’m a joker, I’m a smoker, I’m a midnight toker.”
For some weddings or other functions, this song would pose no issue. However, this dance was held for recovering drug addicts.
As a DJ, the lyrics for such a recognizable song should have stood out; the same is true for whoever chose the lineup for a concert that was supposed to honor veterans, not musicians who honor themselves. The problem arises when the person or people who pick the artists for the concert also believe that shameless acts of self-promotion are acceptable under all circumstances; that the morals – or lack thereof — of a closed, socially-isolated group are universally accepted.
Last week also marked an important day in history: the fall of the Berlin Wall.
When compared to the nightmare that present and former citizens of communist governments have or continued to endure, the petty actions of a select few who define success by the mention of their names and publication of their pictures in the media appear as they really are: insignificant and unimportant.
It is ironic though, that a day for remembering the people who defend us, plus the anniversary of the fall of a symbol of brutal oppression, occurred in the same week that a greased-up attention-monger whom I will refer to as “Biohazard,” due to her chosen inability to keep her personal life personal, received a disproportionately-high level of publicity for showing her exposed backside, compared to the two historic milestones that were deprived of their proper recognition.
When tragedies occur, whether they are intentional or a result of nature, a realistic reclassification of human priorities happens. Unfortunately, this is a temporary phenomenon, since the teaching of history that is void of a political and social agenda has deprived many Americans of the necessary appreciation of history.
Since we are the product of what we know, perhaps the actions of attention-mongers and the people who choose to follow them are not as much their fault as it is the parents, teachers, politicians and pseudo-clergy who have more to gain by keeping an under-educated gaggle of children, students, constituents, and parishioners under-educated. After all, anyone in power with questionable intentions would rather see a soon-to-be-has-been rap star, or a greasy tart making headlines, than have to account for their actions to educated citizens.