Jul 21, 2017

In Defense of Chester Bennington

 by Robert Dean

Today’s culture is weird. There’s this underlying, grim face of reality that people feel like they’ve got a license to be an unrelenting fucking asshole because they’ve got a keyboard.

I’ve done my fair share of shit talking, trolling, or arguing with strangers because I like provoking the idea that not all “snowflakes” need a safe space. But, for once this isn’t about politics. It’s about common decency.

Today, Chester Bennington from Linkin Park committed suicide. That’s sad. This isn’t a defense of Linkin Park’s music. It’s a defense that someone who is rich can be troubled, too. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you’ve got all the answers. Because surely Chris Cornell, Marilyn Monroe, or Robin Williams, or Kurt Cobain didn’t have them, either or they’d still be alive. 

Suicide isn’t something to make jokes about, or talk about how bad Linkin Park sucked. I don’t like Linkin Park. I’ve always disliked their music. But this isn’t about my musical tastes or me: it’s about the need for proper mental health care and the stigma of depression to finally have a place in the public arena.

Chester Bennington left behind millions of dollars, a career that was still very active, and a family. Six kids and a wife now have to pick up the pieces of his death, and all some dork from Iowa who works at a 7/11 can do is think they’re witty by offering some inane perspective on bad music.

I hope some of you think better when cracking jokes. Not too long ago, it felt like a knife to the soul of rock and roll when Chris Cornell did the same thing. Now, it’s cheaper because the consensus of music-obsessed people doesn’t like the guy’s tunes? That’s a selfish way to process information.

Mental health needs to be addressed in this country. From school shootings to people hurting themselves because no matter how many people know their name, they feel alone. That’s not funny to joke about. Plenty of folks deal with things every day, and for a lot of those elitists who piss on this news, a lot of people you’re probably friends with got their start on Linkin Park. Why would you laugh about that? It’s cruel and not funny.

Being flat out mean is a pedestrian, asshole move. Millions of people found joy in Linkin Park’s music, no matter how irrelevant it may be to some of us. Robbing someone of those minutes of joy is sad because we all have our heroes who inspire us.  

Give Chester Bennington’s family time to grieve. And really, no one thinks your comments are funny. Chances are, Greg from Ohio, there’s plenty of shit wrong with you and just because your favorite obscure band is alive and kicking, doesn’t give you the thumbs up to be a cunt.

If Chris Cornell’s family respected this guy enough to let him sing at the memorial, that ought to lend him a little credibility. Even Stone Temple Pilots saw his abilities, despite public opinion.

Don’t wish ill on the dead. It’s not a good look, and no one thinks you’re cool.

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