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Random Acts of Blogging – 12/3/09

By Brian | December 3, 2009 | Share on Facebook

So many blog-worthy things going on in the world all at once! So, some quick thoughts on several things:

Adam Lambert emerged from his #2 finish on American Idol as one of the most promising singing talents in years. At the American Music Awards, he decided to make his performance a social statement, rather than make it about the music. He’s since been cancelled by ABC from Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. And the shows that are letting him on suddenly want to talk about nothing else but the AMA’s. I’m disappointed. Not because I have a particular opinion about his “cause,” but because he’s allowed his cause to overshadow his music, which I was looking forward to enjoying. On the upside, I think maybe he’s realizing his mistake. Here’s what he told Ellen Degeneres:

It was maybe a little too far. I think in hindsight I look back on it and I go, “OK, maybe that wasn’t the best first impression to make again, the first second impression.” I mean, I had fun up there, I had a good time, my dancers had fun and the band had fun. I respect people and feel like people walked away from that feeling disrespected. I would never intend to disrespect anybody. So that was not my intention.

What he needs now is a musical “reset” – another spotlight moment, like the AMA’s, in which he knocks everyone’s socks off musically, and convinces people that music is his thing, not social commentary.

Tiger Woods released the following statement yesterday:

[N]o matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it’s difficult.

I wish every celebrity in the world would memorize these two paragraphs and recite them whenever some nosy reporter presumes to suggest that his/her private life is somehow my business.

Tiger had a car accident and knocked over a fire hydrant. He needs to explain that to the police, and hence, to the public. If someone were knocking over fire hydrants in my neighborhood, I’d want to know who, where and why. That’s a public safety issue and a law enforcement issue. However, if the answer to “Why?” is “domestic dispute” or “private matter,” then I have no need or desire to know more.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi are the latest in a series of Reality TV inspired stupidity. Years ago, people would do dumb things to get noticed, to be sure, but the result was rarely more than the standard fifteen minutes of fame. Today, with the institutional backing (and financing) of a Reality TV Show’s production company, exhibitionists like these have the capability of distracting the entire nation for fifteen days, not fifteen minutes. The Salahi’s, like the Balloon Boy family before them, only benefit from their actions if they get caught. And even though the news media knows this, they play right into the perpetrators’ hands, because they also know that it sells soap. My only hope is that the largely negative reaction to both the Salahi’s and the Heene’s dissuade Reality TV producers from pulling stunts like this in the future. Because the media is certainly not going to show any restraint.

HBO recently aired the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary Concert. Culling through two nights of music, they presented a “mere” four hours of musical genius, ranging from Stevie Wonder to Simon & Garfunkel to Aretha Franklin to Crosby, Stills & Nash to U2 to Metallica to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Add to that a truly amazing array of “guest stars,” such as James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Smokey Robinson, Sting, BB King, Bonnie Rait, and Billy Joel. As I watch these folks float on and off the Madison Square Garden stage, all I can think is, “These are the masters that today’s musical acts can only dream of approximating.” I’m not a fan of every musical style in the show, but the amount of raw musical talent on display is so far and away beyond the artists of today, that one wonders what the 50th Anniversary show could possibly have to offer. Maybe it’s just my age showing…

Topics: News and/or Media, Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging, Words about Music | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Random Acts of Blogging – 12/3/09”

  1. jason says at December 3rd, 2009 at 9:15 pm :
    …the amount of raw musical talent on display is so far and away beyond the artists of today, that one wonders what the 50th Anniversary show could possibly have to offer. Maybe it’s just my age showing…

    Granted, I’m the same age as you, but I’m inclined to agree. I think the problem is essentially the same issues I see in the movie industry, namely that there is no longer any respect for the history of the form, and the form itself has become a slickly produced but ultimately disposable commodity. The young artists by and large don’t seem to understand what came before, and moreover, they don’t care. They’ll remake an old movie or sample an old song, but they don’t genuinely grok the older work and know why it’s worthy of referencing. And the production technology has reached a point where they don’t have to be really creative, because anything can be fixed or realized during post-production. Special effects of both the audio and visual variety have become equations to be solved instead of problems you have to create your way out of, if that makes sense.

    And the suits running the two industries seem to be far more obsessed with their shareholders than with making good music and movies. Entertainment has always been a business, but IMO, there used to be a better balance of art and commerce than we see today.

  2. Janet says at December 3rd, 2009 at 11:30 pm :
    It’s like the bumper sticker I saw last summer:
    “I’m not too old, your music does suck.”

  3. jason says at December 4th, 2009 at 1:34 am :
    Hey, I like that, Janet! I’ll have to look around for one of those…

  4. Brian says at December 4th, 2009 at 12:31 pm :
    @Jason #1: Agreed. It’s like the difference between learning how to add and learning how to use a calculator. Both yield the same result, but the former gives you a much better feel for what you’re doing.

    I will quibble, just a bit, with your comment about shareholders and commerce. I think the suits were just as obsessed with their bottom lines back in Hollywood’s heyday as they are now (remember all the exclusive deals to tie movie stars to particular studios?).

    Difference is, it used to be that the way you made a lot of money was by producing good movies. Today, they’ve found ways to make movies popular without necessarily making them good. Once in a while, a movie comes along that’s good on its merits (e.g., Slumdog Millionaire) and it “surprises” everybody by killing at the box office and the awards shows.

    The signal is still there, I think, but there’s A LOT more noise…


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