Still, it's good to find some artists who I can admire as people as well as admiring their work. Mike Watt is an excellent example. I realize he is human and has human faults: can be short with people, sometimes a bit sanctimonious, etc., probably more that I don't even know about as my personal contact with him is limited. (Coming off preachy sometimes seems to be a universal fault of idealistic punk types - I always felt Fugazi was a bit over the top in that regard as well.) I also don't agree with all of Watt's political views. However, I admire the guy for seeming to have some kind of a value system that he lives by, for being highly professional about his work, and for striving, from my vantage point, to treat people he deals with in an ethical manner. He's not out to party all the time and live some asinine concept of a rock n' roll lifestyle. He's not the type who walks over his grandmother to get his mug on a magazine cover with Thurston Moore. He does his job and reads and thinks a lot and talks about his dead friend sometimes. I can relate to that.
I realize not everybody who writes a story or snaps a photo or puts out a record wants to be a moral example. Hell, even people like Watt, who end up regarded as admirable or even saintly by many, didn't set out to be icons. However, I am middle-aged and when I'm looking at artists of a similar age to me, who've had time to develop as people and make a lot of choices in life, I am reminded that we're all going to die at some point. And maybe I am thinking about the kids I still might have, and the kids that already exist on this earth, and what example I want to show them. And it's made me more cognizant of whether someone's life and doings *really* fit in with my own values, because fame and applause and fun parties don't mean jack shit in the final tallying up.
I know some people would criticize my view as too moralistic, but I don't give a damn. If punk ever meant anything to me, it meant that it's healthy to be the person with the unpopular view. Also that people who go along with the herd and party all the time are about as much use as John Cougar Mellencamp fans :) that's kind of a joke 'cause I like a lot of his stuff too and think _Scarecrow_ was a great record, but his fans were like, all the conformy drunk dopeheaded party people that made high school a damned nuisance, if you catch my drift.