Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thank you, Rolling Stone Magazine

Hiltons, Kardashians and Tsarnaev, OH MY!

 ”Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS” Rolling Stone Magazine, July 17, 2013

And with this statement, Rolling Stone Magazine defended its decision to put Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of their popular magazine. The cover. Who are they trying to kid? Maybe they do have a “long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day” but what it is that they are most known for across say, 98% of their reader base? The cover. Any artist or band would kill for a chance to grace the cover of what is considered the premiere MUSIC magazine across the globe. After this issue, that might be what is needed to get them there.

 The article may, in fact be exactly what they have touted, “an examination of the complexities of this issue” to “gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”. The article may be Pulitzer-worthy. However many people, myself included, will never know because we will never read it. The decision to put his picture on the cover – the prime piece of real estate in the world of the rich and famous – gives him the validation and attention any potential serial killer or mass murderer (or terrorist) craves. I cannot support that. I will not purchase the magazine, nor will I read the article. Rolling Stone has to know the impact they themselves have cultivated regarding the status and notoriety gained from that coveted cover spot, as well as the associated responsibility.

 So what’s next? I can see it now: MTV will film an episode of “Cribs” from his jail cell, the camera panning his private single-occupancy suite (since we must be concerned about his safety, and not release him to the general public), finally closing with a shot of the framed portrait of his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone. 

As a society, we have been complaining about the fact that our most famous celebrities are the people who have gained their fame not by doing anything worthwhile or valuable, but instead because of money they have been born into or insanely foolish and morally depraved acts, or just the entertainment value they provide by making themselves look stupid (along with the occasional sex tape). Paris Hilton? Any one of the Kardashians? Honey Boo Boo? Those Jersey… Shores people?

Collectively WE are responsible for giving these characters a validation that, according to my 8-year-old daughter, should go to “the police officers who catch the bad guys”. We watch reality television. We buy magazines and watch entertainment news shows that celebrate their lives, their affairs, their melt-downs and such. We buy products with their names on them. If we chose not to feed into and support the lives of the notorious, we may never have reached a point where anyone would think that putting a Facebook-profile-worthy picture of an alleged terrorist on the cover of an internationally recognized (and generally presumed) music magazine was a good idea. The fault and blame is collectively ours. We allowed things to get this far. 

There is one good thing that can come of this: because Rolling Stone is such a high-profile media venue, they have essentially held up a mirror to the mass collective and forced us to look at ourselves and what we have become. If we can make the decision (and follow through with it) to celebrate the lives and stories and situations that build up and enhance the betterment of society instead of relishing the fools, maybe we can begin to affect the general quality and tone of our lives by putting our focus and money on the people who go out of their way to enhance our world and consciousness.

Another viewpoint, posted by my friend Martin Smith:

What irony, people are upset with Rolling Stone magazine, and rightfully so for their distaste in choosing a controversial and insulting picture for the cover in the most recent issue. People are extremely upset and I agree with them. Yet when the major news media companies do nothing but talk/report on a alleged murder case that has promoted destruction, violence, and escalated racial tensions across the country (I say alleged murder due to the jury finding him not guilty, I do not contest that a man killed another man) people just want their voices heard and "justice to be served". Does no one realize that, you, the general public is quick to react/show support for banning a controversial topic, yet someone turns a death into a race issue and the country goes to hell?

Both of these issues NEED to be left to the court system, and out of the news, to decide the fate. We as citizens of this (great) country elected these (moronic) officials to write our laws and enforce them. You have a problem with the way things are run stop voting for unqualified idiots. Where is the justice for OUR fellow citizens that were murdered in cold blood in Bengahzi? What about the outrage over politicians having more time off and assorted benefits then the general populace? You want change, want to fix these issues, pay better attention to who you vote for. Look back in history, when this country was founded, it was an honor to be an elected official, now it is just a good business deal. People want to talk equal rights, lets talk equal rights. Why does a child of a congressman/woman go to college for free? How many of us are looking forward to paying our student loans off for the next 10 years at an interest rate that will only cripple our ability to live prosperously, and some get it all for free? Where is the outrage for that?


Thursday, July 11, 2013

MOOD MUSIC: "Ping Me" - Todd Rundgren

"Just let me know that I have crossed your mind"

I have to say that first of all I am surprised my first song in this category was not a Tears for Fears song, but it’s OK; there will be many.  Besides, I am a creature of whim, and this is where my head is at the moment.

In a previous blog I mentioned a fantasy of mine about being at a concert with someone special and feeling the music together (Leave it to Good Music to Put Us Together, Pt. 2) This song is one of those songs, a “wash over me” kind of song (yes, I have nicknames for all the nuances of all the feelings I get), the kind of song I can lay in a dark room and just listen to and feel it…wash over me (she adds lamely).  The kind of music I like to feel loudly (like you would standing next to the speakers); I can feel strong arms wrapped around me from behind.  Comfort…and a little more.  Yes, sexy.

It’s kind of funny to me how much comfort I get from the music, when the lyrics are actually downright lonely.  Actually, I’m not sure I’m satisfied with that word lonely.  In this song, the being alone is a choice.  The voice is asking for simple acknowledgment from someone he cares for from a distance. A distance he chose.  It is here that the lyrics hit home with me, right now in my current situation.  I get it. And I get that it’s totally selfish.  “I know it isn’t fair to ask for something that I may not return” and then “sometimes I get so absent-minded, I come off unconcerned” -- that last part of the line is ME.  And, again, I acknowledge the selfish part.

We all go through our phases and stages in life.  The lyrics in this song fit me perfectly.  I’m alone, but not lonely.  One can be alone and still want company or even just some acknowledgment once in a while, but still be happy being alone. To me, loneliness is a constant state where one is always wanting that company and acknowledgment.

“a little sustenance is all I need
a small reminder that you think of me”

I think that says it perfectly.  And I like the use of the word “Ping”—like the computer ping test that tests the presence of an active connection—as in a noncommittal acknowledgment.  I think that is clever.

I still find this whole song comforting, overall.  As much as I usually really love lyrics (and his simple lines say my thoughts perfectly), with this song I believe it’s the music itself that I feel first.  Or maybe…maybe I find validation and acceptance of my own point of view right now (which, obviously, I am questioning in terms of selfishness), and yes, acknowledgment.

Wow…I got deep there.

I’ll try not to do that too much with the next songs I discuss.  I’ll try to write about one of my angry songs next; there are less hairs to split with those. Duh.

Mood/Tone:  Isolating/Comforting
Music Therapy Recommendation:  Lay down with your eyes closed in a dark room and play this loudly (or follow my fantasy).

LYRICS: “Ping Me” – Todd Rundgren

I know it isn’t fair to ask for something
that I may not return
sometimes I get so absent-minded
I come off unconcerned
I guess it’s true I may have volunteered
I never dreamed that I would end up here
I wouldn’t want to take up any time
just let me know that I have crossed your mind

And ping me
You don’t have to ring me
There’s no gift you need to bring me
No song that you should sing me
Just ping me

When so much time has passed you’ll wonder
are things really the same
and if my expectations are a burden
then I will take the blame
it doesn’t bother me to be alone
I’ve gotten used to being on my own
a little sustenance is all I need
a small reminder that you think of me

So ping me
You don’t have to ring me
There’s no gift you need to bring me
Not a song you that you should sing me
Just ping me

I thought I’d never have a friend like you
someone who loves no matter what I do
I hope you know I feel the same way to
And I will be there if your need is true
But I have always been a solitary man
I try to change but find I never can
So please forgive
my distance silence is my friend
you’re in my heart until the very end

Just ping me
You know you don’t have to ring me
There’s no gift you need to bring me
There’s no song you need to sing me
Just ping me

Ping Me - State

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mood Music – The Whys and Wherefores

I've mentioned before a few of the different playlists I have and the different categories I sort my music into.  We all have certain songs that strike the right chords within each of us, whether musically or lyrically, or both.  I have a number of them that hit me both ways like that.  I call them my “pure” songs, their purity lying in what I consider the perfection of lyrical and musical combination—to ME.  I’d been meaning to write about them, but found myself having a hard time.  First of all, if I consider the song to be perfect, how in the hell could I write about it?  WHY would I write about it? Why not just put up a link to the song with the lyrics and let you see for yourself?  I guess the answer to all those questions comes down to the fact that I’m aware we are all different and have different tastes, and I’m afraid you may miss what I see in each song unless I show you.  I've said before that when I share a song, it’s because either the song says to you what I want to say to you or I want to share with you what that song does for me.

So I put together a list of my “pure” songs, or my ‘standouts’, and started making comments next to each song.  Then I realized I couldn't do any of the songs justice in a few words. Also, too, the range of moods/feelings covered in the group of songs was so varied that I felt that I could never get my meaning across having them all lumped together like that, so they would have to be discussed individually.  Then I ran into the REAL problem: If I came across a “perfect” line or beat, how could I describe it? 

I shelved the idea for a while, but each time I heard one of my special songs, I felt the need to share it, to share the comfort or whatever I got from it. To share what it was about the song that resonates with me, hoping that you will be able to feel it, too. 

All this means is that now there is yet another category here in this blog that I will call “Mood Music”. 

“--Each song part of a compilation from K-Tel Records As Seen On TV for $19.99! Each month you will receive a new collection to fit every mood!”

No. Not really! (But you never know!)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Both Feet

She made a choice
She decided to jump in
all in
with both feet
but nobody seemed to care that she jumped
and the water was colder than she expected
she made her way to the edge
exuberance waning
as she climbed the ladder to get out
she took one last look at the pool
still seeing how nice it could have been
then lifted herself out out
wishing she’d just toe’d in