Quick-Fix Vanity Machine

Ego is the new rock star

Things That Are Dead

1) The music album
Mp3’s, iTunes, Napster, ringtones, etc., etc. Have you heard? Recently an R&B group called Candy Hill has been signed to a two song deal. That’s right, they get to cut an entire single (with a B-side no less). Theoretically, if the two songs do well, then the band will get to renegotiate their contract and put out a full album. Not for nothing, but I can’t wait until every musical act signs contracts that only call for individual songs. Let’s be honest, most acts can only write two or three good songs. They then pad out the C.D. with ten mediocre to crappy cuts. I say, let’s restrict all musical artists to releasing only singles until they prove that they can be trusted to write an EP’s worth of music. And then, assuming that artist’s or act’s first 5 EP’s are “good” (to be decided by a consortium of average fans, hip critics [see number 4] and other, similar musical acts), a chance to record an entire LP’s worth of material.

2) Blogging
When radio was a new phenomena, the first programs on the airwaves were literally nothing more than people who were passing by the station (I’m fairly certain this was in Philadelphia) and were pulled off the street by the owner and put in the recording booth. The idea was to simply to fill air time so that early adopters (who were apparently easily impressed) would rave to all their friends about how buying that talking box wasn’t a waste of a money because, hey! Look at all the content there is. Never mind that the content was, from an artistic, aesthetic and entertainment standpoint, worthless. The point was that the purchase of a radio was justified by the fact that there was anything to listen to at all. That’s sort of how I view blogs today. As soon as it becomes reasonable to do so, some entrepreneur will find a way to make money off managing other peoples’ blogs and boom, the days where just anyone would feel entitled to have a blog will be over. Soon we’ll all pay for the privilege of reading blogs and we’ll only pay for the highest quality content.

3) Free Television
Do you know why broadcast television exists? It exists to draw your eyes and attention to corporate advertisements. Television shows are nothing more than commercials for advertisements. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, except that it seriously undercuts the entertainment potential of television programming. Since shows are designed to attract a maximum number of eyeballs towards commercials, the model they operate under forces shows to sacrifice quality and depth for mass appeal. Which isn’t to say that appealing to the lowest common denominator necessarily reduces the entertainment value of television, but come on. Don’t you think we can do better than Survivor: Race War?
Besides, aren’t you tired of having other people dictate how and when you enjoy a television show? We don’t let others tell us when to pick up and put down a book (with the exception of my 7th grade geography teacher, who took great pleasure from ripping novels out of my hand… like I ever needed to know about the three traditional Siberian dances that she read about in a dog-eared copy of National Geographic). Why do we allow commercials, programming strategies and (increasingly irrelevant) ‘seasons’ interrupt our content intake? Just because it allows television shows to be given away? I don’t know about you, but I would gladly pay to do away with all of those compromises if it meant that television might finally fulfill it’s potential.

4) Hip
It used to be that only a select few ever knew about the latest Cursive/Silver Scooter split single or where to find some obscure, Mexican horror film featuring a masked wrestler. Well, the internet has made the few the many. Anyone with even a passing interest in any formerly cult entertainer or media content can, in under 5 minutes, learn more than anyone would ever realistically need to know. What’s the point if keeping ahead of the kids if any snot-nose with a dsl line can one-up you? In a way this is liberating, I mean, the pressures off. If anyone can find the never-filmed script of Revenge of the Old Queen then what’s the point of finding it? Hip is all about knowledge scarcity and assuming you know how to do a simple Google search, then the internet has made all knowledge hyper-saturated. Of course, on the down side, what are white, virgin college kids going to do with their free time?

5) The Christian Right
Okay, this one isn’t dead yet but it might as well be. I mean, aside from leading the Republicans down an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole where fun is wrong and right is never right enough, there’s no where left to go. Let’s assume that Hell quite literally freezes over and, oh, I don’t know, Billy Graham’s angry son Frank becomes president, Ann Coulter become head justice of the Supreme Court and Pat Robertson assumes the position of Speaker of the House. So what? The worst that happens is that their collective bigotry and sex-phobia becomes law and national policy. Okay, life becomes far less fun (sorry gay people and other assorted heathens). But really, even if every person in this country (hell, let’s shoot the Moon and say in the world) were to become stark-raving fundamentalists, it wouldn’t solve our problems. Well, it might solve some of them but it would cause far more. Extremist positions never solve anything (I would say that Noam Chomsky is dead, but I would first need proof that he’s ever done anything that provided a sign of life first). And, honestly, anyone high enough in the fundy world to wield significant power knows this. They just use their extremism to jerk people around. For them, Jesus isn’t about solving problems, he’s about money and the consolidation of power in the hopes that, with money and power, these impotent (or not-so-secretly gay meth addict) men can remove from their neighborhoods all the things which make them, due to their unfortunately unhealthy minds, uncomfortable, like women and mosques.


March 28, 2007 - Posted by | Society


  1. I haven’t got much to say on your topics except the first one. How much will it suck to have the music world overrun with 2 song artists? Not hits. Songs. We’ll have surplus of random crap. I mean, aren’t we already to our crap limit?

    Here’s an idea for a story. Music industry starts selling 2 song contracts from vending machines. Some desperate aspiring singer kills somebody to get a contract. But that doesn’t make sense because they’re available from lit up boxes beside bathrooms in high end malls. And I’ve totally lost my point.

    But here’s a new one: The whole two-song contract idea is lame. Like luh-may. The metallic fabric. Which is crappy anyway, so it works. I need to just stop myself and go to bed.

    Comment by Carman | March 29, 2007 | Reply

  2. You can get television, commercial free, if you’re willing to pay. iTunes offers TV shows now (but iTunes is so incredibly godawful that Steve Jobs is against it), and more and more studios are stamping out DVDs these days of TV from those other days. You know the days I mean. Yeah.

    So what we need is purely DVD-based serial film entertainment. Think about it: Fox cancelled Undeclared, Wonderfalls, the Tick, and a half-dozen or so other decent shows. Now, if they had come out on DVD in the first place, they could still get cancelled, but they wouldn’t need to compete with each other for exactly the same time slot.

    Or you could get Showtime and TiVo. If that’s what you wanted to do. Slacker.

    Comment by James | March 29, 2007 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: