Wednesday, December 14, 2011
It's the man, not the beard (Guest Post)
Photo: Mary Margaret Chambliss
Matisyahu in his own words
Here’s to you, Matisyahu – L’chaim!
I don’t know much of the music – but I think “One Day” is as good a song as I’ve ever heard, and to a lesser degree, I liked a couple others that I happened to listen to – and I don’t even know the man at all. Like all “stars” who ascend and find success in the pop world, he quickly became a caricature in the minds of the masses as well as his fans or detractors. That world is a tough place, a roller-coaster of emotional peaks and valleys – it’s what they call “life in the fast lane,” and it’s not for the faint of heart. For all its attractive veneer of fame, fortune and achievement, it’s a life that few of us can relate to at all.
Among the realities that come with the territory, everything becomes amplified and placed under a microscope. It’s constantly and consistently open-season on the human being in question, as the non-stop judgmentalism of the folks keeping score at home and on the streets heave praise, scorn or indifference upon their subject without mercy. Ain’t life grand? Bastards and bloodsuckers is what we are, my friends. Not for nothing do many a famous star or starlet suffer either silently or publicly – oh, but you say, “they’re big boys and girls,” or “if you can’t take the heat stay of out the kitchen.” Ain’t you a sweetheart.
“Hey,” you respond, “they wanted the money, right? They wanted that fame, right? Well, they can’t have their cake and eat it to, you know.” Uh huh, you must be one of the compassionate types, eh? I don’t have a clue what the beard thing is about, and I don’t know much about the man other than the fact that he’s another human being trying to find his way. And that second point is, I believe, more than can be said for many of us. Most of the gutless pontificators and self-proclaimed know-it-alls (myself included), simply live life in the break-down lane, exchanging liberty and all of life's possibilities for the safety and security of following the rules of convention, “minding our rhyme and meter and going quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions.” So it is that most of us live those lives of “quiet desperation” that Thoreau spoke of, and throw stones at those who take the road less-traveled. So, I don’t know Matisyahu’s thoughts at all, but I do know what it means to feel alienated. I know what it means to feel imprisoned by my community or to be put in a box by others. I know that there are countless times that I would have loved to give ‘em all a big pie-in-the-face. How many of us wouldn’t have liked to kick convention to the curb and scream out, “I don’t want to be a part of you all?! I don’t want you to keep on defining me!” When will we give people room to live?