Friday, October 5, 2007

Have Ad, Will Travel


Walking through Chelsea one afternoon, I overhead a spirited discussion between two men:

"Like, oh my God right? I totally felt so special when I liked that song and album and everything, but now, cause of that fucking iPod commercial, everyone's acting like that song's theirs. It was mine first, fucking damn it!"

"I know right? God, such a fucking selling out. I mean, come on bitch, like you couldn't have made people hear your music without whoring yourself out, right?"

"Though that new iPod nano is pretty fucking cute."

"My God, I know right? I totally want a pink one."

Now I doubt getting into the long running debate over the idea of musicians "selling out" is worth any mention here (though obviously, I just mentioned it right now), but the iPod example is an interesting one to spur discussion of ownership of art.

If my countless hours spent in classes, film, and dates with pretentious/not-so pretentious artistic types has taught me anything, it's that everyone and no one owns it.

We make shit and put it out into the world for whatever self-serving purpose we may have; whether it be for profit, popularity or pussy. (Granted, the latter is often a product of the aforementioned)

But regardless of our intentions, no one can lay claim to the spirit of the art. I write this blog that no one will read because of a self-serving need to work out the kinks of my writing and training myself to write on a regimented schedule.

Leslie Feist, in all her 30+ years of life experience, has earned whatever status she has attained as a musician, whether it be the scorn of the self-fellating indie diehards who disdain her pop disposition, or the fleeting love of a mainstream public only able to identify her as the "1 2 3 4 girl."

Advertising is evil and corrupt and the reason for the destruction of all that is good and holy in the world, blah, blah, blah... Sure advertising is annoying and infiltrating all aspects of our lives. And yes, it's overpowering presence has had innumerable negative affects on the intellectual development of young people as society's become more commercialized through the years.

Yet all in all, at the end of the fucking day, it's there for a reason: because we want it. And by we, I don't mean those of us in the "intellectual, free-minded, bleeding-heart-liberal-fearful-of-a-idiot-filled-apocalypse" demographic. Nor do I mean the overly stereotyped "dumb-as-fuck-Larry-the-Cable-Guy-blowjob-giving-public" (I avoided a trailer park/white trash reference, just because it's become too predictable. And cause secretly I envy them.)

I'm talking about honest-to-goodness, normal, average, salt-of-the-Earth good people who don't have the time, patience or disposable income to worry about playing a balancing act on the spectrum of sociopolitical polarity. Their indifference doesn't make them bad; it makes them simple. (Which isn't bad, just in case you think my East Coast asshole self is trying to be ironic)

These people don't want to be challenged; they want familiarity. In our current state of political and social extremism, these middle-of-the-road-folk don't want stimulation, they want sedation.

Fuck "Arrested Development", give us "Two and Half Men." You bet NPR, I raise you Z-one-whatever-fucking Clear Channel affiliate will give me a morning zoo.

So don't blame artists, or so-called dumb people for not fulfilling your wish for a world of sanctified musicology. It's not their fault they don't know about anything before it makes the latest iPod or Old Navy commercial; they just don't know better. But you do.


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