Like many people, I was shocked and saddened by David Bowie’s death earlier this week. Also, like many people and as is commonplace in our social media obsessed world, I took to Facebook and Instagram to express my sadness. Interestingly (or, probably not interestingly actually), as I posted my comments, it raised an unexpected concern – as a self-proclaimed conservative person of faith, should I be posting anything about the loss of this one-of-a-kind artist who, throughout most of his life, represented a world conservatives eschew? I was momentarily concerned that it might be viewed as hypocritical by some and inappropriate by others; however, after recalling the enjoyment Bowie’s music and his seemingly free-spirited creativity provided me throughout the years, I decided to go ahead with my post. For me personally, the fact that I enjoyed David Bowie’s music and his ability to be whomever he wanted to be regardless of what people thought, doesn’t change my faith or moral beliefs.
I finally worked through what was really an unnecessary internal debate, left my post and let it be. I probably wouldn’t be mentioning it now if not for a tweet I read last night that happened to demonstrate the very concern that had sparked my “debate” in the first place. The tweet was made by a comedian who criticized a conservative political leader for expressing his condolences at the loss of such a talented artist. To paraphrase, she stated that she was not interested in his opinion because his party had cut funding to the arts and art related programs. I get that. I think artistic endeavors and educational programs are important too, and I’ll concede that, unfortunately, this funding is typically the first to go when certain parties take office regardless of where you live. But was it necessary to air that criticism at that particular moment? And, who is she to say who should and should not express their sadness and shock at Bowie’s death? He was a superstar creator of a new sound. He leaves us not only his music but also the odd and beautiful characters he created to further enhance his work. I’m sure his music and his art meant different things to different people at different times in their lives. This woman’s tweet seemed to imply that just because someone may not fit her idea of how a David Bowie fan should look or think, then they should just keep their mouth shut.
So, strangely, it was the self-righteous artistic snobbery of this woman that reinforced my earlier decision to express the shock and sadness I felt when I first heard of Bowie’s death. So what if people make judgments. I am aware that these days I am on the opposite end of the political and moral spectrum in comparison to most Bowie fans; however, after reading about David Bowie and some of the other “classic” musicians I enjoy, I like to think most of them wouldn’t purposefully go out of their way to make an issue of that. I think they’d really rather let their music do the talking. After all, isn’t that the point of it all? Doesn’t music temporarily close the gaps, lessen the differences between us all, and bring a sense of unity at least for the length of a song?