The Weekly Walk – June 15, 2012
I went to the Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner last night in Times Square. Such a cool evening celebrating some amazing songwriters. Songwriters honored were: Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Don Schlitz (wrote “the gambler” ’nuff said), Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (wrote “the fantasticks” which ran on broadway for 43 years, ’nuff said), Jim Steinman (meatloaf’s right hand man, sold over 160 million records, ’nuff said), Bette Midler, Ne-Yo, Woody Guthrie, Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller (wrote “hound dog”, “stand by me” amongst others), Ben E. King. Performers included: Bob Seger, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks, Ben E. King, Cheyenne Jackson, LP, Take 6, Kenny Rogers, Steve Miller, Meatloaf, Valerie Simpson.
Amazing performances, probably the best version of “the rose” that i’ve ever heard done by Stevie Nicks. The night made me thankful that i’m actually in this business.
So that was cool but as i was walking back to my office after the show, it was about 11:30pm at night. I can’t say the streets are deserted because it’s New York City and it never shuts off but i was confronted with an odd site. There were campers all over the sidewalk on 48th street. i watched this line of folks and studied them for a minute. this line of people in sleeping bags was over 5 blocks long, it went around 48th street and up 5th avenue. now, i’ve seen people camping out for tickets, for important shows etc, but as i studied the crowd it became increasingly clear that this was something different. the average age of these kids sleeping out on a hard new york city sidewalk was 10 – 12 years old. these were little girls, hundreds of them, wanting to be first in line to see their idol, Justin Bieber.
Where have we gone wrong? What is happening to society? I get the whole, “i’m a fan” thing. i love my fans, i love people that support what i do, it’s the life blood of any recording artist. Justin supports his fans as well, he loves them. i totally get that but…..here we have 8, 9 & 10 year old girls sleeping on a hard sidewalk in New York City just to catch a glimpse of some kid who got lucky doing his thing. I’m not naive, i understand the way the world works but i would never let my daughter sleep out with her friends in NYC just to see this kid. And what would they do if they actually got to touch him or converse with him. They’d probably faint because he looked at them.
As a parent i’m trying to raise my kids to NOT be so enamored by the celebrity status. it’s so hard because it’s pushed into their lives so regularly and so often. we need to find ways to regulate it, to make it OK to not be beautiful, to not be perfect, to not have everyone love you. a person is a person, whether they are the dude that has the lead in the latest hollywood movie, or the woman that takes your ticket at the theatre. they are just people. we are all here doing the same thing. trying to survive whatever this world will throw at us.
i pray every night that my kids will follow Jesus and look up to Jesus. That they will make Him the most important thing in their lives. i can guide them that way but only they can make that decision. this celebrity obsession that our society has gets in the way of that message. it beats it down daily. i don’t want to be a “fan” of Jesus like we’re fans of hollywood stars, musicians etc. i want to be a follower. I want to follow His word, follow who He was, not just buy His book and read it. buy His book and live it. Follow in his footsteps, try to be like who He was and still is.
So fine, be a fan of Bieber, be a fan of whoever you’re a fan of. That’s totally cool. But be a follower of Jesus, not a fan, a follower. I’m reading an incredibly compelling and challenging book right now called “not a fan” by kyle idelman. in it he takes this thought process to new levels. i highly encourage that you read it. find the difference between the fan and the follower of Jesus. you can find it here
thanks for reading.
Posted on June 15, 2012 by Dave Pettigrew in