What Lou Reed Taught Me
October 28th, 2013 by Katie Morton
Photo credit: Sydney Opera House / Creative Commons
I’d like to say a few words about Lou Reed. He was near and dear to a friend of mine, and I had the pleasure of meeting him at my friend’s apartment in New York City. Lou invited me to do tai chi at the studio where he practiced, but stupidly, I never took him up on the offer.
Lou was, like all of us, just a regular, imperfect guy. He was kind, but he could also be abrasive. I want to talk about the concept of celebrity, and how people who are on top of their game, the literal and proverbial rock stars of the world, are still just people.
This past weekend, I spoke at a conference and I became aware of that line drawn, of the people who took the stage versus the ones who didn’t. There was a tendency to heap admiration and compliments on the speakers, which felt great, but there’s a niggling little ugly side to that.
It implies that we can become separate or different when we’re in the spotlight. The problem with treating some people differently is that it implies the people who are “up there” are somehow more special than the audience. The fact is we’re all capable of greatness, and of being the one up on the stage.
I’ve noticed that it’s like a national pastime to tear down celebrities, of treating them like they aren’t human, that they got where they are because of luck, or who they knew, or how they were raised. There is very little respect given to the amount of work that goes into being successful. There is also little attention given to the fact that we’re all capable of this work.
We’re all human, our lives are short, and the great Lou Reed was obviously no exception. My friend is sad for losing him, which reminds me deeply that behind the legend, Lou was just a guy who will be missed by those who loved him.
At the end of the day, love is the most important reason we all have for living.