And, wow, hey, he made some off-putting, poor taste comments about people. That's down right...
In other words, he did exactly what every person on this planet has done in a period of anger, sadness, or weakness (if anyone reading this dares to suggest *they* have not said, written, or done something in anger, sadness, or weakness they knew was wrong and immature, I will flat out call them a liar... and a hypocrite... and a hypocritical liar).
So, yeah, he wrote some tacky things. Pardon my french, but big f***ing deal. We have *all* written some tacky things, nearly all of us (myself included... just did in this paragraph, in fact) in this forum.
Everyone repeat after me.... Neil is not our friend. Neil owes us nothing. Neil should not be held to extraordinary standards because he is rich or famous. Neil should especially not be held to extraordinary standards because we are really, really, REALLY big fans of his music. Neil is, though, human and capable of making mistakes and even regretting those mistakes.
His only real mistake in this book, though, was taking what should have been left a personal journal and publishing it. That was indeed dumb. I suspect he published it thinking it was his way of trying to connect with fans, knowing that he doesn't connect well through other means. But the fact of the matter is this book was too raw, too personal, and too close to some very ugly, but equally real, aspects of the human psyche following tragedy and grief to be significantly helpful.
How about everyone get off their high horse regarding Neil and, rather than judging him, ask themselves why they find it so necessary to judge him?
It does disturb me that he's judgmental and negative about people he's never met , this is admittedly based on the descriptions contained above. If those are not accurate or if he no longer holds those views, realizing that the book was written at a time of great distress, then I would change my opinion. But if the observations still hold, it doesn't speak very well of him as a person; if that's judgmental, so be it, and if I don't live up to the standards of perfection, that doesn't obviate the observation in any sense.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that we have all, at some point, been judgmental about people we have never met. Actually, wait, not, I am not out on a limb, I am firmly on the ground as that is reality. What makes the majority of the people on the planet decent is that they know it is wrong and regret it.
Having read all of his books, this one is, in no doubt, different than the others. He was very clearly not in a good place when he wrote it and pretty obviously not in a place to make good decisions (his decision to publish it being actual proof of those bad decisions). I really have no reason to doubt that Neil would not look back at this book and cringe.
If someone were to ask me these questions about Neil Peart, my answer would be the same for each...
Do you think Neil can be intellectually arrogant?
Do you think Neil has some abnormal (in the clinical sense) responses to some of his fears?
Has Neil done or said some things that make you shake your head?
The answer, of course, would be "yes".
But those same questions could be asked of many people I know in my own life, even some friends and family. If we are honest with ourselves, we all know and even like or love people who we could take those questions above and insert their names for "Neil". Yet we don't feel the need to constantly lambast them, do we? (I mean, I hope we don't because that would make us really mean people and bad friends and family).
Yet, for some reason, people feel they can do this to celebrities. And, for some reason, many Rush fans feel the need to do this to Neil.
Obviously, this annoys me.
Do most people do it as consistently and repeatedly as he did in this book? Maybe, I hope not, but even if they do, for those that do, does it shed some light on their character.
I have no trouble with his comments if he was in a bad place and regrets the comments he made. He's written enough (I haven't read any of it though, admittedly) that if he feels bad and wants to correct the record, he could easily have done so. Has he done this? I honestly don't know.
I guess this is part of celebrity. But for every possibly unjust criticism celebrities get, and for every double standard they're subjected to, there's another person willing to ignore or downplay their bad behavior because they're good at their craft.
I share a lot of personality traits with Neil. One that I hope I don't--and I hope that he doesn't have--is contempt for other people I don't really know based on their physical attributes.