Met Gala 2020: Meth
After a friend posted a link to this article concerning the now infamous “meth gala” that took place not long ago. I’d heard a lot about it, and honestly find it fascinating. The article gives some quotes from a singer and talks about cancel culture but more importantly includes a decently long video of the DJ “apologizing” for their role in the event. Realistically, these are mostly circuit queens and I’ve no sympathy for them; in my experience they’re entitled and often DRIPPING in unspoken privilege. I’ve been trying to decorate my articles with relevant pictures. I don’t want to give this culture or these people any additional time in the spotlight though, so this article is just going to have pictures of bumblebee butts. I’m welcome.
I took the time to listen to the DJs apology a few times and strip some quotes. I’ve given it all some thought and put forth some responses that analyze it.
“I, in the spur of the moment, made a stupid decision to DJ this party.”
Okay. You have looked back and judged your own decision as stupid. I’m curious when you decided that.
“Was it the right decision I made? Probably not, but it was the decision I made at that moment.”
Claim of ownership and ambiguity. Decent.
“My friends who know me know, I am Lysol-ing my apartment head to toe, I am vacuuming, I am cleaning…”
This is a weird list of evidence you’re building up. It sounds like you have a lot of privilege, and also sounds like you had a lot of reasons to feel (at the time and now) that the decision was not healthy, even just for yourself.
“Music is kind of my release, it’s what makes me happy… Even if I’m by myself.”
Sounds like you found an excellent way to manage the current situation that is healthy AND safe for everyone.
“The thought of doing that to a room of people, and make them happy… it made sense in the moment… again it wasn’t the right decision…”
This now sounds like you gave in to the classic “moving goalpost.” You were fine enjoying music on your own until you weren’t.
There is something genuine here. If you’re a successful DJ, which I assume by your appearance you are (though I’m happy to be wrong), you’re probably also used to doing these sorts of things regularly. There’s a premise of emotional expectation from your routine then, and under quarantine it’s not being met. I imagine a sort of emotional atrophy might be occurring then, and I feel for that. However, I also feel like that’s a common experience right now, and you acted against the common good. Lo siento, but also you did something dumb, you wad.
“There have been parties like this going on for weeks… I have been purposefully avoiding them… because this is serious… I was trying to be safe… and I don’t think that my one wrong decision should determine my future, or determine what kind of person I am or my character…”
The sad thing here is you judge yourself and agree with your jury. You’ve avoided parties for weeks because you believe them to be dumb, wrong, or harmful (at the very least to yourself.) It seems like you acted AGAINST your own morals, and are now upset because we’re agreeing with you.
“For those of you who don’t know me and who just want to haggard me becuse that is what society is telling you to do… I need you to read and not believe everything you see on social media.”
Unfortunately for you, this works every which way. I fully support the notion that we become more critical consumers of media, but that also means we’re going to become increasingly scrutinous of your behavior as well. Something tells me you mostly want more scrutiny elsewhere. The unfortunate truth here is that if you’re choosing to use social media, you get the good and the bad of it and you CHOOSE to do that. If you don’t want to be held in the panopticon, don’t live a public life.
“It’s crazy how things can be twisted and turned for the negative because of one thing…”
It’s not really one thing. It feels like one thing to you because you chose to do one thing. But it’s one thing in the context of many other things. You chose to DJ a real, in-person party during a pandemic in a super-fucked city while being told by friends and officials to do exactly the opposite. That’s “one thing,” sure.
“The money that i made from the party; I flipped and donated it…”
Thanks. Hopefully it helps. I’m appreciative that you did something good AND wildly upset that you did something so wreckless. They don’t cancel each other out.
“And for you, internet, social media, 2020. let’s take some time to reflect and educate… especially you influencers. what you should be using your platform for is [to do this].”
Very high and mighty of you to be telling others how they should and shouldn’t utilize their platforms and careers. I’m even technically on your side, in that I think social media should be used to educate and reflect on humanity. I think what you’re ignoring is this public shaming IS doing that. We are exactly teaching and reflecting on your behaviors as demonstrably reprehensible.
“That doesn’t make you much better than me.”
This is a fundamental misunderstanding and faulty plea from the culpable parties. Maybe some are saying they’re better than you, but the bulk of what I’m seeing is exactly “you’re trash because you considered yourself before the whole.” There’s no separate statement of “and we are not trash,” or “this is not hard.” You are being shamed for what you are at least partially willing to admit is shameful behavior.
“Why do you have to tear the community apart when someone makes one mistake?”
Does any single action define our character or worth? Mindfully, no. Moreover, it’s hard to say exactly how many similar actions define a character. This doesn’t excuse what you did though. You did a shitty thing, and even if you’re not going to suffer forever, what punishment IS fitting?
“You should be understanding why I did what I did.”
From what you’ve said so far, here’s what I’ve got:
- You needed money
- Music makes you happy.
- You like making other happy.
- You follow protocol the rest of the time.
- You decided in the moment those benefits outweight an unknown cost or risk.
“Did I put thousands of lives on the line? No I didn’t”
Flatly, you don’t know that. I appreciate that it’s difficult to weigh your options when one side of the scale is obscured and ambiguous. That doesn’t change the fact that you considered your options and in the face of not knowing the actual risks chose yourself.
“When I left that party, I went right back to putting my mask on, wearing my gloves, etc.”
This is back to the idea of “normally I’m a good boy, judge me for that not this.” There’s two pieces there that irk me. We can’t know all of you — you could be lying about any of this, and your willingness to betray your own values for this party casts doubt on your behavior otherwise. Separately, the way this is worded it sounds like this wasn’t just “the safest version of something unsafe” this sounds like it was a full-on banger where caution was completely abandoned. That’s just what it sounds like.
“Yeah, we all did. we took that chance, made that thought and chose to do that.”
Correct, you’re all culpable here. From what I’m seeing, you’re all being crucified for it, too. This is somewhat of a scapegoat technique, even if only to spread out the blame. I charge the audience then with one of my favorite methods of handling cheating as a teacher. When one student tries to soften their punishment by normalizing the behavior, it worsens the punishment for everyone. By this logic, if this wad is cancelled, they’re literally all cancelled.
“I’m not saying what happened was the right thing to do, but there is so much going on in the world, there is so much we don’t understand, substance abuse has increasingly been on the rise, mental abuse has been on the rise, so many things are happening because people don’t know what to do or how to react or what they’re feeling or how to express they’re feelings.”
This is scapegoating at first, but is also a genuine cry for help and maybe showcases how you betrayed yourself. Earlier, you make a plea for others to self-reflect before judging you. Apparently, you took time to reflect on your own situation and acted against the common good. Are you willing to accept punishment if people take time and come back with the same verdict? Or are you just hoping to delay a decision until people forget this happened.
Flatly, you’re right. This is unprecedented and we don’t know how to handle it entirely. That said, there are definitely those who are pushing themselves in favor of the common good, at any cost they can. You admit that might even be the “right” thing to do. You did the “wrong” thing by your own logic and words. Whether or not you knew how to handle it, you’ve now decided it was the wrong thing, and unfortunately your ability to repair trust is very limited. Sounds like you’ve got to sit in your shit a while.
“You might want to take some time to self reflect.”
As I said before, what if we come back with the same verdict and banish you from our circles? What if that’s your just desserts? Are you actually willing to admonish yourself and cede your position and lifestyle because of your decision IF we take the time? Are you resting on the hope that people will act differently than you did, and decide in favor of your base humanity? That others might care for you as you did not care for them?
“I know deep down that i’m a good person, I do what i’m supposed to be doing.”
This was the hardest part to swallow. This ain’t got shit to do with good people or “shoulda coulda woulda”s. You made a choice that could potentially kill yourself, your friends, and indirectly ANYONE who comes into contact with ANYONE at that party for the next two to four weeks (and given the domino nature of infections, well beyond that). Consider that in South Korea, they can trace back their explosion of cases to a single women. What punishment would you give yourself if we had the capability to trace back infections starting now and found this party to be a new epicenter?
Hypothetical extremes aren’t generally helpful, but they do provide boundaries for guilt. To me, you sound like some affluent, privileged piece of trash hoping for a slap on the wrist for what might be nothing but might also be causally related to the death of tens, hundreds, or thousands. Nowhere in your statements do you give space to any guilt beyond, “well maybe I get sick and maybe the other party goers.” No. Maybe NYC gets increasingly fucked because of all of you.
Beyond this, I have some thoughts on cancel culture in general and specific to this:
Cancel culture is hyperbolic. I think that’s undeniable — there’s a conflation of a single action with the whole of a person and their character, without consideration of past events, current context, or possible rehabilitation. I think part of it is quietly acknowledging the tendency for the internet to be incredibly finicky. There’s no reason to discuss past or future, because the internet is just too emotionally volatile. That guy who make a gag video about the Japanese suicide forest? Is he still cancelled, and is it still as bad as it was; more importantly has being cancelled actually significantly affected his life?
In light of the absurdity inherent to cancel culture, I’m inclined to think it’s very much a tit-for-tat, drama-for-drama form of judgment. Someone leans into bigotry or latent human selfishness and all of the sudden they’re entirely terrible without any hope of reprieve. But also, suddenly they’re infamous and should they survive the cancelling will have a following just because some humans are drawn to “bad people” and the “taboo.” Aaron Schock? There are still men who are going to sleep with him, and I’m ABSOLUTELY certain that at least one of those men is doing it because it’s the “wrong thing to do.” Because of this bullshitery, I feel like cancel culture is puffery at best, overblown by a culture severely overdosing on spectacle and celebrity. All of these people are mortal, and all of them are definitely replaceable, even in the very short term.
And that’s I guess where I fall with this specific case. The people who went to the meth gala chose themselves over NYC and the rest of humanity, if only because the risks are unknown but presumably very high. Some of them feel bad about it now, some of them probably felt bad about it them, but that’s not particularly relevant. Shame is not absolution or atonement, and flatly, none of these people (at least who have come forward with excuses, explanations, or apologies) presents as so unique that they are irreplaceable to the community at large or even just the circuit scene. So maybe, cancel culture should ACTUALLY dig in it’s heels this time (and with Aaron Schock). This isn’t going to kill them, even in the extreme cases (and I’ll happily argue those as well in case anyone is interested). Since the risks are potentially so high and the current context is unprecedented, I think the only actual punishment for them will be the silence of indifference and the unwieldy absurdity of ambiguity.
In short, forget these asswads — let them torture themselves while we work and regrow. Maybe it’s the high road, maybe it’s just another road, but definitely let it be a road that they’re not taking.
Sincerely Not Here For Their Shit,