Sting: The Man We Love to Hate-Love
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Sting’s Broadway musical, The Last Ship, reminds us in terms undeniable why he’s as sucky-great as he is.
By Eugene S. Robinson
It’s rare — make that extremely rare — that a public figure manages to amass a record of fame and infamy that so simultaneously repels and attracts us. Gordon Sumner, better known the world round as Sting, is one such celebrity.
His unenviable “it” factor?
Whether it’s his promise that his own children won’t see a cent of his earnings, or the still-echoing claims and subsequent disavowals of 16 hours, in a row, of tantric sex, the undoubtedly talented musician never ceases to test our taste for him. His musical, The Last Ship, seems delightful, and during its pre-Broadway run, reviewers gave it warm, if not exactly glowing, reviews — although he recently had to step in and join the New York stage production to revive ho-hum ticket sales. The thing is, Sting possesses a chemical formula for shocking and delighting us in measures so equal that we still can’t decide whether we love the media figure that is the man, or hate the man that is the media figure. This skill/talent/gift/preternatural ability is so singular, it should be trademarked.
But then Sting opens his mouth, and suddenly there are hornets in our heads.
And yet why do we still care? Because — Walking on the Moon — that’s why.
Yes, the same could be said about half of the musicians out there. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are, we think, very easy to hate/hate. And though Madonna is deserving of a whole separate subcategory of singer we’d feel justified getting a restraining order against (we’re looking at you, Lady Gaga), it’s Sting who most steadfastly runs the rail between total love and hate.
Sting. We look around, but you are the only you and it’s this you we can’t replace.
And our confusion/satisfaction? On full display, which is to say: Watch our video to see just how vexed and devoted you’ve made our muddled minds.
This OZY encore was originally published July 2, 2014.
Video by Tom Gorman. Tom is an OZY video producer.