What is the nature of celebrity in society? Is it to enlighten? Darken? Distract? Dim? Is any morality owed to the sycophants who adore celebrity? How do we explain and frame Keith Richards’ recent admission he snorted his father’s ashes mixed with cocaine and then his quick recantation of that confession?
How are we — as a cogent and caring society — expected to react to such crass and disconcerting news?
Keith Richards says he once snorted his father’s ashes mixed with cocaine. Speaking to the British music magazine “NME,” the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist acknowledges ingesting his father’s cremated remains. “My dad wouldn’t have cared,” he said, “it went down pretty well, and I’m still alive.” Richards’ father, Bert, died at age 84 in 2002.
Hours later the following was posted on the Rolling Stones website:
“The complete story is lost in the usual slanting! The truth of the matter is that I planted a sturdy English Oak . I took the lid off the box of ashes and he is now growing oak trees and would love me for it!!! I was trying to say how tight Bert and I were. That tight!!! I wouldn’t take cocaine at this point in my life unless I wished to commit suicide.”
What does it say about our mainstream media lives that this Richards truth or lie was flung far and wide against us with the same anticipatory venom and giddy dripping of more salacious Britney shaved crotch shots?
Can we expect another incomprehensible missive from Lindsay Lohan proclaiming in “text speak” what a difference Keith Richards made in her life despite the human ashes percolating in his sinuses?
Have we fallen so far as a society that we give merit and attention to these claims against the dead or have we always been this debased and misbegotten and it takes a Keith Richards to rub our noses in his father’s ashes to curry home that truth? Is it possible to pull ourselves out of this rotting societal hole where we are forced — by false values and the culture of degradation — to pay attention to the duplicity of dimwits and miscreants instead of honoring duty and morality?