Monday, February 12, 2007

Gramophone Filled With Dog Shit

Tonight, the music industry got together (meaning everyone from one of four companies) and gave out awards that used to have meaning. That's right, it's Grammy time! It's sort of like the Oscars or the Emmys, except it has even less credibility than the Golden Globes (they've only given Madonna one award).

It is shocking that at one point those awards actually held some sort of merit, as if winning them could solidify one's career. I think I blame Santana. He wins a baker's dozen and it was shocking. "My god, he came back from 30 years of playing shit only stoners would listen to, makes a song with that Matchbox 20 douchebag, and all of a sudden he can fill his swimming pool with golden awards!" Ever since there's always someone or some group walking out with more gold than you can put on a plane. Now, every year, someone has to have way too many awards to hold and they giggle and everyone takes pictures of this jackass and you have tomorrow's headlines: "HASBEEN/DEAD GUY/WHO? WINS TONS O’ AWARDS. I GUESS WE SHOULD CARE."

In example, how long has Ray Charles been making albums for? Decades upon decades. Can anyone think of anything remarkable to come from him out of the last twenty or so years? Other than the Pepsi song, I don't think the greater populace knew he was alive. So towards the end of his life, he makes a cd of duets with various “stars” (like Norah Jones, a 5-time Grammy winner, who is still a nobody), has Jamie Foxx play him in a movie, croaks, and then wins 80 Grammys that year. If he didn't die, if that movie didn't come out, and if the nation wasn't baffled by a blind man being addicted to heroin ("I couldn't find the vein WITH vision!") he wouldn't have won dick. The cd would have come out, sold in Starbucks across the nation, and done nothing.

This year, the day that the nominations were given out I knew who was going to win: the courageous Dixie Chicks. These uppity broads said some borderline mean shit about George Bush and are riding that train for as long as it can go. Stupid liberal cock fucks stand and admire. "My god," they think, "these are some educated southerners who have seen the liberal, blue-state light, and put down Evil George W. Bush. They are heroes of free speech!"

Those fucking bitches could have shit on a plate, passed it out as a pâté to guests, have them revolt and vomit, tape the whole fucking thing, and still would win best record, song, and ALBUM of the year. What? What? Who does that? Who gets all three? What the fuck?! The song, entitled "Not Ready To Make Nice," really shows that they are going to rebel, maaaaan! They're going to take on whoever they want to, maaaaan! They're not a country band anymore, cause they're ABOVE that maaaaan! There are worse words I want to use here, but my mother reads this, so I'll be polite. They are vaginas to the utmost.

Lifted from the AP: "That's interesting," Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines crowed from the podium after winning the country award. "Well, to quote the great 'Simpsons' _ 'Heh-Heh.'

"Just kidding," added Maines. "A lot of people just turned their TVs off right now. I'm very sorry for that."

Don't worry stupid, no one was watching anyway. You're in a pretty bad place when you're trying to rip off the Video Music Awards, which is such utter crap it should be used against terrorists in interrogations. They'd easily give up the minute they hear one of those 18-word-long Panic! songs. What the hell is up with that, anyway? Why must they have such long titles? Does this make them more important, deep, introspective?

As Maines accepted the album of the year, she joked: "I'm ready to make nice!" She then added: "I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message."

This cutesy bitch should be hit with a fucking shovel. Holy fuck. You aren't cute, you aren't a proponent for free speech. Let's see what you got out of burning bridges in the south: a movie, kept the mainstream audience you've had before hand, added bed wetters, and got five Grammies. Tough. Wow. The nation wept for you. I'M GONNA MAKE NICE NOW LOL GUYS NO REALLY I'M NOT BUT THANKS. People are using their freedom of sp BITCH IT'S ABOUT MUSIC!

Well, actually, no, she's right. If it were about music and not politics (heaven forbid at a MUSIC awards show), then Gnarls Barkley wouldn't get the shaft for anything but Alternative (what does that even fucking mean?) and Urban (the classy term for "black music that isn't rap, we guess"). At the very least, the very good Stadium Arcadium from the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have gotten a nod. But no. No, that's not possible, because we shouldn't award one of the most original, unclassifiable (well, other than Alternative) albums of the last ten years. The only time the Grammys caved was when they gave best album to Outkast for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and they ended up looking like assholes cause it came across as, "LOOK! HISTORY! WE GAVE THE NEGROS AWARDS!"

I don’t even know why I’m so angry. I only watched the show for roughly 15 seconds, just enough time to see The Roots lose to Ludacrus for Best Rap Album. Luda also beat Pharrell...who apparently put out a rap cd. I'm just so befuddled I don't know what to do with myself. Before you ask, no, I didn't watch the Police open the show. If I wanted to see old people scrounging for their check to pay the rent I'd go to my local grocery store. At least they won't pretend that they hate everyone around them.

The best irony for this shitfest is the award itself: the ornate, golden Gramophone. Once essential to playing and enjoying music, it is now nothing more than a relic, a kitsch item for the older set who use it not to listen to Benny Goodman, but to look at and think of days past. It harkens back to the good old days--as they are always better when they are now out of reach--when things were different, when things were great, when things meant something. But now, that Gramophone is worthless, a relic, a piece of history that is best left there: in the past. How appropriate.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Alert Status Red

Throughout time, there have always been odd coincidences. On the bigger scale, you have David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing "Little Drummer Boy," or the British and French working together for the first time in the Crimean War. Of course, there are smaller odd combinations, such as taking the wrong drink at Starbucks (sorry confused-looking Asian girl, but don't fret - your drink sucked, so you’re welcome whilst you enjoy my café mocha) or reading Hunter S. Thompson at the School of Theology's library. I have propped myself in here with the haggard looking friends of Jesus to do some work, but I can't not discuss what happened in Boston yesterday. It seems as if some great satirist put his work into action and everyone is taking it like it's Death of a Salesman.

If you are not aware, there was a terrible bomb scare all over Boston, spilling into Somerville, and getting as close to me as the BU Bridge. I guess I would have been scared if I didn't hear of the bomb threats until around 4 PM, when the truth started to come out. I just got the tail end of, "the devices, these...hoax devices, seem to have a similar characteristic that...seems to show that they are of the some unified front." What was that image?

To say that I almost shit my pants when that came on my tv would be an understatement. It's simply a Mooninite, a Space Invader-esque character from the College cult show on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] programming block, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The heavy irony here is that they are invading Earth from the Moon to take our planet over. “Cartoon terrorists take their mission off the screen an into reality…more at 11.”

I watched in gleeful joy as the local news stations had such "breaking news" as the "hoax devices" are from a show called "Aqua Team Hunger Forces," pulling production assistants from the booth to try and explain what's going on. The young chap called it "guerilla marketing," while the anchor goes "guerilla...indeed," before using his Stern Face and staring down the barrel of the camera.

Every bit of this coverage is humiliating. The constant repeating clip of the Boston bomb squad water cannoning the "explosive." Helicopter shots of a panicked Boston, hiding in fear from glorified Lite-Brites. Mayor Menino threatening "whoever did this" (did what?) with two to five years in prison. The anchors having to swing twenty minutes of tv time out of a toy. It was surreal.

This campaign has been going on with no problem in other, larger cities without the sense of inherent panic. When someone thinks of terrorism, doesn't Boston fall somewhere below Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, who had no problem with this advertising? What really shocked me was all of the bluster being thrown about by the officials of Boston and Massachussets. The use of a term like "hoax devices" certainly makes it seem as if this was the desired outcome of the marketing. "Let's totally think people are doing to die! Awesome! That’ll get our name out there!”

We have ventured onto a weird cross section of generational gaps and national security. Most people here at BU would probably consider this to be laughable. Here we are, so stricken by fear that we immediately panic when cartoon characters are being lit at night in various points all over Boston. "But Manton," you say, "they placed these 'devices' all over heavily populated areas of Boston including interstate overpasses and T stations!" Yes - it's an advertisement. Where do you want them placed, back alleys, trashcans, the fucking desert (ie the Garden during a Celts game).

Two people have been arrested for putting the terror devices up all over town. You can view the amazing interview on YouTube, where they discuss the history of various hair styles and their origins instead of fielding “proper” questions. One reporter quips "are they going to take this seriously?" Why should they? Why are you? So these guys might get martyred because of an easy-to-assume media who get their viewer ship by terrifying the public blew up (pardon the pun) a mix-up?

Who can you blame in this situation? Clearly someone will have to be to blame, and it looks like it will be these two schleps and Time Warner, who owns Cartoon Network, the show, and therefore the ad campaign. They had a wonderful statement that explained their sorrow that the advertising pieces could be mistaken for bombs. They did not apologize for putting them up, but simply that they were mistaken for combustibles.

This is an embarrassment, and new governor Deval Patrick doesn't like having the egg on his face. They have already published how much money Boston had to spend yesterday, so Time Warner will foot that bill. The over dramatization is in full effect; people were "fearful" and given a grave disservice from not being allowed on roads and public transportation. The media will drop buzzwords and phrases like "hoax" and " a post-9/11 world" while flashing NEWS ALERTS that transpire to nothing.

This is the culture we live in, folks. Dominated by fear and insulated from the dangers of light-up cartoon characters who happen to "give the finger." Every article or piece of news condemned the wrong people. The only people to blame are those who overreacted. Put a twenty-year-old kid with the cops and the entire problem is diffused immediately. Send out one bomb squad, figure out what it is, go around town and take down the rest if permits weren't officially offered. Slap on the wrist, we all go home.

No, instead, we have a big hairy mess from people overreacting who place no blame on themselves. In fact, it's the opposite. Good job Boston for responding so well to a terrorist situation! Could have used the help a couple of years ago. But now we can sleep easy as every neon light bulb and walk/don't walk sign is taken from the city, keeping us safe and snug and secure. I blame light bulbs. If we can't plug in lights to advertise things, then, well, Edison-ists win.

God Bless America!