Saturday, April 23, 2016

Someday My Prince Will Come

Two things are starting to get to me in the flood of public mourning of Prince's death.

One is less serious, but a lot of what I see isn't really mourning, it's whining. Yes, it's sad that Prince died, and that he died relatively young. (Not compared to Mozart, Schubert or any number of other greats, of course.) But the same reaction is applied to people who die even at quite advanced ages.  It was kind of creepy during the years of Nelson Mandela's decline, when many people freaked out every time he went into the hospital. I think that if they could have, they'd have kept him on life support forever, as tired and sick as he was. There seems to be a real panic and inability to cope with the fact that people are mortal. This is especially strange given how many of these people are religious or "spiritual." One reason I don't miss having a religion is that religion doesn't really seem to help most people cope with mortality, their own or others'.

The other is more serious, though a bit less common: the people who are putting up memes and other material lamenting the fact that Kanye West, or Ted Nugent, or Justin Bieber is still alive. If you can't mourn one celebrity's loss without this kind of vicious and mean-spirited attack on anybody else, then something is wrong with you. That goes double for those of you who are ostentatiously religious or "spiritual." That's another reason I don't miss having a religion; it really doesn't seem to improve people's characters. (A more common version of this is the conservative Christians I know who alternate between posting vile racist crap on one hand, and fake-nicey-nice religious platitudes on the other. You're not fooling me, folks, and if you're not fooling me you're certainly not fooling Jesus or Buddha. I'll see you in Hell. Yet the people who are upset at the surivival of West and Nugent tend to be liberals, both in politics and religion. Remember, Jesus said that the vast majority of human beings would be damned. I'll see you in Hell, too, while Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum watch our torment from the bosom of Abraham.)

But at the same time, both of these are reasons why I think that social media like Facebook are worthwhile: it lets so many people show their asses in public, so that any illusions I might otherwise have about them are dispelled. It's not pleasant, but knowledge is better than ignorance to my mind.

And the rest of you who don't fall into either of these camps, carry on; I'm not criticizing you.