Sunday, July 10, 2022

Exactly Like Jimi Hendrix...Only a Pasty Rich Suburban Kid 60 Years Later

There's a "rock concert" happening near my house. I can hear it through my open window. 23 year old princes of suburbia playing a 60 year old revolutionary music style as if were karaoke.
Hey, I'm doin' it! ROCK 'N ROLL!!!! WOOOOO!!! I'm just like those guys! Only this time it's me!
"Only this time it's me." That's the core of it.

You know how old-timey tourist traps often have cardboard scenes of, like, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with holes cut out so you and your family can stick your faces in the holes and snap a cheesy photo? "Whee, look at me! I'm a whole other thing!"

That's what's happening down the block from my house. "Look at me!! I'm Jimi Hendrix!! WOOOOO!!"

But it's not just a rock star problem. Virtually everyone is sticking their face in some cheesy tableau. That's why I keep noting that most singers become singers because they want to be singers, not because they want to sing.

And there's nothing wrong with it, if you want to be a tourist. But if you want to actually add something during your brief worldly residency, and not just compile silly photos to your camera roll, do something you love and believe in. And do it just because you love it and believe in it.

And don't turn that into yet another cheesey cut-out photo op - "Look at me! I’m that incredibly committed person who does it because s/he loves it so damned much!" That's the most obnoxious pose of all. The would-be rock stars down the block are doing that with their flamboyant bluesy excesses. Flaunting what soulful bad asses they are, like dogs peeing on fire hydrants (dogs don't have much internal narrative, but I do think they get "This time it's me!").

Human beings can do better than dogs (nothing against dogs!). If we opt out of narcissistically watching ourselves star in movies, we have a chance of inspiring a few people as much as Jimi Hendrix did (even if we sweep streets for a living). You can't get there via "This time it's me!"

Lots of people misinterpret this timeless advice to mean "be original". No, that's not it. That's just another cheesey cardboard tableau to stick your face in. "Maverick Guy!" Don't flail around for a deeper, better pose! Stop posing entirely! Come on in, the water's fine!

Read "The Crux of Creativity"

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