01/14/2010 • 2:25 pm 1
A certain sector of my internet was abuzz yesterday over the death of Jay Reatard, the twenty-nine year old punker from Memphis who made his name as a staple of Goner Records and was beginning to move on to bigger things as a recent enlistee to Matador. It is a tragedy, to be sure, and I have no intention of being light-hearted about it. While I personally wasn’t that familiar with his music (I’m not that into punk, and he didn’t loom as large within my circle of friends in Los Angeles as he appears to have in the Southeast and East Coast – looking at my iPod, I only have one of his tracks and I can’t recall ever listening to it), I certainly have nothing but admiration for his work ethic and dedication to music. Sadly, many of his followers seem to think that he had his best years ahead of him.
Beyond all of that, he was simply too young to die randomly in his sleep (Perhaps of flu? Damn!). That one’s a no-brainer.
Still, the biggest thing that I take from Reatard’s death is a lesson about living in the social networking age. The web 2.0 era makes it all-too easy for us to say juvenile or mean-spirited things and have them published immediately. It frees us to curse and to spew nastiness, and neither of those really seems to have much consequence because our facebook feeds (or Twitter, or whatever) cycle ever-so-quickly and our moments of crappiness scroll down the page. But we can’t take that for granted. What if the scrolling stops?
I’m sure that Reatard was, as Bradford Cox said, “a person with feelings and a good heart.” I’m also sure that a lot of his well-publicized bravado was based not on genuine meanness but on a desire to fit within the snotty and punky archetype of which he seemed enamored. That said, I can’t help but guess that he wouldn’t have wanted his crabby Twitter feed, complete with a final message asking fans to vandalize another band’s car, to have been his legacy. Yet that Twitter feed was where I, as someone only peripherally aware of Reatard, went when I first heard the news yesterday.
Thus, I resolve to be a lot nicer on the internet… just in case I die. I’ve been guilty of saying horrible things and not thinking twice about them. I’m going to do my best not to do that anymore.
Anyway, condolences to the dude’s many friends and fans.
12/11/2009 • 1:56 pm 0
Tabitha Soren, my first legitimate celebrity crush and the best thing that ever happened to MTV, is on facebook. She’s been out of the public eye for a long time now and doesn’t seem to be using facebook for either networking or self-promotional purposes, so I won’t add her as a friend. I bet that it’s weird for her when people do that.
I was reminded of Soren a couple of months ago, when my buddy Nathan told me that our friend Jess had recently run into her at a Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley. I guess she doesn’t live in France anymore. I would have been glad to have run into Tabitha Soren at a Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley — or anywhere.
One time I met Michael Stipe on a plane.
Anyway, this is an interview that Soren conducted with Tupac back in 1995. Unfortunately, it’s grainy: