"This is a man's, man's, man's world"-who haven't heard these iconic lyrics of James Brown? A legend, a genious of expression, a true and authentic artist, James Brown has inspired generations of people to pursue their dreams and be what they are through his art and his carefree attitude on stage. His was one of the most wondrous voices in recorded history and sure enough, he lays claim to being one of the unperishing monuments of modern times. I myself love him, love his arts, his singing and his spirits on stage.....Perhaps, so much that when i found out his dark side, my world crashed, it crashed hard: how can someone so great be so little, how can someone i adore ever be imperfect? I guess that naive illusion has been shattered to pieces now.
When he was alive, James was notorious for being abusive, violent, and worse stll, a woman beater and a drug user who allegedly hit his wives and children multiple times throughout his life. That may be a trivial thing to some, but when your idols and heroes turn out to be flawed human beings instead of the perfect picture you painted on them, you get panicked. Because if the statuary you look up to crumble and fall, what will become of your world, or rather, your peception of the world? And yet, sleeping on it, thinking obsessively about it, James Brown was more than just James Brown to me, he was an example of humanity itself-of ugliness inside beauty and of commonness inside gallantry, a catalyst that forced me to put the world under inspection, and in doing so, forced me to confess to myself.
One might say that i have been venerating and commemorating a caveman, a sexist, a blemished human being that deversed condemnation and i would be perplexed, unsure and unable of a definite answer or a plausible excuse. Why so? Perhaps, it's because that was true to some extent and i am, indeed, worshipping the "evils" that i fought relentlessly against, and deep within my soul, i know that i am a hyprocrite as i still admire the crippled pictues of my heroes, of James brown and those as flawed as he was. But i also asked myself: why is the borderline between good and evil, genius and degenerate, greatness and mediocrity so thin, or does it even exist at all? And i think most of us ask ourselves that question sometimes too, when we realise there's badness in us, or when we are left at the horns of a sacrifice of virtues. But we can inspect further still, and maybe we will see that in every triumph and victory and achievement of human history, there is an underlying corner of darkness, of unspoken sins coated as morals. In every great man, there must be an ugliness-beause how can they be great, or whole if they are made of only one side of human nature. Have anyone ever heard the staggering stories of Alexander the Great, of Leonardo di Vinci or of the beloved idols and leaders-the true, unabashed, uncloaked sides of the same truth that are so often ommited in their biographies and our history? I haven't, and most of us for that matter haven't either. But if we were to be honest, we may have to admit that perfection does not exist and learn to see things as they are: bad and good at the same time, trying to convice otherwise would be a lie. So, in the end, we are left with the clean cut question: should a man, any man, be appraised by his talents and ingenuity or by means of morals and virtues? Should it be just evil and good, well and ill or can there be a ground of grayness?
I said i would make a confession. And here it is: I think i can love and hate someone, something at the same time, hyprocrisy though it may be, fight aginst one aspect of a man but cherish the other. I think we would be damned if we only see only one thing: seeing only the bad in life and how can we appreciate living then?, seeing only the good in life and craving for purity, how can we accept flaws then, how can we not succumb to the sharp broken pieces of our dream world when it shatters then? Seeing only a side of something is a handicap, a true misfortune.
These questions, though silly and unnecessary, are bound to haunt me, haunt us in our lives, in all our doings and thinkings, always resurfacing from the abyss of our mind when we least expect it-just as they have haunted our forefathers and wil haunt our descendants.