Son of man, speak thus to your countrymen: When I bring the sword against a country, and the people of this country select one of their number to be their watchman, and the watchman, seeing the sword coming against the country, blows the trumpet to warn the people, anyone hearing but not heeding the warning of the trumpet and therefore slain by the sword that comes against him, shall be responsible for his own death. He heard the trumpet blast yet refused to take warning; he is responsible for his own death, for had he taken warning he would have escaped with his life.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and fails to blow the warning trumpet, so that the sword comes and takes anyone, I will hold the watchman responsible for that person’s death, even though that person is taken because of his own sin.
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
One of the favorite phrases that Fr. Joe, my pastor at St. Bernard’s Parish at St. Camillus church likes to use is “Seeing oneself in the light of truth.”
Seeing things in the light of truth allows one self to avoid problems, repent from sin and help others in bad situations. This can be a very unpleasant because seeing oneself in the light of truth means recognizing and acknowledging one sins and flaws that exist and once they are acknowledged one has to make the difficult decision to fix what’s wrong with us and improve or ignore it and regress.
As hard as this can be what is even harder is when this is applied to others, this can lead to conflict and in a secular society that celebrates excess and sin to speak up against either is to risk the wrath of a sometimes violent but always self righteous crowd which vigorously defends any sin or obsession because to recognize these problems in others might require us to look at our own lives in that same light.
Speak about the dangers of obesity? You’re fat slaming!
Speak about the dangers of promiscuity? You’re slut slaming!
Declare the reality of male and female? You’re Transphobic!
Speak about the reality of what marriage is or that a child does best with a father and mother? You’re Homophobic!
State that excessive alcohol is a bad idea on campus? You’re judgmental!
Speak aloud that abortion is the killing of a human being? You’re anti-woman!
Say that the best way to avoid poverty and disease is to wait till marriage to have children? You’re puritanical!
All of these things are truths that have been understood for millennia yet today’s society, particular the media and entertainment industry not only reject these things but in states when their allies have political power have pushed for laws to take punitive actions against those who would dare to speak these truths aloud? Why, because to even acknowledge these truths is to see oneself in the light of truth and that above all other things must not be done.
And that brings us to Rick Genest, also known as Zombie Boy.
I had not heard of him, but apparently he thought that tattooing his entire body so he would look like a skeleton was a great a idea.
Now this is objectively insane and in a sane age family friends and loved ones might have said aloud and even a Tattoo artist when asked to do this to him might have said: “That’s nuts I ain’t doing that, you need help man.” And thus acknowledging the problem aloud they would have either encouraged him to seek a psychologist to help him to taken action to move the state to do so.
However this is not a sane age and the Entertainment/Hollywood/Media crowd absolutely loved it, they accepted him and gave him entrée to their world, which in the Media/Entertainment/Hollywood secular culture is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on an ordinary person next to victim-hood.
But alas objective reality exists and the reality is this person was dealing with serious personal demons and no amount of fetting by the right people could change this so one year shy of Christ’s age at his crucifixion, Rick Genest took his own life.
Tattooed Lady Gaga muse Zombie Boy, 32, ‘killed himself by jumping from the 4th floor balcony’ of his Montreal apartment building
Rick Genest, 32, is believed to have jumped from a balcony on Wednesday
Cops say he jumped from the 4th floor, but his family believes it was an accident
Genest known as Zombie Boy for bone and organ tattoos inked all over his body
Naturally Ms. Gaga tweeted a glowing tribute
The art we made was sacred to me and I was emotional, he was an incredible artist and his art and heart will live on. Rest In Peace 🙏 You beautiful soul. pic.twitter.com/0gXTJ6cHYB
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) August 4, 2018
She had originally put out a tweet blaming the culture of silence about mental illness but deleted said tweet. You can read it here but walked it back.
Out of respect for Rick’s family, Rick & his legacy I apologize if I spoke too soon as there was no witnesses or evidence to support any conclusion for the cause of his death. I in no way meant to draw an unjust conclusion My deepest condolences to his entire family and friends. pic.twitter.com/CJ9AdOJ22j
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) August 4, 2018
Rod Dreher critique of the original tweet was different than the family’s
What strikes me as so odd about Lady Gaga’s tweet is the idea that “the culture” led Zombie Boy to kill himself. The man turned his entire body into an advertisement for his own mental illness. What would Lady Gaga have “the culture” do? Is this the fault of “the culture,” or of this man?
Or is it the fault not of the culture, but of a culture — such as elite pop culture, including the high fashion world in which Zombie Boy moved and modeled — that sees plain evidence of a man’s suffering and internal disorder, made manifest in his body, and refuses to regard that as a sign of mental illness?
Think of it: Rick Genest had his skin permanently altered so that he would resemble a skeleton. This turned out to be his ticket to partying with the elites. And we’re shocked that he killed himself?
The Phantom soapbox is more blunt:
When a handsome man has every inch of his body covered in -painful- tattooing, furthermore depicting images of rot and death, it is a sign that he’s having a problem. This man had a biohazard emblem a foot tall on his chest and a skull tattooed on his face, that’s not something a healthy, well-adjusted person does. They get “Mom” on a shoulder, or a tribal arm band. Maybe a heart on their butt or something.
Yes, I’m actually saying that his body art was a manifestation of a dangerous illness. Which killed him by the way, making it a -fatal- illness.
Again, I’m not sitting in harsh judgement on the individuals involved in that art. They didn’t make him that way, it isn’t their fault. But, the bald facts are: fatal mental illness.
My harsh judgement is reserved for the people screaming at their computers right now because I dared mention excessive tattoos and mental illness in the same sentence. Radical body modification is strongly correlated with suicide, and y’all need to pull your heads out of your asses. There’s some guy out there getting surgical modifications to make him look like a Ken doll. He’s got a problem, which might very well kill him.
It isn’t cosplay, people.
The bottom line is this. Rick Genest was a mentally ill man and rather than seeing this in the light of truth and work to get him help, which would have involved time and effort and carrying a cross, in other words actually show love for him, those in a position to show that love of neighbor or to be the watchman sounding the alarm, decided to keep silent either to avoid the time and effort involved in helping him or out of fear of being thought judgmental.
And of course the media/hollywood/entertainment society celebrated and encouraged him because how could they judge his excesses as extreme without judging their own. His excesses complemented and confirmed their own.
Or put simply to see Rick Genest in the light of truth, just might have involved seeing themselves in that same light and given that choice, better a dead Zombie Boy who can be remembered as an icon than a live Rick Genest who can be acknowledged as a child of God who needs help.
We need to pray for Rick Genest, yes he was a suicide but I suggest you listen to my interview with Fr. Chris Alar from yesterday’s Your Prayer Intentions radio show, but most of all pray for the courage to not only see ourselves in the light of truth but to have the courage to speak the truth in love to others even if it means risking pain and rebuke. Truth and love are powerful things, they can change a live and maybe even save it.
Make no Mistake Rick Genest is one of the millions of casualties of the culture war, and there are tens of millions of others who can still be saved if we have the courage to try.