I posted the majority of this blog post first to A Journal of Musical Things and since it kinda complements a similar sentiment I shared here earlier in the month about Christina Grimmie’s death I wanted to put it here too. I’m mildly concerned with the prospect that Grimmie’s tragic passing will discourage other artists from doing live meet and greets. I’ve personally had the opportunity to shake the hands of talents which inspire me like Rebecca Loebe and Julia Nunes and even though I felt like an idiot and had nothing to say to them other than.. I don’t remember saying anything of merit come to think of it I think I just stood there and smiled like an idiot. Probably looked like a stalker and scared them. Still. I think this is important. The odds that a lunatic will shoot a celebrity are still rather nil, as I explain below.
I shouldn’t have to point this out but I’m going to anyway: yes Christina Grimmie’s incident is not unique. There have been other incidents. Dimebag Darrell comes to mind off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others but I’m too lazy to do my homework here. However, this is like airplane crashes. Again, I’m too lazy to go get exact facts and numbers but for every failed plane trip there are many who succeed. Many others. I’m sure if I did count the numbers they’d be staggering. Just cuz there’s been a plane crash, that doesn’t make it any less safe to fly. I once read there are more bathtub related deaths than plane related deaths. Again. I really should google all this before I hit send.
My point is, yes the threat is there that some lunatic is gonna gun down their own favorite celebrity, or just use a gun to criticize the latest album. However that threat has always been there, and the incidents are massively low. I’m upset over Grimmie’s death. However, I imagine the last thing she’d want other artists to take away from this would be to end meet and greets or even live performances. It’s more than just the money. The live experience is a significant reason for music; the connection between the artists and their fans may be more important than anything else.
Unless you’re Emily Dickinson, you’re never going to become famous screaming into a hope chest. What’s life without some risk? It may be corny to say “if we don’t do X, we let the terrorists win” but I think in this instance it’s appropriate. Those who wallow in fear and hate and spread that message of blood across the Earth can’t be allowed to win this. Every now and then we gotta poke our heads out of our little prairie holes and sing to the sun. Predators be damned.
Then again, that’s easy for me to say. I’m not the one sticking my head out of the prairie hole. Not anymore. I don’t do public appearances of any sort. Thankfully I never achieved any level of notoriety on the web. Fifteen or twenty years ago I would have wanted that but not today, for a lot of reasons. This being a very small part of why, but I guess I have to acknowledge it. Being shot at for having an opinion is never on my To Do List. More importantly though, while I admire those people who can go chasing after conventions and whatevers, hustling to get their name out there and supporting charities and achieving fame and fortune, I just don’t have the stomach for it.
I should probably point out here at the end that when I wrote this (the part that’s not italicized) I didn’t try to google anything. I was just riffing off the top of my head of course, like I have done countless times in many online message boards and chat rooms and whatever Reddit is.. I still don’t know if more people die in bathtubs than planes, but after reading Tucker Carlson’s uneducated comparison of guns to tubs, I probably should google more as I’m opening my big fat yapper.