Friday, August 20, 2010

Find Your Song

I kind of spaced about it being Friday until just now, so once again, no revision of the Atheist post. By the end of August, this is my commitment. Since I had so few suggestions, I have blank weeks to spare. Fortunately, I have just the thing on hand to fill this blank at short notice. This was originally written for a different audience, so forgive me if the tone is a bit different than my usual.

I disapprove of the corporate capitalist framework that has become the foundation of music in the US, and probably most of the developed world. Don't get me wrong, in theory I have nothing against capitalism, and I definitely have nothing against artists being able to make some money off their works. But how could you like any institution that spawned the RIAA (insert appropriate gang of thuggish goons for your nation)? On a related note, we have them, in part, to thank for all sorts of ridiculous legislation, including our moronic and anti-capitalist copyright laws.

That said, my biggest beef with the consumer driven music market is that it robs the rest of us of our songs. Perhaps you are familiar with the video showing how a pretty-but-average girl is made up, staged, and photo shopped until a "glamorous" billboard picture is ready. To some extent this is what the recording industry does, using excellent acoustics and sound editing they take musicians who, I must admit, are talented in their own right (usually), and set them, Adonis like, on marble pillars. Just as the model's photo might look pretty, but serves to undercut our security in our own self image, these polished products too often silence our songs.

I love to sing. I joined my first choir in seventh grade (I think) and by the time I graduated high school I was a member of three community choirs (school choir does not count, because it was a joke). But, as those who listened to my songs earlier can attest, I am nothing spectacular vocally. Does this matter to me? A little, especially when I sing alone in public. Does this silence my song? No. However, too many people are hesitant to break out in song as they judge their talent to be lacking.

Not having been alive in the 1800's, I cannot say this is accurate. But culture has instilled the image of a family or neighborhood gathered around the fire. Some among them hoist fiddles or beat drums, and all join in song, singing a familiar folk tune. We have outsourced our song, and, from lack of practice, lost our own voices. So, while I do hope you dance (really, it is fun), I also hope you sing (notice how the song leaves that bit out, job security eh?).


Frank said...

We live in a world where what is promoted is style over substance. I genuinely hope that this is the minority and just have to believe that the majority of people do their jobs and live their lives without having to be noticed every 10 seconds. Still, it's these style over substance people that the media loves to promote - it really pisses me off that I actually know the name of Kim Kardashian. I have absolutely no idea who she is or what she does, but her name is constantly before me - and for some reason totally beyond me, the regular rabble loves to stay in tune with, and so we will continue to see them and read about them.

Kenny said...

I have heard of the Kardashians because they were mentioned in passing on a TV show, I think that is an acceptable amount of knowledge of them. I am inclined to agree about the importance our society places on style, and I think it can, at least in part, be attributed to how we interact with our world. Much of our interaction is done on the surface level, be it with work "friends" (acquaintances), ads and television shows, or the three minutes we are willing to pay attention to a news story. If your interactions are surface deep, there is going to be much more scrutiny of your style than your substance.