“And if the band your in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.” — Roger Waters
Writers have tells. Some may call it personal style while others call it a crutch. I litter a lot of my posts with lyrics from songs. I got the idea from a historical novel I read that began each chapter with a fake quote from a historical figure. The effect in the book was comedic. Here, I am going for something else.
Like almost every writer I know, Waters was speaking from personal experience here. Most of the time the most powerful stories we tell are the true ones. I have to admit I have one idea banging around my head for a novel, but I’m just not creative enough to make a go of it. The best novelists and song writers use their own personal experience to tell a compelling story. As one literary expert said, there are really only about 100 original stories ever told.
Waters is telling the story of Syd Barrett who was the first lead singer and song writer for Pink Floyd. What happened is fairly documented. In lay man’s terms he went nuts. Clinically it is never quite as easy. It might have been schizophrenia. It might have been simply a psychosis brought on by heavy drug use. It might also have been the disorganized mind of an eccentric artist. By the early 1970s, hardly anyone heard from Barrett ever again, The lyrics above were written for The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973.
The miracle of social media is that we are able to stay connected to people we never would have been connected to otherwise. The problem with social media is that we stay connected to people we never would have otherwise. It is going on 30 years since high school. When you put things that way it becomes a lot easier to grasp. We have lived longer since high school than we lived up until graduation. Is it that hard to imagine that someone might change that dramatically given the time?
So, what do we do when we discover that someone we knew has gone around the bin? In the case of Waters, he virtually cut Barrett off. His band mates David Gilmour and Richard Wright tried to keep the relationship alive past the late 1960s, but even they had to give up. Some people either don’t want to be helped or are beyond our help. Or, as Mick Jagger said in 19th Nervous Breakdown, “On our first trip I tried so hard to rearrange your mind, But after awhile I realized you were disarranging mine.”
A friend on Facebook posted a long screed about how the election had been stolen from Donald Trump. It was obvious fraud and any idiot could see it. Except you can’t see it. The reason why you can’t see it is because it’s not there. So, what is someone to do in this situation? One could go in the direction of Waters and simply cut that person out like a cancer. One could go the way of his bandmates and try to engage for a little while before giving up. Then, one could run the risk of facing the problem Jagger was describing.
There have always been these people in our society. There have always been these people in our lives. Sometimes we tolerate them and simply avoid certain subjects. Sometimes we can’t and they are no longer in our lives. What’s different is that these beliefs are being reinforced by right wing media sources and is now being bought and regurgitated by nearly a third of the population.
Something remarkable happened in the last month. Fox got overtaken in rarings by NewsMax. Let that sink in for a moment. Fox has become a part of the “Deep State” because they had the audacity to say that Joe Biden won the election. They are on the outs. Even once popular hosts like Tucker Carlson drew the ire of true believers because he questioned whether Sydney Powell had proof of any of the crap she has been shoveling.
As for friends long since gone, it can be disheartening and depressing to see them relieved of their faculties. We can never go back to a simpler media world where we simply assumed that all of our childhood friends were normal and well-adjusted. Life was probably better that way. Yet, we cannot avoid the fact that a growing number of us have been taken in by outrageous lies and lazy conspiracy theories. One way or another it is all going to boil over really soon.
In my last piece I talked about the end of the Republican party. It occurred to me that I never really defended why it would occur. This is the reason why. When you are not permitted to question insanity then your choice is to either become insane or leave. Either way you cannot survive. Either you suffer out in the wildnerness or you no longer become palatable to anyone outside the cult.