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Music Savaged By The Average Beast






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for February 11, 2004


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Law of the Landed
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

I
 
At the corner of Suydam Street and Joyce Kilmer Avenue in New Brunswick, New jersey stands a two-story brick structure that was recently emptied of tenants for renovation. Months passed. Stucco was applied. One morning, Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love observed the fire department tending to the remains of a fire on the second floor. Renovations continued for several more months until one day in December the fire department was back; this time the roof had caved in, the beams were charred and what was left of the structure was apparently in ruins. Rumor had it the owner was installing an industrial kitchen and neighbors, also restaurateurs in a neighborhood full of small restaurants, took vehement and active exception.
 
II
 
A friend of Altrok's reports a conversation with her personal trainer, a gentleman of taste, discretion and bulging biceps, who recounted a by now fourth-hand story from one of his clients about some very naughty behavior:
 
"A hairdresser client of his was asked to mix a batch of hair dye for someone's recently deceased mother so that her hair could be freshly done for the viewing. So far creepy, but not all that unusual, right? Well it turns out that this woman's mother didn't actually dye her hair while she was alive, the woman just wants it done because the viewing is in her home and she wants mom's hair to match the champagne-beige wallpaper.
 
"No, really."
 
III
 
Watching the selfish get what they want, no matter how unreasonable that demand, has become an unpleasant indoor/outdoor sport. It's positively galling to watch CBS make Justin Timberlake grovel before America in order to receive his Grammy Award, no matter whether one feels he deserved the statue or a good beating. The RIAA sues children and computer-illiterate grannies and practices S.W.A.T. team tactics on street music vendors, though nobody shouts about how these constitute loathsome if not criminal acts. Had Janet Jackson not flashed us, the twenty-four hour news networks might still be broadcasting a continuous feed of Howard Dean's audition yodel for big-time wrestling - which was never news, except to the startled sound tech. Who benefited from the hoopla? The news networks. Possibly other candidates. Certainly not us.
 
The Grammys provided one such example of unchecked selfishness. Sunday's speech by some Grand Poobah of the music's Evil Empire segued into the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences' new anti-piracy commercial, which left such a sour taste in Your Peppermint Twist's mouth she considered calling up dozens of friends and asking each one to burn a CD. Of what? Who cares, just something mainstream that would never, ever get played - because who listens to that dreck anyhow? - but that she didn't pay to possess. Why? Because the academy is so full of itself it has forgotten who it serves, who it's talking to and behaves like a drunken frat boy at an unchaperoned teenage slumber party.
 
It's tempting to try striking back. As any soap opera or pro sports fan knows, nothing is more exciting than the lascivious antics of a smooth bad girl or the slick tricks of a bad, bad boy. Obviously, the exciting and badly behaved get what they want. Maybe if we were to all call on friends to burn us copies of - forgive us - hot CDs we'd exact our own revenge. Sadly, this stab at making common sense a little more common wouldn't succeed. We know something the academy and RIAA don't, no matter how many times we say it or how loudly: we could steal stuff until the Cowsills come home and it wouldn't hurt these whiny bullies. It might clutter CD racks and besmirch karma, but it wouldn't harm the villains.
 
It might, however, hurt them if we selfishly demand music quits sucking. How about we try that?
 

©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.

 







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