For anons re: Harry being manipulative during promo and being evasive about touring, doing “damage control” now with MUNA and the Women Are Smarter T-shirt, etc.
I understand. Harry is a super-celebrity– someone who is, and wants to be, many things to many people. In a way, he is the blank slate of desire on which many things can be written, by many different people, with different agendas.
He’s a champion for equality, but also wants to be a rock star which, in his mind, means tropes about beautiful women. He wants to be honest and intimate, but he also wants to be in the rock ‘n roll big league, up there with the legends.
He’s learning that one can’t leap over the difficult stuff. Fans won’t buy 20 versions of your origin story, especially if they already know so much about you. We can watch different versions of Batman or Spiderman only so many times. Paul McCartney doesn’t get to skip the break-up of The Beatles. Anything untrue eventually gets exposed, and it makes the initial lie so much worse. One can’t erase something insincere and cynical by providing something real. It doesn’t work like that.
Partly, the story of Harry Styles, rock celebrity, is the balance between commercialism and authenticity. It’s a rare celebrity who thinks money doesn’t matter. Money is not merely wealth; it’s the currency of power. It all boils down to this delicate balance.
In 1D, Harry was removed from the position of decision. Now he is in control. He has to own it all, the good and the bad. Celebrity is a difficult thing. If you court it, it’s going to come with downsides.
That said, I don’t think anything Harry has done is out of the ordinary for a pop star of his stature. I don’t think anything has been that strange or dishonest– just vague and unpredictable, and maybe a little hamfisted in casual misogyny. As I said, I fully expected him to tour bigger venues next year, and to release new material. Harry Styles ™ isn’t a finished product, but one in transition– and also a human being. What happens in the next 3-4 years will tell us how he deals with his talents and fame, and what kind of person he turns out to be.
What we have in common is that when life gets really hard we feel great amounts of pain, or when we feel great amounts of joy, we turn to music and that’s why we’re all here in this room tonight.
And um speaking about great amounts of pain, um from talking to you so much I’ve never been so sure that it’s treacherous and difficult to be happy in 2015. I think that navigating your life, navigating your self esteem, your self-image, I think that’s harder than it’s ever been before, and I think it’s because every day, and trust me I love the internets ok, I love the good parts of the internets. But there’s also this dark side of how we’re all so, it’s so available to us to see the highlight reel of someone else’s life. All the pictures of when they look the most awesome and when they’re on some great trip, or they’re having the best time ever at a party, and you get like. In your own life you’re seeing the behind the scenes not just a highlight reel you’re seeing like when you get out of bed in the morning and you’re like oh god this is not a good hair day, this is not going good today, how are we going to fix this? Or, you’re like you feel like you don’t know where you’re supposed to go with your life or you just went through the most horrible sense of rejection because someone you know they spread a rumor about you that wasn’t true. You’re seeing all these angles of your own life and then you compare it to other people’s lives when you don’t see what they’re going through. You just see the good parts of what they’re going through. Am I right?
And so I say to you when you start to compare yourself to other people please change the channel in your mind to something else because I think that when it comes to how we see ourselves, other people are really mean, but we’re really mean to ourselves. And so it’s easy to get confused. And when you do get confused um, and you start feeling like you’re not special, or you’re not different, or you have nothing important to say, we all feel like that sometimes. What I want you to do right now, if there’s one thing you remember from tonight, remember what I’m about to say.
You need to look into the mirror in the morning and not tell yourself that you’re not special or you’re not good enough, you’re not pretty or you’re not awesome. I’m going to tell you right now the things you actually are not Ok? These are the things you really are not. You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn’t know you. You are not damaged goods just because you’ve made mistakes in your life. You are not going nowhere just because you haven’t got where you want to go yet. Those are the things you actually are not, now I want to tell you what you are. You are your own definition of beautiful and worthwhile, that’s what you are. You are someone who is wiser because you made mistakes, not damaged, wiser. You are somebody who could be at this moment right now sitting there there there there there there there you are going through whatever you are going through in your life that’s stressing you out or confusing you and making you feel upset. But you got out of bed, and you put on an awesome outfit and you came to a concert and now we are all having the best time ever on a Wednesday night.
You know it’s not about perfection, it’s about just getting on with things sometimes. Sometimes you just get credit for getting up and going on with things, you don’t have to do it perfectly. And I think that we mistake our mistakes for damage and we think other people will judge us for them. But I want you to know that the way I see mistakes, they don’t make you damaged – they make you clean