Jump to content

Can/should Axl's reputation be rehabilitated?

Vincent Vega

Recommended Posts

I was reading an article about how American President Richard Nixon rehabilitated himself and his career--Going from utterly despised and disgraced upon resignation in 1974, to being considered a changed, rehabilitated, respected elder statesmen upon his death in 1994, and today being actually missed by some. Some quotes from the article were interesting:

"Rehabilitation is a social process. It involves a person who has a reputation that is flawed or defective in some way, and work that is undertaken to restore that reputation to a socially acceptable condition.

Some axioms of rehabilitation theory are relevant. First, the idea assumes that the person in question is worth the effort that rehabilitation takes. It assumes that the person is a good person gone bad, and not an irredeemably bad person. Conservative critics of rehabilitation in the prisons argue that some offenders are not worth the cost involved or have no redeeming social values to begin with, and indeed, the goal of rehabilitation has long since been discarded as an objective of imprisonment. Those of a more liberal persuasion argue that all human beings have socially redeeming qualities, and therefore that rehabilitation is a possibility for everyone, although it may not always happen (Wright, 1973; Newman, 1978; Johnson, 1987).

A second important principle of rehabilitation addresses the way the candidate approaches the process. Successful rehabilitation requires that those who are to be restored to honor and respect openly and freely admit the error of their ways, show remorse, be humble, and be embarrassed and distressed by those actions that resulted in their dishonor (Garfinkle, 1956). As Richard Nixon has said on various occasions, contrition is not his style. Thus, any application of the idea of rehabilitation to his case must treat his acknowledgment that "mistakes were made" as the equivalent of the selfcriticism ordinarily required from those who seek social redemption

Rehabilitation is a status transformation. The rehabilitation process takes a person whose moral character has been disgraced and degraded and transforms him or her into a new person who now deserves honor and respect. This transformation is not just something that happens, the unaided evolution of character. Rather, it involves active work on the part of agents of social control, persons acting in the name of moral responsibility (Garfinkle, 1956). Insofar as Gerald Ford's pardon effectively eliminated the involvement of any agency of social control, and insofar as Nixon has sought neither private practitioner nor self-help agency to aid him, his rehabilitation must be viewed as an instance of self-rehabilitation, a transformation of character done without any organized institutional assistance.

Finally, the measure of rehabilitation is change. The idea of rehabilitation implies that there is a new Nixon, and that this new Nixon is a function of recognizable changes in his character."

It brought me to thinking about Axl. Axl is Rock N' Roll's Richard Nixon; He is hated by the media, on whom he basically declared war in the early '90, and despised by many in the rock community at large; He is seen as a man who brought himself and his band down right as they were at the tip of greatness. Many people look back and say that GN'R would've been the next Rolling Stones--if not for Axl's actions. Axl shares with Nixon the traits of paranoia, of not wanting to appear weak, of trying to assail or control the press and the press' perception of him. They share a same amazing rise and peak of greatness---Axl was at the top of the world in 1992, Nixon was re-elected in one of the biggest landslides in history in 1972--Only to fall massively from grace just as they were about to reach true greatness. They disappointed, let down, and betrayed in various ways their fans, their supporters, and their friends time and again in their respective falls from grace.

Which leads me to: Can Axl's reputation be rehabilitated? Should it be? Does he deserve it?

Edited by Vincent Vega
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The comparison is fun. You're right...they share qualities, no doubt. However, Axl is currently trying to do what he did at his peak. Nixon wasn't trying to be president when he was "socially rehabilitated".

Axl is still in the fire. I bet if Nixon continued to be president, he would have been his same ol' paranoid self. Axl's stab at "social rehabilitation" cannot happen because even if he was to retire, we'd all want him to go back on stage/in the studio. Everyone knew there was no chance for Tricky Dick to re-take the oath--it was just stories from Grandpa Rich while sitting on the sofa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...