Random Asides

Rock Stars and Selective Skepticism

I usually only practice skepticism for things that are important to me, things about which I have a strong desire to discover the truth. Everything else, I either ignore or just accept at face value, because I don’t care enough to examine them more closely. I suppose you could say, in a sense, I’m a selective skeptic.

Every once in a while, however, my skepticality kicks in for those other, less important things; those things for which it would otherwise lie dormant.

Case in point after the fold:

Are you like me? Have you noticed a distinct rise in the number of people who are partying like rock stars?

It seems like everyone is partying like a rock star these days. My friends tell me all the time when I ask what they did the night before.

“Oh, man. It was crazy. We partied like rock stars.”

Or sometimes they even plan it out in advance.

“Man, we’re going to Vegas this weekend, and we’re going to party like rock stars.”

Now when I first started hearing this claim, I simply accepted it at face value. I thought, well hell, that’s pretty cool. Folks are having a good time, debauchery is running rampant as it should be, and wanton fornication is finally recovering from centuries of puritanical oppression.

But then recently, a few buddies of mine and I went out on a random Saturday night, and while we were having lunch the following day, one of my friends was asked by the waiter what we’d done the night before. His response was, “Dude, we partied like rock stars.”

Well as you might imagine, along with my bullshit detector, this also triggered my skepticalishness, which now demanded to be applied to the claim about hard partying.

Of course when my friend said “We partied like rock stars”, I immediately thought, “Uhhh . . . No we didn’t.” I mean, we went to some bars, and got a pretty good heat going. We might have danced, and chased after some loose women. We might have even caused a little bit of a disturbance with other patrons and club management. But is that really partying like a rock star?

There were no nameless groupies that we used and then handed off to the roadies, or tossed out of the limo while driving down the turnpike.

No one ate a handful of pills, or chugged a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, or overdosed and had to be rushed to the hospital. As far as I can recall, no farm animals were ever in any danger.

There was no cocaine being snorted off a stripper’s ass while she fellated the drummer. We didn’t destroy a hotel room, set fire to any public property, or expel any bodily fluids on a historical monument or government building. We weren’t arrested and booked, nor did we die by drowning on our own vomit.

We didn’t do any of those things.

So how could my buddy, in good conscience, say we partied like rock stars? How could any of the hundreds of regular people I hear saying the same thing even make that claim?

Hey, I shot hoops in the driveway with my nephew the other day, but afterward, I didn’t go around telling people I was balling like LeBron James. Last night I made some Cajun spaghetti, but you know what, I wasn’t cooking like Paul Prudhomme. The fact that I used Prego sauce should be a clue.

Folks, I don’t know why my skepticismosity turned on because of such a silly phrase, but I think it’s clear that we should not dilute rock star’s partying prowess by including our own feeble adventures under the same umbrella. Rock stars are sensitive, vulnerable people, but they work hard to maintain a lifestyle that would kill most of us. We must respect them for that.

We can aspire to party like them, but don’t claim to have partied like a rock star unless you have actually partied like a rock star.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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20 Comments

  1. From what you’ve just listed, I can’t really see the appeal in partying like a rock star. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but what is the appeal of doing a line of cocaine off a stripper’s butt? Sure, its a nice butt and all, but it’s a still a butt.

  2. don’t make rebecca have to post a “ask the rockstar” post now, too.

    Jill- ifyou do a line off her ass, she takes the residue and evidence with her… also, its much more pleasant to look at a hot ass while doing coke than to look at a table. But I don’t know for sure… it’s been weeks since i’ve done anything like that.

  3. “Balling like LeBron James”?

    Oh Sam, you really need to watch your language … Haven’t you had enough abuse this week?

    Such is the evolution of hyperbole (don’t ya remember the good ‘ol days when people used the expressly “party like it’s 1999”) … Isn’t this akin to the discussion a week or so ago about cursing in the sense that a curse word is really bad (i.e., when “party like a rock star” DID mean you were snorting cocaine off a stripper’s ass) until eventually, everybody starts using it all the time, and then it starts losing its impact … We’ll just have to come up with a more specific replacement saying that will be harder to dilute, like for example, “party like Elliot Spitzer.”

  4. Why is it “party like a rock star”? Because “party like like an adult contemporary one-hit-wonder” just doesn’t quite have the same ring.

    Very nice!

    Oh Sam, you really need to watch your language … Haven’t you had enough abuse this week?

    No kidding. Maybe I’m just a glutton.

  5. But party like a Rock Star sure beats admitting you partied like a nearly 40, overweight, socially backward, realator that couldn’t get arrested with an eye patch and a handgun…..I’m just saying.

  6. Maybe they just don’t make rock stars the way they used to? I may not be the most in touch person pop-culture wise, but it seems to me that the heyday of the drug-addled backstage orgy is long past.

    Today’s bands have grown up with the vast wasteland that is Keith Richards as a cautionary tale. Plus, a lot of the guys who lived that life are touring well into middle-age and beyond, and I bet that mixing coke with Viagra (stripper’s ass or no) would make for some wicked drug interactions.

    So, maybe your friends are partying like modern, sincere indy-rock stars. They just need to be more specific.

  7. Clearly, to solve this urgent linguistic problem, we need to coin a new term that carries the full weight of the original meaning of “party like a rock star”.

    I humbly suggest “party like Rebecca”.

  8. @ Sam

    No one ate a handful of pills, or chugged a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, or overdosed and had to be rushed to the hospital. As far as I can recall, no farm animals were ever in any danger.

    I’m sorry to here that Sam. Why don’t you do like most new-bees in the game and hire Rod for a night?

    I hope you have better luck in the future.

  9. Based upon my experiences during college, where my best friend and I probably spent more time at shows than we did in class, when one is backstage, one tends to get offered cold, leftover pizza more than anything else. (Seriously – it happened more than once.) One very hip NYC band offered another certain mild substance, but not without constantly worrying if the cops were going to bust them. (Not very rockstar-like at all.) And that doesn’t even take into account the Straight Edgers.

    So, in conclusion, I am skeptical that even the rock stars are partying like rock stars. Maybe that’s why the commoners feel the need to pick up the slack? I think this is worthy of a sociological study. Let me know if you need an groupie expert, Sam.

  10. This post has reminded me of some other things I’ve been selectively skeptical about. Those cold prevention/shortening sprays for example. I didn’t care if they worked or not . . . until I got sick. Only then was I forced to discover that they’re worthless.

    I’ll still see ads for them akll the time though.

  11. Perhaps the saying needs to be more specific, so that there is a clear distinction between “I partied like Metallica” and “I partied like Moby”. Your modest night out could be something like “I partied like a Beach Boy other than Brian Wilson”.

  12. I agree with aiabx. Which rockstar do we have in mind? If I don’t party like Bono, is it a lack of exuberance or a low catering budget? If I get stoned and go fishing, have I officially partied like Les Claypool? Is Les Claypool even a rock star? Does anyone know if Craig Minowa parties at all, or even who he is? Given the continuum of rock star identity and rock star partying, I think we may all qualify as rock star level partiers at any given time that we can legitimately claim to be partying at all, and may even be rock stars ourselves defining the rockstar partying level.

  13. It’s kind of interesting that the crazy partying shifts around culturally. Ten or twenty years ago, it was rockstars. A hundred years ago, it was poets, so those goth kids got it all wrong – if they want to write like Byron, they need to party like Byron. Opium, guns, and orgies should be involved. There have been times when politicians or soldiers did it. Now we’re in one of those awkward times when no one really goes all the way like that. Rick stars dropped the ball, and no one’s picked it up yet. Just a bunch of yahoos standing around and half-assed poking at it.

  14. Rock stars not to party like:

    Ted Nugent – “It was great. We killed Bambi with a single arrow.”

    Sting – Eight hours of spiritual, tantric sex? Although, there may have been a time when he felt a stripper’s aura.

    I’m sure there are others, but I gotta take my rugrats to the playground before my wife makes an issue of it – but we will go down the slide like rockstars!!!!!!

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