Urine in the bucket
Attack someone…get applauded.
Have a meltdown…get headlines.
Spew hate…get a TV show.
Insult leaders and civil servants…you are just acting your age.
Promote and take illegal drugs…you’re relevant (even as people die daily from drug abuse).
In trouble with the law…it must be a police conspiracy against you.
Blame everyone (but yourself) for your failed relationships…well, you know.
Try to inspire…you are preachy.
Do good for those who are suffering…You have an agenda.
Live a mindful life of moderation…You are boring.
It sends all the wrong messages to artists (and the world) to continue to celebrate the worst decisions and actions. It communicates that the best way to stay relevant is to screw up. Actual winning at life looks like losing. Lives falling apart is too often portrayed as winning. Hurting someone becomes a tool for success. Hate can be a PR play. Dangerous living will keep you in the headlines.
I want to be clear that this is not about perfection. Perfection does not exist. No one can live their life without problems. Everyone has their struggles. Just this week we lost another great one to drug addiction. We should not hold any artist up as a flawless role model. Celebrities are normal people under extraordinary pressure. Pressure to perform at the highest level. Pressure to look and act perfect. Lack of privacy. Chased by photographers. Family and friends threatened. I have never met anyone that signs up for this kind of pressure cooker. Most artists are simply trying to use their God-given talents.
My concern today is about a growing cultural problem. The vicious cycle that is created when bad behavior generates publicity. The publicity is intoxicating and leads to more bad behavior. To often people find themselves caught up in a repeating pattern that is destructive. They wake up one day to realize that the recreational experiment has become a life (and career) threatening problem. Too often, they play the game at the expense of their lives, reputations, and careers.
We are leaving the appreciation of ART and replacing it with the promotional value of the FART. Talented people spiral out of control and culture responds with fervor. We spend too much time focusing on the passing stinch. Sure, this kind of news gets people talking but in the end it is still just crap. It is gone as fast as it came. Afterwards it requires another explosion to generate the next round of buzz.
It makes it harder for artists to get the help they need if we get our daily fix off of their downward spiral. It makes it almost impossible to change for the better when we obsess over harmful conduct. How can we improve the world when we are only focused on urine in the bucket?
How great would it be if we started celebrating the ones that love others without prejudice, speak words of love and acceptance, live a thoughtful life, honor those that serve us, appreciate those that risk their lives every day for us, and encourage a healthy view of relationships.