a cork board

what if Bob Marley were alive today?
PMpWed, 15 Dec 2010 12:16:57 +000016Wednesday 1, 2010, 12:16 pm
Filed under: music, the ether, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

it’s hard to believe that it’s almost been 30years since Robert Nesta Marley died. it was in the year between when my wife was born (1980) and when I was born (1982) that he died. I always liked to find some sort of meaning in this, I’m not sure what but it’s something. Bob Marley represented so many things that a simple, little blog entry cannot even begin to encapsulate or contain. He was a beacon of hope, he was a sign that people were ready to embrace peace and love, a sign that we were ready to come together, he was a bonafide Rastafarian trumpeter to the masses, he was  simple man who believed in simple ideas that were massive, he was a husband, a father, a human being, etcetera, etcetera, etc. there are conspiracy theories about his death to this day. people will always believe what they want to believe, but I believe he died of cancer. whether you want to argue about how he died or not, the simple fact remains that he was much too young, just 36, when he left this world. he left behind an incredible legacy (music, philosophy, ideals, family and so much more) that grows every year since he has passed. but what if Bob Marley were alive today?


I ask this question out loud all the time. we pontificate on the wonder that he would have become. we tend to look up to the sky when we do this, as if he would be a mountain scratching the sky. a part of me thinks he would have quit music eventually. I would like to believe that he would still be touching our hearts and souls and having us believe in something that is just within our grasp. in just gettin’ down for the sake of gettin’ down and recognizing our flaws while still loving one another. but if you take a good, long look at how we are today, you may begin to question this; our culture and thirst for blood and deception and cruelty has turned us into self-serving monsters. would we have been any different if we still had Bob Marley and his songs of freedom? I don’t know. I’m almost sure that we would be the same. we may have even tainted his own sense of purpose with our hunger and greed.


what we have become is a culmination of our own human nature and the fact that we can get away with whatever we want (or so we think). it’s the same reason people stop to a halt when they see a car accident, especially if you can see the victim. because we like to watch tragedy take place. we have seen so many movies and taken in so much reality t.v. that we are just dying to be entertained. so what’s more entertaining than making a hero? tearing them down. we like to tear people down more than we like to build them up. if that’s not the case, then we like to discard them and fade them into obscurity. because we look at them as a mirror of nostalgia that will never be what it was; so why even bother? maybe it’s a good thing Bob Marley was taken from us so soon. that way we will always remember him as he was…as a Legend instead of fading in front of our eyes. when he finally decided to undergo chemotherapy, his dreadlocks fell off. I saw a picture of him like this. the fire was still in his eyes, but he was fading. and seeing that always made me wonder if it was the cancer or the fame that was eating him from the inside.


in today’s culture, how would he have even survived? the artists of his day that are still around have become punch-lines in Rollings Stones-themed jokes. they have become dancing ghosts waiting to sing their own eulogies. I could never imagine Bob like this. I will always see him as that roaring lion who swallowed the stage when he sang and danced like a shaman summoning the rain. but what really gets the gears in my head turning is how blood-thirsty our culture has become. we surely would have vilified him by now. Bob Marley was a very frank man. he believed in certain ideas and he never issued a single apology for how he felt; he didn’t need to. he believed in equality and one love but he was vocal about certain things that would have some groups of today slandering him for. I can’t shake the idea that we would have type-casted him into the role of the villain by now. of course, there are always people who will love the man and his message unconditionally, but history has shown us that any one person who represents an idea that goes against an establishment that gains momentum and fervent followers, is likely to be painted as a fool or even assassinated (we tried to kill him once as it was). the end result is us (the masses) believing this person is bat-shit crazy, or wondering how on earth we let them fall so far without trying to catch them the way they caught us time and time again.  


we have had so many musical heroes leave us way too soon. they have been killed, perished or just passed away. there is John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendirx, Peter Tosh, Kurt Coabin, Tupac Shakur, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, Aaliyah and countless others that are slipping through my fingers as I type this. and what makes their faces emblaze our t-shirts is that fact that they became martyrs for their own cause. they rose to the top and they inspired us to believe in amazing things, and God decided to take them from us before we could ever tear them down. if Bob Marley were alive today, a corporation would have tried to break him by now. his music meant too much to him for him to ever sellout. if he was still making music, he may have fallen into the honorary band of Bob Dylan and Neil Young (they still pour their hearts into their music, but the mass public doesn’t care and neither do they because they’re doing what they love the way they want to do it). Bob Marley was sent to us for a reason. I once heard him say that with each song he wrote, he tried to teach a different lesson on life (no matter how big or small). so through his music he has left us a blueprint on how to live our lives and how to treat each other; all we have to do is open up our hearts and listen. his legacy is eternal, and sadly, that is because he died so young. if Bob Marley were alive today, his heart would be heavy at the war and greed that we have embraced. his worries for us made him sick sometimes, so how far would we have driven him before he broke? it’s a sad tale to think of.



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