mike o’hara suggests arm-chair critics use their energy to create rather than hate …
We have become a lame society of spectators and soulless critics. We are inspired to do nothing other than complain, critique and tweet. We sit on the sideline of life and boo our own team. We are the limp, worthless cast of one big reality TV show.
Those words are harsh, right? I write them with no joy in my heart, I can tell you that much. The thing that really gets me is that these statements are very true by and large.
I originally was gearing up to take another shot at the music and artists that I don’t enjoy. I watched the Grammy Awards, got my fill of what and who were winning statuettes, loaded up my literally sniper rifle and took aim. I had Gwyneth Paltrow and her ridiculous heels atop Cee-Lo’s piano in my cross-hairs. My trigger finger was itching like I was wearing an Isotoner glove made of poison ivy … and then …I stopped.
I am an actor, writer and musician. I have had some great ups and downs along the way. The wins are always more fun and tragically short-lived. The losses burn and hurt and are usually remembered more by others, as I am trying to shake them off and get ready for my next at bat. As a competitor first and an artist second, I try to give myself a short pep talk when I fall down to remind myself that actually doing something is better than talking about it or taking shots from the cheap seats. When I fire jabs at the likes of so-called “hipster” rock bands and auto-tuned teen pop artist that have others write their material, I become that which I oppose. My crime has been to sit back and compare this band against that one. I have let days go by barking at the moon as to why this actor or musician has been given awards. I am guilty as charged, ladies and gentlemen, and I must now make amends.
There will never come a day when I am listening to the pop radio station here in L.A., hear a Lady Gaga song, smile and sing along. I will not be in line to see the Justin Bieber movie when it is released. I won’t be sporting a vintage sport coat, scarf and classic Atari T-shirt while talking about the secret Arcade Fire show I caught at Spaceland with my friends in Silver Lake or on the Lower East Side. I don’t enjoy these things and never will … but I won’t be taking pot shots at them anymore either.
This is where most fail in my opinion. Instead of saying, “I’m going to write a song and start a band!” or “I’m going to take a class!” or at least “I’m going to go for a run and blow off some steam!” the majority of us sit and think up the snarkiest “tweet” we can muster. I’m no Snooki fan either, but why not write a show lampooning Snooki and the Jersey Shore culture? This would at least bring about a positive from that which most deem to be a negative. And even if your script is never sold and Snooki goes on to that 16th minute of fame, you would have created something real. A piece of original writing is worth one hundred times more than another “The Jersey Shore Sucks” tweet or comment on Facebook.
I don’t mean to sound like Tony Robbins. I fully realize that the world is a big ball of negativity most days and that it is very easy to get rolled up in it. The news is brimming with political stories about this side hating that side and the rhetoric gets more heated everyday from BOTH sides. Pop culture, music, TV, books and movies were once the way to beat back the nonsense and escape. They were there to inspire us to create our own world, not tear down those of others.
I recently wrote that punk rock music is not dead. It isn’t. You may not like punk, but so what? Let your taste in music push you to write an article alerting more to your favorite band if starting your own isn’t in the cards. If you were really put off by an actor taking home an Emmy or word that another reality star just signed a book deal or got a spin-off show, don’t immediately turn to bash them. Why not put together your own web series? Hey, if you have the technology to go to Twitter, then I absolutely guarantee you have the tools to put together a show on the web.
We live in an extremely interesting time. I know the old guard will say the 1960s had this period in time beat seven ways to Sunday … and they may have a point. I don’t think times were more exciting, but I do feel people reacted to them in a better way. Sure, they didn’t have the gizmos and gadgets we do. They weren’t subjected to nonstop cable news, but it seems they hell bent on creating new music, movies, television and writing to make their voices heard. A tweet has no tone. Facebook has no emotion. Only human beings can really add those things to the world and we need to start doing that “LIVE AND IN PERSON” again now.
As 2011 creeps through its third month, I can actually see a new renaissance time just below the surface of the critics and the cowards. There is still a beating heart that keeps us alive with the potential to do amazing things. It’s really is up to us. We can write the next great chapter and inspire … or snipe, argue, complain and then fade into the vast nothingness these things yield.
If you want music, movies, TV, art or the world on a whole to change then create something of your own rather than talking smack in the shadows. It can be just that easy.