In this blog, I have said that one of the values to studying the humanities is that the study leads people away from following crazy, destructive ideas. Instead, it teaches them to question authority, find better solutions to problems, and recognize their own value as human beings in solving problems.
Dan Bern, a musician with a wry sense of human, wrote a song called ‘Krautmeyer’ that I think points up to a lot of the value of being able to see humans as humans and recognize our own humanity.
Charles Manson doesn’t even know his last name anymore
Charles Manson’s real name was Charles Krautmeyer; he’s forgotten it
Charles Manson had a bunch of people
Who believed his every word
Who followed his directions to cut a bunch of rich people
Would they still have done if they’d known his name was Krautmeyer
I kinda doubt it
He talks about Marilyn Manson and how things would be different if he called himself “Marilyn Krautmeyer.”
The value in this song is that it can show us that we should not get sucked in by personalities and manipulators, regardless of their levels. Thinking about the greatest instances of man’s inhumanity to man, they come when people en masse start to follow a leader with crazy ideas. Thinking about our own lives and the way that we sometimes put ourselves in bad positions because of bosses, friends, fads, and so on, it pays to remember, as Dan Bern points out, that these people are often just picking their noses.
I was on a bus the other day, and a guy got on dressed all in black in 90-degree plus heat, with facial piercings. He was attempting to look fierce, or out side of the mainstream, or something. He was wearing a Marilyn Manson tee shirt. All I could think was “his real name is Marilyn Krautmeyer,” which changed the way I viewed him, and brought out his humanity.