Hi, I’m Rodney Howard – Professional Sideman Drummer (for many artists), Husband (to a hot latina friend of Lara’s) and Father (to mixed-species siblings Moxie and Zachary; Cairn Terrier and human, respectively.)
When Lara asked me to be a guest blogger for Manuary, I assumed I should avoid two things: Profanity and the temptation to soapbox. (oh he don’t know me so well do he? in her best Elmer Fudd voice) After witnessing Ed The Destroyer soundly thrash assumption #1, I decided to dispense with assumption #2 as well.
Hopefully you the readers, who I assume are also parents of some sort, can recognize what I perceive as a nationwide epidemic.:The complete proliferation of Laziness, Entitlement and general Dumbass-edness of almost every young American I encounter. And it’s our fault.
As “Sean Hannity” as that sounds coming out of a rocker type like myself, consider this: I make my living being plugged into, and LOVING much of current youth culture. I’m not a hata and I’m not Larry David. I tour the world, party a LOT, do what I love for a living, and am witness (and occasional happy participant) to a good bit of hedonism. And from that vantage point I tell you this:
90% of the American teens I meet make The Sex Pistols look like motivational speakers. I can rarely get a kid at McDonald’s to find the picture button that would successfully complete my order. I have to repeat my coffee order 3 times before it gets understood. I have young musicians asking me how to get manager before they can even play at beginner’s level. I know of BIG up-and-coming bands who can’t even play the notes you’ll hear on the radio because they assume the producer can “fix it in ProTools”. (I personally witnessed a young, good looking bass player blow an audition for a major artist- the BIGGEST opportunity of his lifetime and possibly his last – because he never learned the songs.) And don’t even get me started on the parade of deluded assholes I see every season on American Idol. Hell, even Paula Abdul, a fucking judge, was well-known for having NOT actually sung her tracks!
We have created this reality for our kids: You’ll always win, or at least get kudos for participation. You are destined for greatness, and the menial task at hand is just a place-keeper. Your online opinion is valid, regardless of your ability to articulate or spell a simple sentence, simply because you own a computer or cell phone… And you will all be famous! If not for your mediocre skills or talent, then for your willingness do anything on a reality show a la “For The Love Of Ray J” or screw someone more famous than you in a sex tape. You deserve success, regardless of your efforts or care toward that goal…. And everyday we, their parents, help solidify that reality. When we buy gossip mags, read crap internet “journalists”, give meaningless soccer trophies just for showing up, advance them through school regardless of merit, or watch Crap Reality Show Du Jour, we are propping up that trend with our attention and approval.
I’m not suggesting all our kids become PBS nerds. What I AM saying is that we need to highlight to our kids the famous/edgy/successful people for whom stupidity, self-importance and laziness haven’t become badges of honor. (And maybe stop legitimizing those who create NOTHING). Tell them that the Jonas Brothers work their ASSES off. Tell them how Dave Grohl (Lara swoons, “oh how I crush on Dave!”) is the one of the smartest and most polite dudes out there. Kelly Clarkson, Fergie & Rhianna are absolute sweethearts. Hell, Marilyn Manson is smarter than most of my high school teachers. These things I know from personal experience.
So let’s ease up on the ass-patting, trophy-giving love of the self-involved mediocre. Tell ’em they can do better every now and then. Tell ’em that to BE great you have to BECOME great. And stop giving your eyes, ears & dollars to to the useless, no matter how much they entertain you.
We’ll never end apathy & stupidity. But we can make it at least make it unfashionable.
Can I get a HELL EFFING YEAH?!!! I can tell you this about Rodney, in all impartiality, he can back his shit up. He is an amazing artist who works as hard on his music as he does on being a decent human being. I count myself not only honored to know him but to have him take time out to come hang with the Nuggetiers. Thanks R!