In case you haven't been flooded with hundreds of cheering reposts on your social-media feeds, Scott Stapp is having a hard time.
When bad things happen, people laugh. Whether it's out of some sort of genuine happiness for the pain of someone that isn't you or just as a way to cope with an impossibly sad world, we've all laughed at a video of something we probably shouldn't have. Maybe it was that video of the people being thrown around on the boat after going too fast. Or perhaps it was the legendary news reporter who tripped and fell on her face while stepping on grapes at a vineyard. Call it the Hans Moleman "Football in the Groin" effect, if you will.
So let's be completely real here: Scott Stapp is being absurd, and absurdity is entertaining. Stapp's claiming he's a CIA agent sent to assassinate Obama. He has stated that members of his family are a part of the terrorist group ISIS. And frankly, the idea that the Jesus-freak rocker behind some of the most abominable anthems of recent memory believes that the CIA is behind Alcoholics Anonymous is almost funny. Almost.
And just as we've done with people like Anna Nicole Smith and Amanda Bynes, many of us are using the fact that we simply don't like him as a license to pump our fists in some sort of warped triumph and pleasure as we laugh at someone's misfortune.
But it's not misfortune. "Misfortune" is a word we use when a car splashes a puddle on you, or your friend's triple scoop of chocolate-raspberry ice cream keels over and meets the floor. What is going on with Scott Stapp is honestly more of a tragedy, the way it is to see anyone desperately struggle with a legitimate illness. Regardless of whether we want to acknowledge it, Scott Stapp is a human being with friends, family and other people who care about him, who are being forced to watch him deteriorate in the public eye.
Oh, but wait, there's a difference between him and other people, right? Doesn't Scott Stapp suck? He's the guy who sang "With Arms Wide Open," made a sex tape with some prostitutes and Kid Rock, and got into a physical altercation with 311. Shouldn't it be OK to make fun of him?
You know, there's another person that a lot of people believed totally sucked who also fell on some hard times this last year. He had points in his career where he was wildly popular and critically acclaimed, and, just like Stapp, made some terrible art, was reviled in a lot of circles, and many people considered him to be a hack. Some people even accused him of stealing their creative material. But for some reason, people didn't point their finger and emit a howl of laughter at this guy when things got tough for him.
Essentially, making fun of Scott Stapp's recent paranoia and homelessness is about the same as making fun of Robin Williams for killing himself. Sure, you can do it. In fact, it's completely fine if you decide to -- just as long as you admit that you're no better than he is.
Whether Stapp is suffering from a drug addiction that's triggering his delusions or he's in the throes of a schizophrenic episode, mocking the suffering of another person is worse than anything he's ever done. In fact, it's worse than any song that Creed has ever written. Do you really want to be worse than Creed?
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.