I absolutely LOVED Rent the movie back in my younger years. I used to watch the movie at least once a week and had the entire soundtrack on my Zune, remember Zunes?
Anyway, so I have not been able to obsessively watch it in my later years because you know…life. But amidst this ongoing quarantine I have developed the hobby of re-watching and re-reading literature and art that was popular in my youth. Through doing so I have repeatedly found myself asking the same question.
Right there is the answer. The thing is, my generation of parents understood that the world was a cruel dark place and were preparing their children for it. I wasn’t shocked when I went to college that sometimes people lie about rape and you can be subject to a broken limb if you go up in peoples space.
I read To Kill a Mockingbird in High School.
But in the current years that style of parenting that seeked to prepare the child for the harsh “real” world has all but evaporated. It is evident by the genuine shock evidenced by persons when they realize atrocities are occurring. Atrocities that have unfortunately been occurring for years close to home.
It baffles me when a Young Black American in the South acts as if they had never heard of the existence of racism.
I’m like “Yeahhhhhhhhhh, it’s kinda been going on for a couple of centuries now. There’s literally whole museums dedicated to exploring this fact…”
But that is a whole different conversation for a different blog post. Right now the focus is on Rent.
Rent (2005) “is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America.” (IMDB”. In the clip above we see character Roger being subject to demonization based on the fact that he did not want to do illegal drugs with Mimi.
Roger did not shame Mimi for her addiction, We see in their first meeting Rogers character relating to her, essentially saying that he was once like her. Roger even compared Mimi to a deceased ex-girlfriend. Roger personally witnessed and experienced the dangers of illegal drug usage and based on those experiences and declines Mimis offers of drug usage.
Because of this half of the cast comes out of nowhere and makes HIM into the bad guy.
Roger had an opinion and his actions mirrored it. Half of the people shouting at him that there’s “no day but todayyyyyyyyyy” never smoked crack and never would. I highly doubt they would advise their own kids to just forget about the future and hit the pipe, so why would they tell someone elses child to do that??
After an extended time period of behind demonized for not just shutting up and drinking the kool-aid the viewer sees Rogers role slowly subdue3. The Roger that was screaming and burning trash that we were initially introduced to fades away and Mimi leaves him for a man that will allow her to do heroin and snort coke in peace.
Roger was essentially advocating for a style of life which one did not give into indulgences as he has WITNESSED as well as BEEN A VICTIM of just that.
Almost twenty years after this film premiered the cast still comes out of nowhere to demonize Rodger; but now “Rodger” means you and me, and “cast” means majority.
Those Rodgers of the world who have ever been brave enough to express their personal opinion or disagreement of a topic on a social media platform that masqueraded as a site welcoming diversity of thought know exactly how it feels to be attacked for rationally disagreeing.
Remember, we no longer welcome differing opinions, only one.