As recent deaths in the music world have left me melancholy, disheartened and am sure, soon to be wistful and pining for the days of yore, I can’t help but think of a certain term I heard a while back that doesn’t directly tie in with the news de jour but certainly can be tied tangentially if one tries. The term I am referring to is Slactivism. Slactivism, as described to me, is the act of being an activist for a certain cause or causes primarily for the self-congratulatory feeling of being and activist – all the while not actually accomplishing anything for said cause(s).
Example: It’s really easy to pin a virtual ribbon on your social media profile stating the fact that you hate this certain disease or that you think little Mary Joe Anonymous should get 500 likes because she had her hair pulled on the playground today and you are SO against bullying. Not saying those are necessarily bad things to be against and I am certainly not saying we shouldn’t get behind certain causes to force their eradication from our society BUT you strapping a magnet on your car or sharing a post from your 32nd cousin on Facebook and then DOING NOTHING isn’t the cure for cancer we were hoping for. Being a Slacker Activist i.e.: SLACTIVIST does nothing but make it a little easier for you to sleep at night because deep down in that soul of souls, you know you didn’t do a damn thing.
Actual change, actual tangible change is not made through virtual likes and shares, it’s made through hard work, financial contribution, research, trial and error, and dudes and dudettes that have much bigger brain mass than yours truly.
How is this connected to the recent loss of uber-talented musicians the likes of which we probably won’t see for years to come? Stay with me on this one. We may go down a few rabbit holes. Ok, said rock star dies of a tragic, non-discriminatory, evil, bitch-slap of a disease. Said rock star’s fans, new, old and phony (which is ok, by the way) take to the Internet to conjure up their best memory/song/picture/meme/whatever secretly trying to be the first on their feed to post so that everyone knows how cool they still are. Inevitably, you will start to see the “why” and “how” posts describing his/her death as tragic and “God’s plan” or “Devil’s Plan” (depending on what artist we are talking about) and why we cant do anything to stop this. Well, here’s the rub. I’m pretty sure we can. Look I don’t want to get off on a rant here but we live in the greatest, most advanced age in the history of mankind. That means of all the time since the Earth cooled and we crawled out of that septic tank/petri dish and learned how to walk, RIGHT NOW is the best. Think about that. We have running water, TiVo, self-parking cars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We aren’t communicating with sticks. We aren’t setting off on a 5-mile journey only never to be seen or heard from again because, well, nature. So that being said, how the hell are we still letting certain diseases take down our loved ones, friends and lead singers?
I’ll tell you why. Slactivism. That combined with apathy, ambiguousness, laziness and a myopic sense of responsibility. We don’t care about anything unless it affects us directly. You may post how much #CancerSucks but do you really feel that way? Not until you get it. Then it really sucks. I honestly think that if we had a problem - a real problem - that was going to affect all of us, not just us here in the States but everyone in the world, we’d get on that shit faster than you can say Independence Day - the movie, not the holiday. We waste so much time on shit that doesn’t matter that we have failed to see the bigger picture. We spend trillions on wars over nothing and yet have to dress up like Santa and ring a bell to get donations to cloth the homeless. We spend 57 Gazillion (real number, I looked it up) ridding the world of baldness and flaccid genitalia. Congrats, Grandpa Joe, you will at least look great and get to chase skirts while that tumor eats its way through your lower intestines. All I’m saying is if we can somehow re-prioritize our focus away from the bullshit that doesn’t matter onto the shit that does, guess what? We will get to live longer and spend more time and money on the shit that doesn’t. See? Problem solved. And all I had to do was post this online. I’m helping. But I digress..