The (Hopefully) Intelligent Bowie Post

The (Hopefully) Intelligent Bowie Post January 19, 2016

Many of us at my age (50 this year!) are just delighted that the age of camera phones and Facebook came after our hedonistic youths, though that sort of proof isn’t always necessary to move a story along.  I don’t know about you, but there are many things that I’ve done that later I’ve rethought.  Many of my actions were sloppy and unskillful.  That’s part of how I learned better.

When I was 15, I was in some relationships that were truly wonderful.  Transgressive and delightful.

I was also in some relationships that were coercive and truly terrible.  Deceitful and hurtful.

That was me, then, clumsily learning how to be safe and also how to throw caution to the wind. Growing up.

When I was 23, I was in some questionable relationships, too.  Situations that, when I think back on it, I maybe shouldn’t have been involved in.  Dishonest, selfish, steeped in poor judgement.

When I first heard the story of the 23-year-old David Bowie and the 15-year-old Lori Maddox, I thought, “Wow!  I bet that girl had a super fun youth!”  In my experience, a 23-year-old man could be far kinder than a 16-year-old boy. And in this case, Lori came away with a great experience and an excellent story.

Did she always make good choices for herself?  Why was she there?  Did she feel valued for her heart and mind?  We don’t know the answers.  Should we automatically assume that we know better than she does?  I think not.

Really, is it any of our business?  Nope.

We do know that many years have passed and people do change.

If any of us was held now to what we thought/did/believed when we were young, think of the mistakes we’d still be making.  Think of how poor our worldviews would be, how lacking in substance.

So, if we are hoping to open a conversation about whether young women are preyed upon by older men, then let’s talk about that (spoiler alert: yes, that happens).  If we are speculating whether girls are hyper-sexualized by the media, then let’s go there (spoiler alert: yes, most of the time).

Those discussions would be more helpful than talking about what happened with this one (talented, brilliant, flawed) man and this one (happy, free, satisfied) girl.

By RCA Records [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By RCA Records [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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