Eric Clapton may not be the “best” guitarist in history, but he’s certainly up there when it comes to influencing not only his genre but many others. The bluesman has spent decades writing hit music and touring the world. But after years of adoration, he’s being thrown overboard.
This, per Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone special report: Inside Eric Clapton’s baffling vaccine skepticism and shocking history of racist statements https://t.co/5FxgwHhdnC
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) October 11, 2021
In the past, Clapton has been reluctant to voice his political views. As he told Rolling Stone in 1968, “What I’m doing now is just my way of thinking, but if it gets into a paper somewhere, people will say that what I’m saying is the way they ought to think. Which is wrong, because I’m only a musician. If they dig my music, that’s great, but they don’t have to know what’s going on in my head.”
But in recent months Clapton has himself become a leading vaccine skeptic, part of a community that Dr. Anthony Fauci has said is “part of the problem — because you’re allowing yourself to be a vehicle for the virus to be spreading to someone else.” And while never explicitly condemning the lockdown, he’s said “live music might never recover” and joined Van Morrison for three songs that amount to lockdown protest anthems. By way of a friend’s social media account, he’s also detailed what he called his “disastrous” experience after receiving two AstraZeneca shots (“propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone,” he wrote).
Let me summarize that for you. Clapton is against lockdowns, has never explicitly spoken against the vaccines, and simply shared his personal experience in which he got really sick. For that, he’s now being attacked and shunned in Rolling Stone, a magazine that once idolized him. Truly, there is no relationship so strong that COVID hysteria can’t destroy it.
Clapton also took pictures with what Rolling Stone calls “anti-vaccine mandate” (sinister) Gov. Greg Abbott. Describing Abbott as “notorious” in the hit-piece, the author describes Clapton as upsetting people on Twitter. The absolute horror, right?
But the current controversy is prompting a fresh examination of Clapton’s past behavior, which includes jarringly racist statements he made in the early part of his career. How did we get from admiration and empathy to bewilderment and even a feeling of betrayal?
I’ll tell you how you got from admiration and empathy to bewilderment: because you people are insane. You are treating a vaccine like a religious rite. Clapton has not made anti-vax comments. Rather, he’s been honest about the fact that people can have adverse reactions to it. Yet, the author seems to frame that as heresy against the church of COVID.
As to the topic of lockdowns, their impact is questionable, and there’s no doubt they lead to many other unintended consequences. Being against lockdowns is hardly groundbreaking stuff. It’s especially not groundbreaking when you consider musicians make most of their money from touring.
Of course, they want to get back in the game and find pointless mitigation objectionable. Clapton is just brave enough to express his displeasure out loud. But you can bet many others in the industry agree with him. The blues genre and the rock ‘n’ roll scene it birthed are supposed to be about counter-culture, fighting authority, and making your own way. Instead, it’s turned into a bunch of pansies whining that people won’t wear masks.
And because Clapton engaged in COVID wrong-think, Rolling Stone penned a multi-thousand-word article bringing up comments they claim are racist (what’s that have to do with COVID?) and excoriating the blues guitarist as a dangerous actor fighting a cultural civil war. The destruction is the point. If you step out of line regarding the religion of COVID, even if you are Eric freaking Clapton, the establishment will come after you.
Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned here?