I've never really been one for adventure sports. Bungee Jumping, Extreme River Walking, Turbo Double Plus Hang-Gliding, Slingshot Karaoke Jam Basketball Dunking, whatever the combination of ridiculousness, my reaction has generally been a heartily scoffing, "meh". These sports seem to have been invented, appropriated, indulged in and enjoyed by the kind of tough-guy ex-college footballers who I really tried to avoid while I was at university. Above all, though, they always appeared to be a more blatant symbol of status and privilege than any limousine. It's as if the participants are bragging to the underprivileged: "Check it out! Our lives are so safe we get to invent danger for ourselves! Dude!"
And then they couple their bragging with a sweet corporate rock anthem about socking it to the man and post it on Youtube.
Those who died! Are justified! For wearing the spokecard, they're the chosen whites!
(apologies to Mr De La Rocha et al, even if every time I mention RATM I feel the need to link to this map explaining the links between major record labels and major arms manufacturers)
Now, I'm not in the best position to throw stones here - I've certainly raced in a lot of alleycats, and I'm not above inventing danger in my own life - just the other day, for example, the cat scratched me bad, just as I was in the midst of the second guitar solo in November Rain, pretending I was Slash, using the cat for a guitar. But let's face it, if your life is so safe that the only way you can cop an adreniline rush is by running red lights and playing in the traffic, well, perhaps you need to make your life less safe. Perhaps it's time to cut mummy's purse strings, for a start. Fuck, even Zach De La Rocha himself went and spent some time with the Zapatistas, learning first hand what it is to struggle together to survive. Riding your bike like a madman on the weekend then retreating to the safety of your mama's house in Malvern is not danger, kids, and nor is writing songs about smashing the state from a Manhattan boardroom. Like Tom Waits says, you have to risk something that matters, otherwise you're just another inventive jock with too much spare time on their hands.
Ps. If you're struggling for ideas, perhaps you should go to France, where the Sarkozy government is about to sick the riot cops on the biggest strikes since 1968. Time to stop idolizing the past, folks. History is what's happening right now. I only hope that this time around they produce more sweet posters, so I can get another tattoo.