so there i was enjoying my coffee at the starbucks on the plaza after enjoying the royals victory over the red sox. so all of a sudden i looked up and kevin cronan of reo speedwagon is adding milk and sugar to his coffee. i thought to myself, this a trip because i just saw him on tv while the speedwagon was at the royal’s game.
so i started singing “keep on loving you,” and he came over and sat down to chat with one of his fans.
actually no, i only recognized him because he was just on tv, and no one else there seemed to recognize him. i couldn’t even think of any reo speedwagon tunes at the time and i really was not a fan. but it got me thinking, why did i get a funny feeling when i saw a rock star getting coffee. why would it have been considered cool if i would have gone up and said something to him, or to have tried to get an autograph?
why do we have such a fascination with celebrities? they really are no different than us regular guys who don’t get on stage in front of thousands of people. my philosophy professor, clancy martin, always tells us when we are struggling through the works of philosophers, to remind ourselves that these geniuses are no different than the rest of us, they just happened to work harder and take more risks.
now today i went on a field trip to the nelson-atkins art museum. i haven’t been on a field trip in over a decade. and my wife didn’t even pack me a sack lunch with a can of pop wrapped in foil.
and it was weird, i had a spiritual experience in front of a van gogh painting. i think i should have expected it, considering all of the reading i have done in aesthetics now. but it still caught me off guard. staring at the curved of the paint, looking at it from the side to see the texture, and imagining van gogh’s paintbrush move across the canvas. i couldn’t tell you if learned any lessons from the painting, but i all i can say is that my soul was stirred.
after the class left, i stuck around to do more exploring since this was my first time at nelson-atkins. they have a fascinating collection of early medieval works that reveal a lot about the spiritual practices of the day. the item that intrigued me the most was john the baptizer‘s finger. well it was a display of a reliquary that at least used to hold a bone from john the baptizer’s finger. if this is still the same bone, i don’t know. but how cool if it was.
so here i am again at the issue of celebrity. is it cool that it’s john’s finger just simply for the fact that he is quite famous? how would i react if the john the baptizer walked into a starbucks? maybe this is a completely irrelevant question to compare kevin cronan with him? or it could be irrelevant because maybe he wouldn’t like coffee.