Perfectly written line by someone who did not suffer fools gladly. I know, I’ve seen it firsthand. But that’s a tale for another time. I will say that George did some of my favorite videos. Self effacing, funny as shit, some of them cutting edge and some just plain silly.
Videos have almost ruined music for me. And I say that as “old school” as possible. And if you have a problem with me not falling dead-over-heels with Madonna or her latest incarnation, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj a trois entourage or ten thousand tons of bling, and five thousand silly-ass ways of messin’ with your hair, take a flyin’ fuck at a rolled up lyric! IT AIN’T ABOUT THAT!! At least not where I’m comin’ from...
It's about the music, stupid! It’s about saying’ someting within the song, within the lyrics. I happen to believe that one of the most challenging things you can do is try to tell a whole story or convey true emotion or an idea in 3-5 minutes. And not by shoving it in your face, either! I mean, if it’s in your face, fine, but the “don’t hit me over the head with it” type approach.
I find it ironic that the film “Alice’s Restaurant” is playin’ on the TV box as I write this rant. I am a “tyrant” of my age. I cannot be cured. I believe in peace, love and the 3 minute single as art form. Even if it wasn’t a hit, so long as it was interesting and told some kind of story, or informed or moved me or grooved me in some way, I’m a fan. My generation may or may not have blown it, but it was one hell of a ride! Besides, Gov. Rockefeller almost called in 50,000 troops to break up Woodstock (good thinkin’ Einstein!) and they seeded the clouds to make it rain and it was the largest gathering of people in one peace, all groovin’ in completley different spaces in the same place.....oh, shit, never mind!
And MTV....you suck. You’ve sucked for a long, long time. Now you suck even harder, given that it’s not even “Music Television” anymore. It’s consummerism at it’s highest crasseristic. (I just made that word up...sue me!) You started this shit and you couldn’t even find a way to finish it!
Don’t get me wrong. There are some videos that knock me out! “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles immediately comes to mind. After all, it was the very first vid played on “MTV”. There were a lot of others as well, too numerous to count. A lot of The Foo Fighters vids come to mind right away. Clever, innovative, funny, and actually took you on a short journey that you weren’t expecting sometimes.
But.....(and I’m certain this is a real “GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN!” moment for some of you) you’ve taken away something invaluable. The ability of the individual to take his own ride within the music. Not that you even fuck that up anymore. You’re too busy tryin’ on the teenage pregnancy thing as hit show shit, or climbin’ into a hot tub with a bunch of yahoos (oh, Southerners, I have such respect for you now....you can be from Jersey and be a yahoo too!) and all these folks on all these shows are tryin’ to keep their dreams of huge piles of money stuck in their ears alive somehow while reciting “the Bronx cheer” (a Bronx cheer is to make a noise signifying derision, real or feigned. It is made by placing the tongue between the lips and blowing to produce a sound similar to flatulence. Thanks Wikipedia! I’m a supporter...and I mean monetarily).....’cause ain’t that the be all and end all of life, as Eddie Izzard so blithely put it? Isn’t that the ultimate goal of the American dream? Having a shit pile of money? Or, as Peggy Lee put it in song (a beatiful single, I might add) “Is that all there is?” (one of our Mom’s favorite songs on the radio in the ‘60s) Can’t we “get ourselves back to the Garden?”. For a good dose of songwriting tale well told, listen to “Wooden Ships” by Crosby. Stills and Nash. Such a crushingly sad, wonderously beautiful tale told by a bunch of magnificent singer/songwriters. It makes me want to say,”Can i just leave now?” I’ve tried my best to fight this beast some call “progress” (beauty is in the eye of the beholder). A lot of us got lost in the Kent State-Jackson State massacres and Altamont tragedy (thanks, you Rollers of Stones! Way to fuck that one up! Not that I don’t adore your music but, REALLY!!??)
What the dying dream did was left us wanting....and wanting....and wanting some more. Good little consumers again! Woo hoo! Let the selling to America begin! (What was George Bush's advice after 911? "Go shopping"!!??) With the advent of the ‘80s and John Lennon’s assasination (don’t get me started on that one) we were left with....you guessed it.....MTV! The ultimate tool of Yuppiedom! As soon as those assholes discovered the big pile of money under the MTV Rock (pun intended), we were left with “The Reagan years” (the “Great Communicator” my ass! Someone with the onslaught of Alzheimers sneaking up behind him and falling asleep in front of the Pope and testifiying before congress during the Iran/Contra scandal by saying “I don’t remember” or “I don’t recall’ several times.....oh, please! Read “Sleepwalking Through History” by Haynes Johnson for more information) Someone who said (when he was Governor of California) “We could bomb the hell out of Vietnam, turn it into a parking lot and be home before Christmas” What a lovely sentiment! Well, we lost that war and I had several friends in my neightborhood come home in boxes or worse before that debacle was over.
I did get a little off subject here, but I’m pretty sure what my point was is that music is an amazing part of our culture, our lives and to have that trivialized by someone slamming images into your head about what they think you should think the song is trying to tell you, instead of letting you make your own mind up is typical in this day and age of “Insant gratifacation takes too long” (Carrie Fisher’s line, to give credit where credit is surely due!) I’m getting crotchety as I get older and I am impatient for people to wake the fuck up! I always try to break off these rants with a tidbit or a quote.....I will quote Crosby, Stills and Nash’s brilliant song “Woodn Ships” once again....
“Silver people on the shoreline, let us be, we are leaving,,,,you don’t need us”!.....Who’s with me?
PS: Name some great singles, if only for yourself sometime, go back and really listen to them and see if I’m not right.....they are a unique art form in and of themselves.....
M. Lanning 06/03/12