February 2, 2007

Do All Giants Fall?

Recently, Coz and I had been showering you with our entries for a contest held by media reviewer extraordinaire Rolling Stone. One of the finalists for the concert line-up was a tribute to, as the entrant so eloquently put it, cock rock. The article was subpar, and though I admit that my submission should not necessarily have won, this has me thinking.

I could call Rolling Stone on being trapped in sensationalism and, to a point, Howard Stern-ism. Covers that were once graced by an artistic photo shoot of Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix now features Christina Aguilera (though I do have to admit that she has cleaned up her act in preparation for her latest release "Back To Basics") half-naked sprawled on an automobile.
If you watch I'm From Rolling Stone or read the magazine's recent articles, the quality of writing is just downhill. Obviously, this can't be blamed fully on the magazine; just as with Saturday Night Live, the quality of the work is fully based on the quality of the people currently working there, and the original guerilla reporters pass away with time, passing the mantle on to hands sometimes undeserving.

I could call Rolling Stone on this, but I am not going to. Yes, Rolling Stone is no longer worth its namesake and I am embarrassed to have wanted to model myself after them. However, I think some mention needs to be made to the culture at large. American media has become a mere play-doh counterpart of its former marble statue. There is something inherently misguided about a culture that will fund not one, but two Jackass movies, a culture where Paris Hilton - whose only claim to fame should be that she happens to be an heiress to the Hilton chain - releases a successful album and lands movie roles. Three 6 Mafia wins an Oscar. Not a Grammy, but an Academy Award. Three 6 Mafia is heralded in the tradition of Bruce Springsteen, The Little Mermaid's "Under The Sea", Bob Dylan, and Burt Bacharach. We get our culture from Family Guy and our satire from South Park. (Now don't be fooled; these two shows are incredibly intelligent in these fields. But to be able to accurately name them pinnacles of satire and culture says something.) We trust a somewhat crude though absolutely hilarious comedian more than we do our actual news programs.

The "best" new music out there is a pile of lamented teenagers who probably bathe in hair gel, bemoaning how horrible they have it and how they can never get affection from the opposite sex, all while dating someone like Paris Hilton or Drew Barrymore. If that's not it, it's a band painted in the least sympathetic light possible, sounding like a second-rate Nickelback and praising getting high and chasing your ex-girlfriend, and this album tops Bob Dylan. It's all well and good for classic acts to know when they've reached their prime (ahem, Mick Jagger), but what we have in their place is unpromising at best and downright depressing on average.

It's hard out here for an American music fan. At least there's the British Isles.

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