Do you remember the comedian Rodney Dangerfield? “I don’t get no respect” was his slogan, and it was a signal that he was about to tell us a very funny story in a sentence or two about his latest humiliation in the ongoing history of his ill treatment by the world. Hootie and the Blowfish may have been the rock version of Rodney. An executive at their own record company called their hit album that sold millions of copies and shot them into fame and fortune, “unreleasable.” Coming between grunge and the biggest wave of rap, critics panned them as uncool and worse.
Let me quote today's New York Times:
<<Even in the years before Hootie, an earnest and deceptively easygoing roots-rock band, became a global pop phenomenon, there were indignities. The South by Southwest festival turned them down, year after year. Record labels sent stiff rejection letters.>>
And now the sentence I love:
<<Still, Hootie persevered, thriving in the face of indifference.>>
There’s our sermon for today, brothers and sisters. There’s our slogan. You feel like Rodney and Hootie? You don’t get no respect? Persevere. Thrive in the face of indifference. The world ignores you? Persevere and thrive. You’re viewed as so very uncool? P&T. You’re different, you don’t fit in? You're trying something new? You're going against the grain? As my friend David Rendall says in his fun book The Freak Factor and now proclaims from stages around the world, what makes you weird may just make you wonderful, whether everybody else recognizes that or not. As one of the band says, “We didn’t wear the right clothes, we didn’t have the right look, we didn’t portray the right thing. And when you do that, you’re just going to get dogged.” Then he adds the magic: “We didn’t sell out. We were true to ourselves, you know?”
They had some hits and were big for a while and got plenty of criticism and then the world moved on. They pretty much disappeared. And now they’re back. And the New York Times is celebrating them with a huge article and proclaiming them always to have been very underrated. I think that’s right. And, as a philosopher, I’m sure that their distinctive inner attitude is underrated. Be yourself. Persevere. And in the face of indifference, yeah, that's right: Thrive.
For the article, click HERE.