American Idiots vs. "American Idiot"
Debates over what is and is not punk are fruitless. What I am more concerned about is why we want our rock stars to be idiots.
How many times have you heard it about Green Day, the Beastie Boys, Metallica, Van Halen, the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Guns N' Roses? "I liked them better when they acted like idiots." Better when they were drunk or stoned. Better when they were inciting riots. Before they collaborated with the San Francisco Symphony.
People who applauded Green Day for turning Woodstock '94 into a mudfight and naming an album Dookie chickened out on the band once they got a Broadway musical. Nostalgia for "Fight for Your Right to Party" still runs higher than that for Tibetan Freedom-era Beasties. Metallica were ridiculed last year for collaborating on an album about expressionist, fin de siècle German theatre, but all was forgiven when they opened their concerts this year with "Hit the Lights" ("No life 'til leather, gonna kick some ass tonight.")
Part of it is the still absurdly overused "the old stuff is better" screed, which shouldn't matter to anyone with enough perspective to realize that "Give it Away" wasn't in any way effected by "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie." It's understandable to pine for our favorite artists to keep making great music, but why do people relate that creativity to idiocy?
Is it an inferiority complex to people who found success by following their dreams? Ignorance to the fact that guys who played slackers in the "Longview" video but somehow had gotten two records out on a prominent indie-punk label weren't actually slackers? Just something we associate with being young? Discuss.