Chester Bennington Has Died. Don’t Be Dicks, Underground Metalheads

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, died by hanging today. While it’s tempting to try to piece together a Stone Temple Pilots curse theory, I’m sure that’s being covered elsewhere as are illuminati theories, because he committed suicide on Chris Cornell’s birthday. 2017 is truly a year of reaching for asinine thoughts.

This isn’t going to be a memorial piece on Chester Bennington or a bunch of shit praising Linkin Park. Personally, I disliked his music, but that’s neither here nor there. I know a lot of you are young enough that you came up listening to his band, whether you’ve got the stones to admit it in front of your “cool” friends or not. For some of you, this is the first time someone whose work you admired when you were on the cusp of growing short hairs has died and done so in a dramatic fashion. I’m not interested in upholding whatever reputation I have left to not admit that when Kurt Cobain popped his top it was my introduction into both suicide and witnessing how fragile the fleeting feeling of youth and innocence is. For my parents before me (well my mother, my father was an asshole) it was when Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin all fucked off this mortal coil at 27. Every generation gets them. And while you may have moved passed their music I’m certain that unless you’re emotionally, stunted this gave you pause. And it seems a lot of you paused in order to let the world know how much you hated his band, his voice, him. This was followed up with a helping of jokes about suicide, supersized like a true American. And that’s what we’re here to talk about.

Suicide, like rape, isn’t a funny topic no matter how hard those who are unaffected by it struggle to make it. I write this fully knowing that I’ve made some tasteless jokes in the past and probably will in the future regarding my own suicide attempt. And I generally don’t find gallows humor to be offensive unless I detect malice in it. But what you (and I, really) need to understand is that’s just me. And what may seem harmless to us could possibly be devastating to someone who’s lost a loved one or is on the brink of hitting enter on their Google search on how to make a noose. It’s a reminder to them, something that can leave an invisible cut and we’re basically pouring lemon juice on it.

Rubbing that kind of loss in the face of someone who cares isn’t a point of humor, especially coming from a subculture where grown men openly fucking weep every year Jeff Hanneman or Dio’s death anniversary pops up on the calendar. The same people who look at Dead as a martyr for a movement instead of some fucked up, lonely kid who moved to a different country and hung out with someone who knew how to manipulate those emotions. This standard of it being funny unless it’s directly affecting you is some bronze-medal-at-the-Asshole-Olympics level shit, meaning you came in third, but still placed. I don’t know where I’m going with this.

Mocking depression seems to still be fair game in today’s sensitive climate, since the mentally ill haven’t had a fucking march yet, probably because we’re all too depressed to leave the house. Maybe it’s because the tragically stupid think that it’s something we can just will away, or that it’s made up bullshit since it’s an invisible affliction. They believe that depression is a way for someone to get attention or that taking a hike will somehow cure it. These are the same people who think smoking more weed will cure cancer. This brain trust tries to stick their fingers into every hole possible like the world is their personal NAMBLA meeting and they miss the point completely. Do you want to help someone with depression? I mean, truly help? Be there, listen, don’t interject your opinion every three seconds. Have patience, it’s going to be a long fucking road and there’s no promise you’ll reach the end.  And for those of you with the empathy of a flaming bag of dog shit maybe just skip this one for once. I know that you’re upset because you can’t publicly make jokes about someone’s skin color, sexuality, room-where-they-shit preference, and I understand you’re pent up, ready to just burst all over someone unwilling recipient’s shoes. It must be a difficult life, and that’s just a fucking shame. Now imagine, if you have the capacity for imagination, that you go around your whole life deriving no pleasure from it, and wanting to just check out. You can still make those jokes to your friends (if they’re dunces, too) and that probably provides some relief, but people who want to kill themselves don’t clock in and out, it’s not an eight-hour job. That shit follows them every minute of every day. I hope I’m being clear enough in explaining this for you.

I didn’t even need to log into social media to write this because—I knew exactly what to expect—but, because I’m stupid, I did anyway. And the metal internet delivered. Listen, I don’t give a fat baby’s dick if you hated Linkin Park or whatever band suffers a loss. The fact that you feel compelled to rush to make some (generally unfunny, sorry, but your humor fucking sucks) joke to try to get someone’s attention in what, ironically, is probably a cry for help, may make some of your online pals giggle, but it’s making the people who stay quiet hate you. And they’ll remember that sort of behavior if/when you ask for help.