It’s 2017, and I have just received confirmation that Linkin Park singer and revolutionary rock icon Chester Bennington has committed suicide. Now, I would usually be shocked. However, I’m not anymore. I am officially gone past any shock stage because it just now seems to be part of the norm and just a part of life. Every couple of months or so someone in the media will kill themselves and on social media, faux-outrage will come out that “we need to do more”. Look at Twitter right now and type in that quote. But you can bet your bottom dollar in 2 days time those people are going to go back to posting the same old memes and go about their day as usual until the next celebrity suicide pops up.
Chester has spoken openly in the past about his demons and everyone’s got them, just some have bigger ones than others. Being in the public eye may be all fun and games at first but I’ve had friends who have not been the same person after they’ve experienced it. From constant Twitter trolls or just people acting like dicks because they’re a fan of someone else – yes, pathetic I know – to having the media criticise you for anything from your weight to your career. The pressure to have a career carved out not from the comfort of an office cubicle but in fact millions of people where some will like you and some won’t. Where anybody viewed to be in the public eye complaining about the struggle is immediately slaughtered and labeled instantly as ungrateful and “snowflakes” due to their mass amounts of money. Money is nice but it doesn’t instantly make you happy.
Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are prime examples of this. When they went through severe breakdowns did the media think to maybe relax on them, 2 clearly distressed young women, although had millions in the bank were clearly struggling for their own sanity? No. Paparazzis upped the pressure from upskirt shops to waiting outside their house until they couldn’t take it anymore. Britney shaved her head and smashed a car with an umbrella and Lohan went to prison. How fucked is that?! I was going to censor it or think of a non-explicit word to use but I can’t. It’s fucked! It’s a disgrace. All the while, Joe Public sat there from behind their screens like it was some new TV series they were watching not actually realising that these were 2 young women in desperate need of help, not being chased, pushed, prodded and provoked with a camera shoved in their face. Although these 2 just about survived it, some aren’t quite as lucky.
I had a friend named Chris who done alright with his music when he was a teenager, getting in the charts and all that. Then when he lost little cheeky chappy boy looks and grew up, he had lost his “marketing appeal” so to speak. Anybody who makes it and then goes away again find it incredibly difficult to make it anywhere near those heights again. Now, try and tell someone at 18 years of age that his best years were probably behind him. It would be a difficult thing to hear, at 24 years of age I couldn’t imagine to think that my best years were probably in the past. But people don’t think like that, especially not online.
I don’t care what you say, little girls can be bloody mean. Remember when a million “up and coming” were trying to be the next One Direction a few years ago, well Chris being his cheeky self made a joke about it. Obviously one of them found it unamusing and sent their fans to attack him (online of course). Just a barrage of abuse being sent to this guy calling him everything from “irrelevant” to “ugly”. Now that would not normally affect someone but if you’re already having doubts about yourself and your career along with suffering from depression well insults like that carry a lot of power. Chris Hardman/Lil Chris passed away 2 and a half years ago.
Now, I don’t know if you know a guy called Ed Sheeran. He’s basically a nice guy who sings unoffensive songs on his acoustic guitar. Honestly he writes the most unoffensive songs that I’m sure that even your gran would be online fighting to get tickets to see him. His last 2 albums especially have achieved massive global success and his song Shape of You has been floating about the charts and nightclubs for too long now, even though it only got released in January. He’s now deactivated his Twitter because he’s been so successful at doing his job that people are getting tired of him. I’m a huge fan of his but you cannot go anywhere without hearing one of his songs but that gives a lot of credit to him as a songwriter for writing such a big tune. However, he does get a lot of stick online which is incredibly harsh and undeserved. So much so that he’s had to deactivate his Twitter account. Now, hypothetically speaking what if Ed Sheeran
Now, hypothetically speaking what if Ed Sheeran wasn’t a big enough artist to be able to command his Twitter account be deactivated – remember a lot of record labels and management use social media as a means to promote their content. Ed is probably in the 1% who can even have that much control over their own business. What if he didn’t want to delete it as sign of his masculinity to show that he won’t be affected by some name-calling online or be called a “precious snowflake” as I’m sure a few people may have called him. He just kept his account and dealt with all the abuse on a regular basis, I don’t care who you are, if someone calls you a name it negatively has an affect on you. You can laugh it off or whatever but there is still a part of those words that still hit you and will probably play on your mind at 3am a month later. Now god forbid anything was to happen to Ed Sheeran after refusing to deactivate and take some time out – HOW WOULD YOU FEEL THEN? Close your eyes and try and imagine this hypothetical situation and the messages people are posting online. I did, but yet in none of them, anyone would accept any responsibility and there would be another round of “we should do more for mental health”.
I’ve got side-tracked, but hey, it’s a rant. Would Chester be alive today if he also didn’t have to deal with the pressures of fame and instead had settled for a 9-5 job in a call centre? I don’t know, he had his demons before his career taken off. Without those demons would he have been a part of Linkin Park and created one of the most revolutionary albums of all time in “Hybrid Theory”? Again, I don’t know. All I do know, is that this man helped change the face of music in the early 2000’s by creating art that related to people from all backgrounds and musical tastes. Suicide and depression is definitely a tough topic to speak about but more does need to be done rather than posting links to Samaritans. If countries can spend billions and trillions on weapons of mass destruction then surely money could be used to help those suffering with depression and other mental illnesses. And also just think before you act like douche on social media, sticks and stones is a lot of nonsense. If you use a certain word in a certain tone then I’m sure that could do a lot more damage than hitting them with a stick.
Rest in Peace, Chester. A true inspiration.