Addiction in Society

Addiction—the thematic malady for our society—entails every type of psychological and societal problem

The 12-12-12 Concert: That Bitch Sandy!

Pathetic us — we blame a storm for our own problems

Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt
Watching 12-12-12 concert organizer, Harvey Weinstein, talk on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about the cause that brought musical royalty (from Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen to the Stones, et al.) together, I was struck by how the film mogul personified the disaster in an entity called "Sandy," attacking this fictitious female like the participants at the 9-11 concert did Osama bin Laden.

Sandy was embodied throughout the proceedings as an external, oppressive force to be overcome.  Jon Stewart: "When are you going to learn, you can throw anything at us — terrorists, hurricanes. You can take away our giant sodas. It doesn't matter. We're coming back stronger every time."

But who and what is Sandy? Sandy is a storm fed by climate change and rising seas due to the melting of the polar ice cap. And what causes — and how do we fight — that?  Boy, that's a big topic, but it is certainly not by continuing business as usual.  As my daughter Haley (who provided the title for this piece) put it, "I hope they were looking in the mirror. I wonder how many sodas and beers concert goers drank out of plastic cups and how many private jets the musicians flew there."

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Sandy is simply not an external force that we can attack, after the fact, with all of our resources.  Thus, McCartney's big pyrotechnics display for “Live and Let Die” — dedicated to the fire fighters and other first responders as the concert's finale, "the night’s final anthem of local pride and underlying determination" according to the Times' Jon Pareles — just doesn't get it.

An important portion of the concert was devoted to victims at the New Jersey shore — which was laid waste by the storm in a way that has caused even Governor Chris Christie to consider how to reconstitute our relationship to the ocean and shoreline.  But Jersey icon Springsteen sang his paeans to the people and places of the Jersey shore beach communities as though the only issue were restoration — which he noted had been proceeding at Asbury Park long before Sandy decimated it.

Meanwhile, vendors sold plastic bracelets emblazoned with "restore our shore" (credit again to Haley).

The epitome of the embodiment of evil in Sandy (is that Mother Nature or, for religious people, is this actually God) was Adam Sandler's grand insult — sung to the tune of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" — "Sandy, screw ya, we'll get through ya, because we're New Yawkers."

That bitch Sandy!

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Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is the author of Recover! He has been a pioneer in the addiction field since publication of Love and Addiction in 1975.

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