09 June 2010

Shock & Awe (but not really)

I was driving around the other day, listening to NPR, and really trying to pay attention to different advertisements, billboards & signs. I'm in graphic design now, and I was just trying to soak up ideas. In the process, I noticed something: our music performers (note I don't use the term musicians), are just trying to out-shock each other. The story on the radio was related to how our many manufactured pop stars are giving up actual talent to display their...assets. And maybe, just maybe, after almost 2 decades of this kitsch, this methodology is beginning to falter.

I always thought I was a liberal person. But now that I am raising a very impressionable 10-year old, I'm realizing how much garbage is shoved down our throats 24/7. Turns out, at the end of the day I am pretty conservative. When I was growing up, I loved music (still do, for the record), but it was about the music. Madonna was just on the scene and she was scandalous. The Cure was edgy and dark. I remember when Ozzy did his bat biting. But it was kind of a take-it-or-leave-it deal. If that was your bag, great. If not, great. I never felt inundated by it. You had to go out and find the perverse. Not anymore.

Fast forward to adulthood. Now, I can't launch a web page or turn on the radio or TV without hearing about performers stripping to near nothing, simulated sex on stage, fake blood-soaked outfits, perversions just "because," and just all-out assault on every sense not involved with that of hearing. It seems that each performer is trying to out-do the previous one. If X was shocking, Y can be shocking times 2, and so on.

Music is no longer the focus of performers. Its all about titillation. Mainstream performers (and the people our kids tend to look up to) are there shock us into buying their music, both literally and metaphorically. And I'm tired of it. All shock, no awe. Mostly, just a big yawn. This doesn't mean there is no good music. There are great musicians and bands out there. Really and truly, there is fabulous and innovative music if you're willing to look for it. But good music doesn't need naked ass to make it sell.

And I wonder, does this say about us, our societies? Music is such a powerful device. And instead of sharing thoughts, ideas, genius, The Man is all about sharing cleavage. One of my niece's friends actually said she hoped she grew up to be a "sexy stripper." She said she heard it on the radio and it sounds like fun and a good way to make money. She thought this was a perfectly acceptable goal. Really? Is this the legacy we're handing our kids? Forget about Global Warming. I'm worried about kids' self image as portrayed by today's "stars."

So count me out when it comes to the latest super star. I'm not fascinated by breast tassels, crotch shots, falling down drunkenness, the "surprise" lesbian kiss, pole dancing or other outrageous antics. I don't want my kid to see that. Not now. I'm not being prudish- just allowing my child to have a childhood. Crazy? Unconventional? Maybe, but I'm sticking to it. No shock for us. As for the awe, we'll have to look a little harder for it in some other form. Even if it takes a little bit of effort, I'll keep my ear to the ground for the good stuff, legitimate musicians. And I'll let their music, talent, awe me.

1 comment:

  1. I second the motion! I am sick and tired of all the trash and smut on every corner and every channel. And if it's not from the media, it's from school or friends or cousins. It turns me into mother bear. Quit telling my six year old to get skinnier so she can be called sexy!!! She's six, you premature womanizer!