When too much is too much
I know, I know, it’s beyond the realm of comprehension that major strirrings involving FD idols could go down and we’d have nothing for you. I’m speaking, of course, of Killa’s bid for KONY and Ron Ron taking his “misunderstood and difficult” rating well past T.O. levels. In a brighter age, this blog might have been awash with tales of purple-plated cities and a QB headcase who had the league by the throat. But today catches me feeling something like
So stop reading right here if you’re expecting me to stick with the FreeDarko party line I have in the past so craftily hewn.
First with the trivial. I was up in the air when I first heard "You Got It," not in the least because I’ve never really cared that much about Jay-Z. To hopelessly overstate
When I went to the grocery store the next morning, I felt something draining in my ear. I tried in vain to rally my internal security forces, but it was gone. Cam was going to war, but not for me. Then I read the afore-linked Sexy Results! post, which made word that which I had merely intuited: this was a lame-ass stunt that had nothing to do with “the Movement” and everything to do with standard-issue rap posturing. Instead of insisting that madness could reign supreme, Killa was abandoning the very expectations that kept him on our pedestal. He could’ve proved us right once and for all (in making him the figure we did), but round one of fifteen took all that subcultural capital and turned it into so much elegant cannon fodder. I listened to Purple Haze in the car yesterday, and already it seemed less a self-contained art object and more a joint effort, a simpler time when thousands joined hands to imagine the Dips into righteousness.
I generally hide the fact that I was once a practicing music writer; what happened above was to stave off the pain of inevitably addressing Artest for a few minutes longer. A minute or so into this season, I dropped
When it happened the first time, the Kings trade was nothing to me. I’ll say it again: there’s not enough going on there for even Artest to build and destroy. Solid team, a smidgeon of attitude and image, marginal playoff chances. . . at least Ron Ron to the Spurs would have torn the world in two. Sactown would be the worst kind of exile for this man, whose work consists in equal parts of calamity and devotion. The Kings, my friend, neither accept nor reject the both of them.
Bring it back. The trade gets nixed, Artest and agent throw out all sorts of equivocating yang about their strong preferences that would in no way affect TW’s ability to wax professional anywhere in the league, Hunter gets involved, and before you know it, Artest has the one thing that’s kept him from coming off as a dick: power. Up until that very moment, dude was like the weather was to the modern American farmer; feared and respected, but never granted intentionality. Artest couldn’t help himself, and the rest of God’s green basketball force had to take proper precautions, stand back, and hope for a lush rainy season instead of rock-filled mudslide. As a rule, trade demands stink of selfishness and the weak, but in Artest's case, it had initially been a fairly sensible part of recovery, Good Ron's attempt to distance himself from—and get all preventive on—the ghost of his inner Brawl. Now, though, Artest was getting picky about redemption and showing himself in full, scheming control of his troublemaking. For the first time, it was impossible to not think of him as a manipulator, a spoiled, unsympathetic lout rather than the warped basketball genius we’d always imagined him to be. That the deal eventually went through hardly undid the damage; having reared the scabrous, disingenuous head we'd always thought he lacked, Artest was now just another disgruntled market force.
You could say that this was Artest’s folly truly overtaking the league, to the point of actively brokering deals where before it had merely factored into them with great force and permanence. That, though, misses what was so crucial before: Artest stood apart from himself along with us, watching the tide go by and asking sane questions. Those days are long gone, and with it, that sense of belonging. Not of Artest to us; like with Cam, we can always look back at what we said and how well we said it. But us belonging to Artest, really being a part of his world as he shared in our wonderment—that’s as dead and gone as Cam riding into battle on a horse named Style.
In case this post has broken your wings and made you long for when FreeDarko thanked its gods with help and random noise, Thurl wanted to pass along this