Sunday, October 9, 2011

People who don't know how to quit

I made a post recently about one of my all-time favorite bands breaking up. I was feeling sentimental about it that day, but there is something to be said for sensing when one's time has passed and bowing out gracefully as opposed to dragging it out beyond the point of self-parody.

Surely most of you have read about the drama over the Simpsons contract negotiations. A lot of the commentary I was reading online was from people that were openly hoping that they ended the show over this. There's no reason why anybody needs new episodes of the Simpsons anymore, and yet they just keep coming, for at least the next two years, apparently.

Speaking of beloved cultural institutions that everybody has been totally sick of forever, Paul McCartney just got married again. While I would never say anything bad about Paul, I sincerely hope that this is the one relationship that brings him so much joy and satisfaction that he decides to never play another note of music again for as long as he lives. It's too late for him to go out with any dignity, so the best he could do at this point is pull the plug before he is literally dead.

I hope that whatever great thing I end up doing with my life, I'm able to sense when the time is right for me to stop doing it. It's easy to see why attaining the status of McCartney or the Simpsons would be something that is difficult to let go of, but surely there comes a point where that's more of a crutch than anything else. All I want out of life is to achieve something extraordinary, and then realize that it's OK for me to be ordinary again.


Wendy McMillan said...

I thought this was going to be about Paul quitting marriage, not music. I know he still performs but does he still write new music too? I think if you can no longer sing songs the way you did when you wrote them (Robert Plant please stop Goin' to California), then maybe you should retire. But I guess it's cool that touring still makes money and hasn't died out like buying CDs and DVDs.

Jacob I. McMillan said...

McCartney's last studio album was released in 2007. I haven't heard it, for the simple reason that it's a Paul McCartney album released in 2007. I shouldn't hold his obvious love of live performance against him, but something about it seems perverse. Like imagine if that was your grandpa up there, singing "Yesterday" and stuff. OK, that makes it sound cute, but you know what I mean.

Austin said...

I think Paul has a right to keep composing and performing as long as people keep paying him, why not?

There was a question I think Annie Leibowitz once asked along the lines of "How much money would it take to give up your 'artistic integrity?'"

Along those lines, how much money does it take to keep making music that hasn't been as good as it was in over 40 years? For Paul, apparently enough.

Same with the Simpsons. I'm not watching it and haven't been in too long I don't remember, but apparently Fox is still making enough to merit keeping it on TV, so more power to them. Or maybe they're just being loyal to the show that made them. Fox being loyal? Now I'm just being silly.