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"Why Can't We Just Admit It?"

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You can still donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting HAITI to 90999.

 

"Vicarious" is my favorite song from my favorite band, Tool. I was thrilled to see it in this week's Musically Challenged list, but I knew it was going to be hard to do it justice. It hits you hard right out of the gate and builds for 7 minutes to an enormous climax. It's incredibly powerful and explosive, and its subject matter is the guilty pleasure we all experience from watching others suffer. And by an eerie coincidence, it happens to be extremely relevant right now.

 

A week ago the nation of Haiti didn't cross any of our minds. Some of us didn't even know where it was. And now we donate our hard-earned money to help people we'll never meet put their shattered lives back together.

 

But let's not kid ourselves; We're glad it's not us. We're glad we can look at the photos on our laptops and watch the rescue efforts on our HDTVs. The part of us that feels guilty about that tries to empathize, to suffer vicariously through the pixels on the screen. But none of us can possibly know what it's like to be surrounded by death and destruction of such magnitude. So ultimately we just go about our day.

 

I live in Los Angeles. I'm able to live here only because I choose to ignore the simple fact that sooner or later, we will have our own Big One. It could happen in a thousand years, or it could happen at the end of this sentence. So every time the Big One hits somewhere else is another time it didn't hit me and the people I care about. Like it or not, we're all playing a game of Russian Roulette with the universe, and there's no sense feeling guilty when someone else gets it in the head. Just be glad it wasn't you and make the most of the time others no longer have.

 

So Haiti, I'm so sorry for the fate that's befallen you. I've given to help you rebuild and will continue to urge others to do the same. But to quote the final lyric from my favorite song:

 

Much Better You Than I.

 

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Eye on the the TV

'Cause tragedy thrills me

Whatever flavor it happens to be, like...

"Killed by the husband"

"Drowned by the ocean"

"Shot by his own son"

"She used a poison

in his tea...kissed him goodbye"

That's my kind of story

It's no fun 'til someone dies

 

Don't look at me like

I am a monster

Frown out your one face

But with the other

Stare like a junkie

Into the TV

Stare like a zombie

While the mother holds her child

Watches him die

Hands to the sky crying,

"Why, oh why?"

 

Cause I need to watch things die... from a distance

Vicariously I live while the whole world dies

You all need it too, don't lie

 

Why can't we just admit it?

Why can't we just admit it?

We won't give pause until the blood is flowing

Neither the brave nor bold

Will write as the story's told

We won't give pause until the blood is flowing

 

I need to watch things die... from a good safe distance

Vicariously I live while the whole world dies

You all feel the same, so...

 

Why can't we just admit it?

 

Blood like rain come down

Drum on grave and ground

 

Part vampire

Part warrior

Carnivore

And Voyuer

Stare at the transmittal

Synced to the death rattle

 

La, la, la, la, la, la-la-lie (x4)

 

Credulous at best

Your desire to believe in

Angels in the hearts of men

Pull your head on out

Your hippie haze and give a listen

Shouldn't have to say it all again

 

The universe is hostile, so impersonal

Devour to survive... so it is, so it's always been

 

We all feed on tragedy

It's like blood to a vampire

 

Vicariously I

Live while the whole world dies

Much better you than I

 

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Strobist: Red gelled flash to my left and behind on 1/4, bare flash hitting the wall to the right on full power.

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Taken on January 21, 2010