This morning, I’ve just watched Lee’s latest video. Yesterday, he posted about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. I haven’t had the chance to watch that video yet, but apparently, he got some really shitty comments from people who have basically told him to shut up and play music. I turned on his RBG video now, so I’m listening as I write this. Bill and I have a lunch date for later and I got up late, so I’m kind of rushing to get stuff done.
Ever since the pandemic started, Leland Sklar, who is a world class bass guitar player, has been making videos on YouTube. He sometimes posts two or three videos a day, sharing music and awesome stories. I have discovered new music through him and thoroughly enjoyed his stories of meeting fans on the road, playing with some of my favorite musicians like James Taylor and Carole King, and seeing his adorable basset hounds. Sometimes he shows his dogs playing and howling and Arran will join in.
So… I have just finished listening to Lee’s tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the one that has shitty comments calling him a liberal who lives in a “bubble” in Los Angeles. He also said someone sent him a private message that was nasty. You know what Lee’s video for RBG mostly consisted of? Well, about 80% of it consisted solely of a beautiful and well-known piano piece by Claude Debussy, the majestic “Clair de Lune”, which I first heard when I was an undergraduate at what was then known as Longwood College. A music major friend who was focusing on voice and piano played it for me in one of the practice rooms. I have lost touch with the friend, but she gave me a lifelong gift when she introduced that piece to me when I was 19 years old.
I already had “Clair de Lune” on my computer, but Leland’s post inspired me to buy another album with more of Debussy’s elegant music. So, I guess he gave me a gift, and he prompted me to gift iTunes with a sale… and perhaps the artists who played that beautiful music for the recording. How is it that I could leave that tribute feeling gratified and moved, but other people were only prompted to post hateful comments?
I have occasionally gotten nasty comments myself on things I’ve written, mostly on the old blog, where I didn’t moderate comments before they could be posted. Here, I get far fewer, which is a nice thing. Not only do I moderate, but I set this blog so that Google is “discouraged” to index it. It just isn’t worth my time or sanity to deal with trolls. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone like Lee, who has millions of fans around the world. There are some truly fucked up people out there.
What really struck me about Leland’s response video, the first one in this post, is how hurt he sounds as he addresses the “haters”. He strikes me as such a kind and sensitive soul. I have never met Lee, but watching his videos make me feel like I know him somewhat. He shares so much of himself daily, and puts himself out there for anyone who’s interested. And people feel like they can say anything they want to him, emboldened by the fact that he’s a well-known musician and they are anonymous “nobodies” behind a computer screen. Of course, no one is really a “nobody”. Everyone knows someone, and if you’re known by someone, that means you exist and have some level of importance to someone. But I think sometimes people forget that there are real people behind the screen… and maybe you think you know them because you can see and hear them. But you really don’t know them as much as you might think you do…
I think writers and musicians attract a lot of people who think they really know them and what’s in their hearts. I’ve had people assume things about me, and sometimes people project a tone to my words that maybe I don’t really feel. Like, if you heard me speaking rather than just read my words, you might come away with a different idea of what I mean.
Leland Sklar is a liberal musician who lives in Los Angeles. Many people think they know what it means to be a liberal and what’s in their hearts. I have a lot of conservative relatives who equate liberals with communists who want to take away their rights. I have never met a single liberal person who advocates for communism. What I’ve seen are mostly people who champion equality, sometimes in ways that may be objectionable. I don’t agree with all liberal tenets myself. As I get older, I find that I like them more than the conservative tenets I grew up with. Living in different places has changed me. If I hadn’t had all of this exposure to different people and places, maybe I would have stayed more conservative. But then I know conservative people who have lived in many places, too, and they stick with their world views. I try not to automatically assume the worst about them simply because we disagree on politics.
I don’t understand why people can’t simply scroll past things that inspire them to post mean and insulting comments. The Internet is such a huge entity. There’s somewhere online for almost everyone. And no matter what you think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her legacy, there’s no need to be gleeful about her death and post rotten comments like she was a “goblin” or a “walking dead person” for two years. Some people are genuinely hurt and saddened by her passing and what it will mean for the people for whom she advocated, as well as balance to the Supreme Court. The people who are hurting have the right to grieve and express themselves without rudeness from the “peanut gallery”. What’s more, artists, writers, and musicians are here to express themselves. That’s the essence of what they do and of creativity itself. They belong to no one, and no one has the right to tell them to shut up and play, sing, color, write, or whatever else.
Now… time to get in a little guitar practice before I get dressed and head off to lunch with my sweet husband.