- Books, Literature, and Writing
Gene Simmons, Big Macs, and Why Jesus Never Made It On Wall Street
Recently,a famous member of the hard rock band "Kiss", had some interesting things to say about poor people during an interview with the The San Diego Union-Tribune. Gene Simmons, an aging rocker with a bad hairdo, seems to be content living in his 1% world of illusion. He believes that the poor and the working class here in the United States, should be grateful for the wealthy 1%; the 1% of Americans who actually experience what the other 99% can only dream about. According to Simmons, he has been a proud member of this elite 1% for the last 30 years. Here is one question that was asked during the interview, along with his answer:
What’s it like being part of the 1 percent?
“It’s fantastic!” he replied. “The 1 percent pays 80 percent of all taxes. Fifty percent of the population of the U.S. pays no taxes. The 1 percent provides all the jobs for everybody else. If the 1 percent didn’t exist, there would be chaos and the American economy would drop dead. Try being nice to rich people. I don’t remember the last poor person who gave me a job.”
In case any part of this ridiculous statement may appear credible to the reader, please follow this link for a better understanding: Gene Simmons Spin Analysis
The last comment, "I don’t remember the last poor person who gave me a job.” is especially baffling, since poor people are the ones who have been buying his records and showing up at Kiss concerts for the last 40 years! But he can't remember? It almost appears that Simmons is purposely trying to create controversy by making himself look foolish.
A List of Nobody's
Apparently, Gene Simmons uses money as a measure of success. And when we reflect upon some of the greatest human beings who have ever lived, we are reminded by his comments that they were just a bunch of nobody's. Here is a short list of poor people who might be grateful for Gene Simmons and the wealthy 1%, if only they were still living today.
• Jesus Christ: At the top of the list we have Jesus; an unemployed carpenter who came to save the world. After making the lame man walk and the blind man see, Jesus was nailed to a cross and crucified. Not exactly the kind of guy Gene would want his daughter to date. Rather than hoarding money for himself, Jesus actually ran the money changers out of the temple. I am sure Gene could tell you, that Jesus would have never made it on Wall Street.
• Vincent van Gogh: Vincent van Gogh completed over 2000 paintings before he died at the age of 37. However, during his brief and tormented lifetime, Van Gogh only sold one of his paintings. Unable to find a market for his works, and not being able to support himself, he was supported by his brother Theo. On the day that he died,Van Gogh was penniless. However, on May 19,1990 his "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" sold for $151.4 million! Not bad for someone who today would be counted among the millions of homeless welfare recipients.
• Mathew Brady: Brady was the first American photographer to ever document a major war with photography. Many refer to him as " The Father of Photojournalism". Before the Civil War, Brady was a successful and well-known portrait photographer. During the war, Brady invested over $100,000 in the production of 10,000 plates which depicted the harsh realities of war. A portion of the money was used to pay the salaries of over 20 photographic assistants. He had expected to sell the photographs at the end of the war, but he was unable to do so. Unable to recoup his losses, Brady was financially ruined. In 1875 the U.S. government agreed to purchase his entire collection for $25,000. But by that time, Brady's devastating financial losses at the end of the war had taken their toll, leading him into a life of poverty, and alcoholism. Following a streetcar accident, Brady died penniless in the charity ward of Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, on January 15, 1896.
• Edgar Allan Poe: Poe has the distinction of being one of the first writers who attempted to make a living solely as a writer. During his career, Poe's work was routinely rejected by publishers. Even when his work was published , he received little or no money. Although he tried various ways to succeed as a writer, Poe was unable to make enough money to support his family, He even tried to start his own magazine, but nothing seemed to work. In 1847, he was grief stricken by the death of his wife. Two years later, he was hospitalized and died in abject poverty. Today, he is considered to be one of the greatest authors of all time
• Stephen Foster: Stephen Foster is considered the "Father of American Music," He is known for such works as: "Camptown Races," "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair," "Beautiful Dreamer" "Oh! Susanna", and "Swanee River."
Foster's songs were very popular during his time, and he aspired to make a living as a professional songwriter. However, in those days there were no copyright laws, and there was no means by which to collect royalties from sheet music, or performances. Stephen Foster died at the age of 37, with 38 cents in his pocket!
Gene Simmons: A Superior Human Being?
So what makes Gene Simmons better than anyone I have listed here? During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold one painting. Gene Simmons has sold over 100 million records. Are we to consider that Gene Simmons is the greater of the two?
Is Gene Simmons smarter than Matthew Brady for not making the bad investment that could have ruined the rest of his life? Is he a better songwriter than Stephen Foster? Does he have a better work ethic than Edgar Allen Poe, a man who was barely able to support his own family? Is Gene Simmons more practical than Jesus Christ? Does he exhibit more common sense and practicality for seeking fortune and fame, rather than seeking to save the world? And finally, in 25, 50, or 150 years from now, will the world still remember Gene Simmons? Will the world marvel at his contributions to society? When we consider my list, and the contributions of those individuals to mankind, we must also consider the contributions of Gene Simmons, and then make a comparison. Here is one such contribution that Simmons has made:
Excerpt from the song : "Rock & Roll All Night" by Kiss
You say you wanna go for a spin
The party's just begun, we'll let you in
You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy
You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin'
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
Of course, I am only joking, because there is no comparison. In the world of art, what Gene Simmons has been selling since 1973 is comparable to a Big Mac, Super Sized Fries, and a Large Coke; hardly what anyone would consider to be fine dining! Since I was a teenager, Gene Simmons has been in the business of making disposable party music, and of course, there has always been a market, and a purpose for such music. Although I cannot remember the exact date, it was sometime between 1975-77 that I attended a Kiss concert at Blaisdell Arena, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The band sounded great, the light show was fantastic, and I had a real good time. But I also like eating a Big Mac once in a while. That doesn't mean I can't tell the difference between a cheap hamburger, and a sirloin steak!
Gene Simmons is a functional artist, and he has written, or co-authored a few good pop songs. But among his peers, Gene Simmons doesn't rank anywhere near the top. Rather than feature any images of Gene Simmons in this article , I have chosen instead to feature images of three artists from the same era who were truly gifted : John Lennon, Robbie Robertson, and Linda Ronstadt.
Gene Simmons simply got lucky. His success has little to do with his talent as a musician, or a songwriter. And concerning Gene's fascination with money: If we are to use money as a measure of success, then there are any number of crack dealers, arms merchants, and human traffickers, who also qualify as members of the wealthy 1%. Unfortunately for Gene, all of the money in the world isn't going to make him a better songwriter, or musician. Considering his recent comments, neither will it make him a more compassionate human being. For those of us who value art for art's sake, the noble character of a martyr, or the legacy of a a great humanitarian, a man like Gene Simmons is not to be envied, but to be pitied. For money is all that he possesses, and for him, there is nothing more.
Gene Simmons said he can't remember the last poor person who gave him a job. Apparently, he forgot who has been bankrolling his career for the last 40 years. The working class and the poor gave Gene Simmons the best job he has ever had! They are the ones who bought the records, paid for the concert tickets, and purchased all of the worthless Kiss memorabilia. They are the ones who made Gene Simmons rich. It is simply laughable that he would admonish the poor to be grateful for the wealthy 1%, when it is he who should be grateful for the musically uneducated; the unwashed masses who find his pedestrian brand of hard rock to be more appealing, and much easier to digest than a more sophisticated style ; a style that might actually require the listener to think.
© 2014 Ronnie wrenchBiscuit