In case you do not recognize this fellow, he is Neil Young, Canada's most famous aging 'Rocker'. I have always been a fan of his music
and have, with difficulty, managed to separate his musical and lyrical talent from his person. We all have people in our lives that we admire, either for their character, their contribution, their personality, or their talents. Because no person is a complete package, we often tend to overlook the bad and appreciate the good. So it is for me with Neil Young.
He is in the news in a big way since his public stand, on Sunday, against the Athabasca Oil Sands.
Endorsements by very public figures work in the advertising industry. That is why celebrities and sports icons get paid the big dollars for doing ads for various products. That is also why many will be influenced by Young's acid comments against our government and the oil industry in Canada.
When celebrities jump on some bandwagon, we can expect hyperbole and we get it from Young in spades. "The tar sands are worse than Hiroshima" and "the Harper government has no integrity" are comments that are over the top but do get attention.
Why would Young, a famous and rich musician who was born in Canada but had not lived here for the last 43 years suddenly show up on our doorstep and get involved in a Canadian issue when there are so many grievous issues in the USA that he could address?
He is not getting any younger and as a man ages, and has accomplished some personal goals, he begins to look for significance as he realizes his life in its fading years. As a secular humanist, and I have no evidence to suggest that he is not one, he is probably trying to do something of enduring value before he dies. He believes that this is an issue that is important and has taken the side that opposes it. I will not get into that debate, but rather simply suggest that he probably would like to see the oil sands shut down and then die knowing he had a significant hand in helping that to come about.
I strongly disagree with him, but will still enjoy his music.