Over 40 years ago Don MacLean wrote about the day the music died in his song American Pie. It seems that 2016 might be the year that the music died. It is only April and we have already lost a number of notables in the music industry.
Country and Western is not my genre but Merle Haggard who passed away last week was a giant in country music for half a century. George Martin, who died last month age 90, was the legendary fifth Beatle who pulled the band together and arguably led the group to success.
Music permeates all cultures and civilizations. It affects us at many levels. Many people associate certain events in their lives with certain songs. Engagements, weddings and funerals often have a musical backdrop.
And of course, we all have differing tastes. There is no right or wrong to this. Some musicians too, have morphed and changed as years go by. Look at Madonna today compared to the 1980’s or even Lady Gaga compared to five years ago.
The pioneer of changing form, David Bowie, also left us earlier in the year. In life he was always a trendsetter, one step ahead of the herd. In having and then dying of cancer he again went against the popular trend.
It was a private matter. He did not announce to the world that he had been diagnosed with an illness. There was no ongoing story of his brave battle with cancer. There were no pictures of him with drip lines on social media. He did not start an awareness campaign, a foundation or call for somebody to put up more funding.
Even the tweet by his son confirming the passing was succinct and accompanied by “his signing off for now”.
He dealt with a personal issue in private. This is rare and praiseworthy.
Ben Elton’s 2007 book Blind Faith (pre Instagram, Facebook and Twitter taking off) is set in a word where everyone knows everything about everybody. And where, what a person “feels” and “truly believes” is protected under law while what is rational and even provable is condemned as heresy.
Less than a decade later this fiction has almost come to pass. The ability of those whose “feelings” have been “offended” are vigorously pursued by a gaggle of government departments while facts go by the wayside. The events in Cologne bear this out.
What we had for lunch is Facebook fodder and who any particular celebrity is sleeping with this week is click bait. Cable TV is filled with “reality” shows like Geordie Shore where getting drunk and having sex is done for the entertainment of others.
I have no issue with what people watch or how they live their lives – that is their business.
However, the right to privacy and free speech matter and must be defended. Those who want to expose their lives are free to do so. Those who want their lives kept private must be equally free to have their privacy.
Offence can never be given, only taken. Freedom of thought and expression are genuine human rights and are worth defending. Indeed millions have died through history for defending that right from those who would remove it.
A pushback is starting against political correctness, which stops people saying what they think. A silenced majority is completely over the closing down of discussions by the calling of someone an “ist” or “phobe” of some description.
We are all individual and have different ideas. We do not all have to agree, nor must we have to conform to some PC worldview.
David Bowie has shown us we do not have to share publicly every facet of our lives. We can live and die peacefully with only those who matter to us.
It is time for all of us to reclaim our individuality and right to self-expression.
Dr Joe Kosterich M.B.B.S is an author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, who wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life. Dr Joe also gives practical, motivational health talks for the general public and organisations where he is known as “An independent doctor who talks about health”.
His latest book “60 minutes to Better Health” is available on Amazon.