This is hard. I wish my mouth was like a ventriloquist dummy and my heart was the puppetmaster and I could articulate all the things without tripping over my thoughts.
My contempt for cancel culture: most hashtag movements is fairly consistent. I refuse to employ any of them for the simple reason that my unwavering fidelity is wholly to the creator. Fans are fickle, we take so much for granted and often issue proclamations from a position of arrogance or worse ignorance. I don’t like these modern movements because they falsely hinge on an idiotic assumption that creators―especially celebrities―are lightbulbs and can easily be replaced.
I’ve said this before: you get 1 Prince. That’s all you get. You get 1 Bowie; 1 Michael Jackson. There are some of our best and most dynamic creators yet we often treat them like indistinguishable lego blocks snapping them in and out of our pop culture.
And as we have seen repeatedly death in a variety of forms comes for all of them. And no matter how they pass away all we are left with is The Work they did. (If we’re being honest all we as fans are ever permitted to judge is The Work. Of course, TMZ’s shoddy but profitable business indicates we have an irresponsible hunger for rumours that haven’t been fact checked. And though many church pews come Sunday morning are empty we readily apply a shoddy righteousness to the moral failings of the famous like an unreasonable duct tape to fix all that is broken. Even a casual glance at how we treat others online sadly confirms we are a cold society mostly devoid of empathy.)
I devoutly abide by creators because I value the sacrifices they have made (for themselves but also for us!). The books and movies and music and blogs and podcasts and NBA greatness we consume were made by individuals who gave up sleep and family time and beach time and so much. So much.
It wasn’t easy but it’s not meant to be easy. It’s not fair and it’s not supposed to be fair. We all labour in a system we did not design and yet we cannot afford to be intimidated by the odds.
It takes sacrifices to be good; to be great is a brutally high cost. This is why creators like Prince and Bowie stand out. Lots of people make music: Spotify is brimming with bands. But lots of people make excuses or they complain or they play the race card or do anything but The Work.
When you die people will not remember your excuses; you’re buts and wouldas, shouldas, couldas. None of that matters. When you die all you leave behind is The Work.
I am so deeply appreciative of the sacrifices these creators have done for our benefit. Who scanning their field of business decided to become one of the best to ever do it. Then followed through and put the time and the effort and the hustle in so we could all enjoy magic.
I feel bad for thinking that magic would be endless.
Kobe Bryant: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010
August 23, 1978-January 26, 2020