Admission: I kind of like KISS music. I kind of like Gene Simmons. Some aspects of him, anyway.
I never joined the KISS Army like my husband did in the 70’s – wait, I wasn’t alive in the 70’s – but after 15 years of being married to a man who starts jumping around the room every time he finds out the band is going on tour, I’ve found a few tunes I actually enjoy.
I loved Gene Simmons Family Jewels. It was one of the funniest shows I think I’ve ever seen. It was rather satisfying seeing a guy who calls himself The Demon taken down a peg by his unimpressed family. Over time, I sort of started to respect Gene for all the work he does on behalf of the troops. Yeah, he’s a misogynist…maybe a narcissist…but he loves America. He appreciates it because of the new life it gave him and his mother – a holocaust survivor – when they immigrated here from Israel.
But last month he made these comments during a radio interview and people got angry, and for good reason:
“My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear f**k all about ‘the world is a harsh place.’ She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life,” he said. “And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say ‘I’m depressed, I live in Seattle,’ f**k you then kill yourself.”
“I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I’m the guy who says ‘Jump!’ when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, ‘That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to jump,'” Simmons continued. “Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut … up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd.
“By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, ‘I’m going to blow your … head off!’ He’ll go, ‘Please don’t!’ It’s true. He’s not that insane.”
So Twitter totally blew up over this and Gene Simmons has taken down his Twitter account. He semi-apologized on Facebook:
“I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression,” he added. “Unkind statements about depression were certainly never my intention.”
You know, I’m so tired of getting angry at the people who say these things. If I roll my eyes one more time, they’re going to fall out. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t know I’m fatigued or just biased because I know that Gene has done a lot of good, but I’m just not angry. I’m not going to call him out for being an idiot or write out another lecture.
I think a recovery center should call up Gene Simmons and invite him to come sit in on some 12-step groups and talk to some people. You know how many recovery centers there are in Los Angeles? One of them should school him in a way that I never could. He obviously doesn’t make the connection between depression and addiction, so he needs to be confronted with it face-to-face. I think that’s what should happen anytime one of these celebrities says something deeply hurtful.
Public opinion might make someone shut up but they’re not really learning anything. I’ve decided I’m not going to lambaste these folks anymore on this blog or my personal blog because it’s not worth the time or effort. Yelling at someone for being a jerk doesn’t help them understand the reality of depression or addiction. How does the Bible say to handle these things? Speak the truth, walk away, then pray. We plant seeds, God grows them.
I suppose this is a challenge, though, in a way, to any professional who might be reading this. Send some of these people an invite. Gene, Shepard Smith, Todd Bridges… Todd Bridges has been there and done that but maybe he needs a refresher course.
You do what you can, then you walk away and pray.