Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Carman and Me
When the hugely popular contemporary Christian artist Carman announced he had cancer about 12 ½ months ago, I was hooked.
I’ve written about it on this very blog. The dude is a … piece of work. You’ve never met a cancer patient quite like him.
That is, if you believe he actually has cancer.
I know, I know. It’s wildly irresponsible to come on the Internet and start rumors about a guy especially when it comes to cancer. And I know I’d look like a total D-bag if I continue and he does indeed succumb to this disease, which he’s expected to do in three to five years.
However, I find it my responsibility to battle Carman because he’s a pretty big asshat. When he announced his cancer prognosis on Valentine’s Day 2013 and then starting following his fan page on Facebook, it didn’t feel right.
Mostly because he almost immediately decided to start a Kickstarter to fund his new album. Please note, Carman’s sold a ton of records and hosted some of the biggest concerts in Christian music history. He’s not poor … or he shouldn’t be poor.
Once I noticed the sort of things he was posting on Facebook, I started to ask questions. He’s done a year of chemotherapy and other treatments. For every actual update on his health, there’s about four dozen Christian memes (if you thought memes were terrible, try a Christian meme) that he lines your News Feed with.
Then the photos and video blogs. Who knows when they were done, but he’s still got that luscious head of black hair (he admits his hair is falling out, but there is not a single ounce of photographic proof anywhere). He looks great. No photos of feeble moments in the hospital when it all seems so fleeting and fragile. He’s more so taunting cancer.
Some Carman Facebook updates of note:
- Shortly after announcing his new album, “Live Across America,” he announced a tour. It’s worth noting that HE’S RECOVERING FROM A YEAR OF CANCER TREATMENTS.
- Part of his treatments included stem cell transplants. Of course, a core part of his perceived audience are generally anti-stem cell research because WHO ARE WE TO PLAY GOD BY MAKING CYCLOPTIC ZOMBIE BABIES?!
- In a rambling post on Feb. 7, he said doctors had said he was “cancer free.” Noteworthy because although that should be the first sentence in the post, it was buried about halfway through the diatribe.
- Shockingly, he’s hesitant to thank his doctors and medical practitioners, instead channeling all gratitude toward the Good Lord, The Sweet Jesus Christ.
Why am I a cynic?
- It’s my nature, first and foremost.
- No photos? Seriously?! You post on Facebook daily and not one “behind the curtain” photo?
- I get religious people. I really do. But to sit there and pretend that modern medicine and techniques and the professionals that save millions every year has less to do with your “recovery” than faith in Jesus is pretty ridiculous.
- I find it extremely hard to believe he was able to record an album during this time more or less plan a tour.
- What cancer patient buries the lead of being cancer free? Don’t you shout it to the planet in all caps, bolded and italicized. Isn’t it how you lead off everything? Especially if it’s a really deadly form of cancer?
- Outside of his initial Feb. 14 prognosis, there’s next to no media or reporting about him.
- And … you sorta got to get to know Carman.
To say a guy like Carman is simply above faking cancer for the sake of getting back on the radar is an understatement.
Why did he have to ask random fans for money to record a new album? It’s because doesn’t have a record label. That’s because he’s been blackballed by the Christian industry.
Now, Christian record labels may be all about saving souls and whatnot, but they aim to make a buck too and very few in that genre have ever sold as much as Carman. It slowed down in the early-2000s and between 2007 and 2013, he did next to nothing.
“I was on a run for doing 10 platinum records in a row,” Carman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “In the secular world, that’s not an artist you give up on.”
It’s not because Carman sucks (he does) but because he’s an asshat, and many in the Christian music scene don’t like him. He’s been criticized as being hokey and, basically, uncool (pot, meet kettle). Some criticize his messaging and theological points. He himself has frozen out Christian media that have been critical.
Foremost, he’s been criticized for dealings with shady ministries and companies. Carman has hidden behind a non-profit ministerial organization while selling records, video collections and other Carman paraphernalia.
How does this equate with Carman faking cancer to get back in the spotlight? The guy spins gold and yet NO ONE will touch him. No one.
“I wasn’t really doing anything. I’ve had hardly any requests for concerts. I wasn’t recording. I wasn’t productive. The things I needed to do best, I wasn’t doing. I figured my time was up,” Carman said of his time before the cancer diagnosis. Truth is, without his cancer diagnosis, no one would care.
Please, take everything I write and think with a grain of salt. But it’s easy to see how the pieces might not fit together. Because they don’t.