I’ve only read one Stephen King novel, the rock-infused "Christine". Oh, he’s a great storyteller, but I’m not much into the supernatural, and I’d like a little more flesh on the plot. But Mr. King has won me over with his column in "Entertainment Weekly". You see, he’s honest.
It doesn’t take much to turn the tide. Just a viewpoint, or a tip. Then a fan coddles up to a star and the bond doesn’t break until many offenses are committed. We view our heroes, those we believe in, like brothers, we don’t break family ties easily.
Belief. That’s been left out of the rock star equation. We no longer believe in Bono. It’s the phony glasses, and his urge to save the world. He doesn’t seem to be playing to us anymore, rather to a higher class of people, in control of the universe. As for Bruce Springsteen, he stepped out on his wife. You may judge him on his music, but his working class fans, his moralistic fans, just couldn’t understand it. They found out in the tabloids? Shouldn’t he have announced a formal separation, never mind a divorce?
I still listen to U2’s music, but I never miss a chance to slam Bono, he messed with my vision of him, the guy who made "Achtung Baby" and followed it up with that fabulous tour. As for Bruce, shit, I forgive his marital transgression, relationships are hard when you’re a loner musician, but when he gets all preachy now it makes me want to throw something. Hey Bruce, why don’t you laugh and say you don’t know shit, like the rest of us fiftysomethings. Why don’t you humanize yourself, speak through your music, stop preaching to a choir that doesn’t exist.
Then again, Bruce did write that anti-Bush editorial in the "New York Times". He took a stand, when everybody was afraid of being Dixie Chicked. Hell, Bono went to the Oval Office. I ain’t NEVER gonna go to the Oval Office with Bush in residence, no matter what award they want to give me. Sure, they’re not going to give me an award, but I wouldn’t speak to O.J. over Christmas for the same reason. Yup, he was in the hotel, for a week, fuck him.
What caused me to truly turn the corner on Stephen King was his list of favorite tracks at the end of 2005 in EW. It included James McMurtry’s "We Can’t Make It Here". I haven’t heard anything that good since. You get props for enriching my life like that. That’s why I believe in Stephen King.
I read everything about the man now. The book reviews, the articles. I’m following him. And I was stunned, positively amazed, when I read his comments in "Newsweek" today.
Yes, on page 50 of the January 22nd issue, there’s a large picture of Mr. King and his To-Do list for the rest of his life.
1. To live to see George W. Bush tried for crimes against humanity.
2. To fly in space – orbital would be fine – and to write about it.
3. To see "American Idol" canceled.
Starting with number two. I get that as a writer. It’s so powerful, so much fun to write about a great experience.
But really, it’s number one that titillates. He’s not only hitting, he’s hitting hard. There’s no pussyfooting, there’s no obfuscating, he’s not only laying it out, he’s punching.
But it’s number three I’m most interested in. While Clive Davis is being lauded for his "American Idol" achievements in the L.A. "Times", as the besuited execs clamor for a similar opportunity, while everybody’s creaming in their jeans over all that money, Stephen King is saying what we music fans feel. He’s playing the Nazi in "The Producers". This isn’t music. This isn’t what he and we believe in!
Listen to those gurus who say that it’s only about units, about cash, that anything you do to achieve this goal is okay, the public is not paying attention.
I’ll tell you, most of America is like the people in McMurtry’s "We Can’t Make It Here", working for a wage, trying to make ends meet and doing it honestly. They’ve got no opportunities to sell out, and wouldn’t if given the chance, all they’ve got is their dignity.
We’ve got a phony country, involved in a phony war. The tide is starting to turn. The 2006 election taught us that. Used to be that music led the charge, hell, remember "Eve Of Destruction"? But now music is at the end of the endless media parade going in the wrong direction.
I don’t believe in Bono.
I don’t believe in Davis.
I don’t believe in Morris.
I don’t believe in Carey.
I don’t believe in Levy.
I don’t believe in Jay-Z.
I don’t believe in Top Forty.
I don’t believe in Best Buy.
I do believe in McMurtry. And King. And Jobs too.
And life is meaningless without belief.