LETíS ALL HOLD HANDS AND GIVE A GOOD CRY
Yeah, Joey Ramone died a while ago. Seemed like a nice guy. He was in a great, aw shucks, Iíll just say it: important band. Rotten old Johnny Ė oh wait, heís dead now, too Ė stole his galpal with that Johnny charm that only a dyed in the wool, true prick can muster, leaving poor old sick Joey lonely until he died. Dee Dee, the holy fool, he died too (drugs). And it made me cry. Not one of those shut the door and grab the hanky numbers, either. No way, I really wept. It caused a flash flood of tears, and my howls of incomprehensible pain woke up my neighbors. I even pulled one of those straight from the movies moves where I kicked down my door, ran shrieking outside and raised my head up to the heavens and threw my arms out in a cruciform shape and wailed at The Gods while spurting tears every which way, because there was no other way I could cope with the deep, encompassing pain I was feeling. My emotions were going full tilt boogie, because I love the Ramones. Way more then you, which is what caused such a depth of feeling. You wouldnít understand, you, who barely likes the Ramones at all. It didnít even register with you, you just shrugged and grunted Ďthat sucksí, then when about your day. I almost feel sorry for you, even if you are on the cusp of being a sick fuck without a shred of empathy for your fellow man. Not like me, Iím sad, you know? How come you arenít as upset as me? Why I am I crying? I told you! Because Iím sad! Whatís that? FINE! I WILL GO UP TO MY ROOM. YOU JUST DONíT UNDERSTAND!!!
Then Hunter S. Thompson died and I almost lost it completely. Doctor Gonzo? Sweet Lord Jesus please take anyone but him. Why couldnít it have been me? Fuck, not only had I read all his books, but I had seen him in numerous television documentaries. I even sat through Where The Buffalo Roam, in itís entirety so you know Iím dead serious (oops, pun unintended Ė you see, because Thompsonís dead, and that could be misinterpreted as being callused and insensitive). If it wasnít for him, I would just take drugs privately without sharing the stories with everyone!
Reader: Okay Phil, this is just TOO MUCH Ė do you go out of your way to be a jerk, is that it?
Phil Honolulu: I donít know.
R: Then whatís your problem? Whatís it to you if the private matter of someone getting a case of the sniffles when a beloved celebrity that they admire, deify, or what have you, dies?
PH: Itís pissing in the wind, but I do that, too. When someone you donít even know dies, the public demonstration of pain is inherently selfish. Here goes: Let me draw attention the amount of feeling I have by demonstrating for anyone within earshot how upset I am.
R: You think so? I think youíre stretching here and as you often do, simplifying it. Try this one on for size, you insignificant time wasting blogger cum columnist, dipshit: You think itís your own lack of feeling? You think maybe because your own true self is so ugly and monstrous that seeing someone else in a moment of mourning just pisses you off, probably because you are incapable of caring about anyone but yourself?
PH: I think youíre riding on the simplification bus here too, fella; weíre just not on the same bench. Thereís nothing wrong with feeling bad when someone dies. When I heard Joey died, it seemed pretty horrible. When Hunter S. Thompson died, I lost the comfort of having a hilarious armed cynic in the woods with a gift for hyperbolic prose out there, to offer a degree of balance against the stuffed shirts. But I never met Joey, or Hunter. I didnít know either of them, and as for Ďgetting to know someoneí through their art, it is a pretty infantile notion. People and their outputs are often separate. I like ĎCatcher In The Ryeí, too, and if I was to judge Salinger just from the sad tale of Caulfield Ė I wouldnít have hesitated to leave a prepubescent female relative in Salingerís company. But now, as all should know, itís not a good idea. Itís an extreme example, but not knowing someone forfeits you the right to go whole hog with mourning, donít you think? No? Like most, Iíve had close friends and beloved family members die, and yeah sure, Iíll shed some tears and get more morose than usual, itís all part of the grieving process. Iíll go to the funeral and keep my mouth shut when other mourners make assholes of themselves with their own totally undignified shows of grief out of respect for the dead, but thatís fodder for a totally different column.
R: Hey asshole, you didnít answer the goddamn question.
PH: Iím sorry, what was it again?
R: Whatís it to you if someone feels bad, what if it is genuine feeling?
PH: Is it? Or is it calling attention to yourself?
R: Calling attention to yourself? Who the fuck are you to criticize, Phil? You pen unamusing stories about your numerous fuckups and foibles for consumption by every halfwit on the internet, and here you are bitching about people when they get upset when their heroes die.
PH: Thatís neither here nor there. It is tremendously irritating when someone you donít know dies and you get someone publicly displaying pain. Is that helping you deal with grief? Or is the attention and sympathy that is helping you? My empirical specifics arenít just Joey or Thompson Iím just talking in general. Itís an outgrowth, a symptom of widespread bullshit. Seeing some asshole don a t-shirt memorializing the tsunami tragedy is ridiculous. Yeah, itís a horrible tragedy. You think itís bad too, in fact, you think itís so horrible that you are willing to point out that factoid on a t-shirt. Thatís up there with people whose religious devotion is so intense that they are willing to put a bumper sticker on their SUV advertising their particular affinity. Let me cry now that Sandra Dee is gone - shit I was raised on ĎGidgetí - I also think that wearing a tiny ribbon will somehow help raise Ďawarenessí of AIDS, as if there are people out there who have yet to hear about it. As for those sad uniformed people who havenít heard of AIDS, how is your ribbon going to tip them off? A bunch of well-intentioned numbskulls get together and walk and wear t-shirts, thinking they may just cure breast cancer, but they are just kind of vague on the specifics as to how it helps. Really, the charity gets most of the money for itís massive infrastructure despite having a large staff of volunteers and very little money gets trickled down to any actual research? I am going to walk anyway, because the very act may somehow help.
R: Okay, now youíre all over the place. You canít mount a successful argument, because you digress too much without addressing the specific issue on the table.
PH: I know.
R: What is really so bad about someone getting so upset about someone that they donít even know dying...?
PH: I guess nothing, but it just bugs me.
R: But doesnít nearly everything bug you?
PH: Sort of. See, what I tried to express in my last column, and probably failed to articulate properly is that for all itís trapping of being some kind of non conformist laden underground, the, for lack of a less disgusting term, ĎSCENEí that readers of this column are generally in, whether they see themselves as associated with it or not is just as much of a club with the same set of behaviors as anything else, we just like happen to enjoy unpopular music. Oh well.
R: Yeah, AND?
PH: So we can all point and laugh, as we should, when a pastel wearing Soccer Mom, who is totally isolated from the actual tragedy, cries on the news when Thailand is host to a horrible disaster. Itís not that different of the Ďletís see how many tissues we can use upí competition that many engaged in as The Ramones slowly died off, one by one.
R: I donít see your point at all. Youíre reaching.
PH: I guess so. I just wish death was treated with the proper gravity.
R: And what is that? What makes you the authority on how people should deal with death? You know something, youíre a real fucking asshole, not only do you go around making fun of every Tom, Dick, and Harry, but youíre a pretty big fuckup yourself. Now you go around like youíre Walter Winchell, addressing himself directly to the High King Of The Universe, when nobody worth their weight in human shit will take you with anything but a grain of salt. What is proper gravity, you worthless fucking asshole?
PH: I donít know.
R: Well, thatís just fucking GREAT. You DONíT KNOW. FUCK.
- Phil Honululu, Letters Have No Arms
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