On Sunday, the man known to us mortals as Jack White (of The White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather and general awesomeness) gave a surprise lecture to students of the Philosophical Society at Dublin’s Trinity College while there to receive honorary patronage. Both Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde were previous members of DTC’s Philosophocial Society, so they were clearly ready for White’s near-transparent level of whiteness.
Clearly the topic that reached White’s heart was authenticity. He discussed how probably people like Bob Dylan aren’t as authentic as thought, while people like Britney Spears, who do what they want in the “way they know how” are likely more authentic. While this has caused a minor stir on some music sites, I think what he’s saying is probably more about attitude and personality rather than their creative output, as we can all agree that plenty of pop stars have done what Spears does, just as plenty of other musicians have done what Dylan does (though maybe not nearly as well or for as long). But in the end doesn’t authenticity go back to that old saying that everyone in the world has come to hate, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”
It’s time to start mining what’s above it, then. Or maybe decide that one can be authentic and inauthentic simultaneously.
Ryan W. Bradley has pumped gas, changed oil, painted houses, swept the floor of a mechanic's shop, worked on a construction crew in the Arctic Circle, fronted a punk band, and managed an independent children's bookstore. He now works in marketing. His latest book is Nothing but the Dead and Dying, a collection of stories set in Alaska. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife and two sons.