Thursday, April 9, 2015
I is for Irony
Sometimes I will be driving in the car and my mind will have wandered off to think about something. When I finally snap back to reality and hear whatever is playing on the radio, I think, "What the hell is this shit?" I might even look around to see if anyone near me in traffic had just mistaken me for a boy band fan.
The very first thing I noticed tonight when they released the dashboard video of the police officer who shot Walter Scott was the fact that he was listening to Everlast's song "What Its Like." I actually thought it was meant for affect in the news story. It would have been poignant, right? A really great choice.
I was taken aback when I realized that is what the officer was listening to when this all was going down. For anyone who has never heard it, the song is absolutely beautiful. It tributes people who, for one reason or another, have fallen on hard times. He asks his audience to consider what it might be like to find themselves in that persons shoes. He asks his audience to be empathetic. For at least the last couple of decades the popular music we have been offered has been very formulaic. Once a sound or theme becomes popular, music executives will go after that until it is run into the ground. I can honestly say this Everlast song is one of the greatest songs in at least the last couple of decades because it is not like any other songs and its so thought provoking.
I don't know the officer. I hate it when I make a snap judgment about a person because of a single act. It is beneath me, I believe. I try to allow people to have bad moments and make bad choices. I am not there yet with this officer Slager. I have seen him, within a minutes time, shoot a fleeing man in the back, handcuff him when he is either mortally wounded or already dead, and race back to get the item he would use to create the lie where he would place the blame on the victim.
Irony is supposed to have a piece of it that makes you chuckle, if only in the back of your mind. This isn't funny in any way. It is ironic, though. He was listening to one of the most compassionate and loving songs we've had in a long time. This song is asking us to find our humanity and offer it to others. And this was our soundtrack as he took off after a man to kill him for a broken tail light.