Icon-worship is the canker-sore on the inside of the flapping gums of humanity...and as much as I’d like to be the unfettered, gallant apotheosis of iconoclasm, who doesn’t have their childhood-heroes?
Me, age 8: Michael Jackson & Wayne Gretzsky...and I fucking HATE hockey;
Me, age 14: Eddie Vedder, Michael Jordan & Douglas Coupland;
Me, age 21: Bill Hicks, Allen Iverson & Hunter S. Thompson.
Stephen Colbert & James Brown.
(Someone asked me last week for the "secret" to my never-ending energy, and I replied with this random rhyme that has now become my credo:
"Sunny day, windows down, James Brown"
At this stage of our evolution, however, iconoclasm is more and more becoming our default setting. There aren’t many "aspiring" writers anymore who think of a huge talent-gap between themselves and "published" authors; garage-bands create a direct line to their fans through the internet, setting up a small-market empire that allows for complete control of both their music and their "image"; icons are going the way of common sense and critical thought: into the easily-forgotten void of extinction.
I’m at my smugliest when I sit back & imagine all the people who pander to their fan-base because they know that the fans are all they have - they just happened to catch some wave of celebrity during one of those years where aptitude didn’t matter as much as volume. I love sitting back, serenely drinking my coffee, imagining how truthful Rosie O’Donnell is with herself in regards to the page-view-count-to-talent ratio...
Is there anyone out there who can cobble-together a valid reason for this woman’s fame? The closest I can figure is that her celebrity comes from sporting a mouth that is waffle-iron-sized. Celebrity can’t just be the result of being loud and abrasive, or the View would have hired a team of sandpaper-coated howler-monkeys to occupy her empty seat, no harm, no foul...
People used to read Franz Kafka, or Aldous Huxley, and think,
"Yikes. That’s phenomenal. There’s no way I could write like that."
Now, they see Rosie O’Donnell writing on the internet like she’s penning Prince song-titles (It’s Nice 2 B Home), and think,
"SHE’S getting thousands upon thousands of readers a week? I can do THAT."
And, of course, they’re right. They might not be churning out A Brave New World, or The Metamorphosis, but the important thing is that they think they can...hell, I can play guitar about as well as I can tolerate a screaming child with a microphone, but when I see a Nickelback video, I just assume that I can write music better than that.
Icons are for 10-year-olds who want to scream and cry at a Britney Spears concert; even then, it won’t be long before some pre-teen heads to another heavily-choreographed, lip-synched dance-extravaganza and says to themselves,