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Youth Heroes – A Double Standard
As a boy I danced and shook to the music of Elvis Presley along with the rest of the kids in my generation. I was shocked to hear how he died from the usage of drugs but even when I heard of his death I still was unable to gather the significance of it. I’ve had decades to ponder the significance of it and I am sure it doesn’t fall under the heading of good experiences from my childhood. It is less confusing than it was when I first heard of it but I am far too old now to just pass it off with a one word cover all like, tragedy.
It is far worse than tragedy, it is an experience that if not carefully examined and weighed would slip by without anyone noticing that it is a dangerous double standard that our youth rarely ever see until they are dangerously close to repeating it in their own lives.
No one would argue that Jimmy Hendrix was an innovative rock and roll musician but he died from a drug overdose. No one would say they didn’t think Janis Joplin did a bang up job with songs like “Bobby McGee” but she’s another drug overdose casualty. John Belushi made us all laugh but he joined the ranks of the dead by drugs in his prime.
Enter the suicides like Curt Cobain, Freddy Prinze, and the list goes on. It isn’t the lives, the talents or the careers of these people that falls into question; perhaps it is not even how they died that is the biggest double standard. What we say about these people following their deaths is the real problem.
To constantly refer to the talents, the lifestyles or the fame of these people without regard to the matter of how they met their end is a dangerous oversight. It is a way of saying that death from suicide or drug overdose goes with the territory. Media exemplifies and extols their lives for the media sake, not for the youth who purvey the pop culture in search of role models and icons. In many cases it is hard enough to explain the lives they lived much less their deaths.
Showing kids fried eggs and comparing that to their brains on drugs will have little effect if we continue to glorify the lives of those who fried their own brains to the point of death. If we keep feeding our youth the business of their lives how won’t they also be fed by the manner of their deaths?
I still have fond remembrances of days when I danced to the music of the King. I’m now glad to say I have decided to dance to the tune of a new King. This King never took drugs, didn’t commit suicide and beat death instead of using it to cop out. His death produces life for others; in fact there is no life without him.
Jesus may have lived the lowly life of a suffering Messiah but the Bible says he will return as the omnipotent ruling “King of Kings and Lords of Lords.” Revelation 19:16