Monday, October 29, 2012
This scares me.
I'm sure you've all heard that story about the Twilight fan insisting the Lord of the Rings movies were the original format, and I'm sure that you laughed, haha, Twilight fans can be such blockheads. But has something similar ever happened to you? I can say it has.
A few days ago I was in my local sub shop, minding my own business, waiting for my food, humming "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The Beatles are awesome, right?
Well this kid, couldn't be more than fifteen, she comes up to me and plants herself four inches from my face and says, "I'm sure you're having a great time with it, but it's bugging me. That song's supposed to be much slower."
It took me a bit, but I managed to choke out, "Not the original!" Then she said something that made me think, and even feel a little sad for kids if this is really how they think.
"I don't know what Helium-speed version you're listening to, but Kurt did the original." At this, I really did choke.
"Have you, poor thing, never heard of the Beatles?"
"Who are they?"
"Four guys from the UK, they were so popular so fast they called it Beatlemania, and let me tell you, I wish I could have seen it. News, televised concerts, screaming fans. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and John Lennon. They were amazing. There's one album cover that no one will forget. Four guys walking across Abbey Road, on that striped crosswalk..."
"Lady, I don't know HOW old you are but I never heard of no Beatles."
I admit it, I asked for help. I asked the guy at the next table, "Hey, you ever heard of the Beatles?!"
"Sure! I remember it like it was yesterday...they were sure somethin'."
"Now, could you tell me some of their most famous songs?"
"Sure! Hey Jude, Yesterday, I Want to Hold Your Hand...my wife and I got married and that was the second song."
She looked at me like I was crazy. Then she did something that I will never, ever, in my worst nightmares, want to believe.
She denied it.
"I don't know who you two are, but it's not nice to go around tellin' people about a band doesn't exist." And she walked out.
Is this what American pop culture is now? Is this what we're leaving behind? Five-week bands, songs about domestic violence, sex, guns, and money chanted by people who couldn't sing if you paid them? Songs needing six writers and four producers for sixteen words rearranged every which way? Kids who don't bother to look past the next big thing? The way things are going, Sinatra will be just another name. No one will remember the BeeGees. No one will have HEARD of the BeeGees. It'll be what crazy thing this person did and OMG! A teacup kitten I want one! and "Did you hear what happened to [Name]?" No one will recognise good music. No one will know any better! Already we have rabid fans who DON'T RECOGNISE OPINION! I almost had someone ATTACK me once because I said that, a few years back, the Jonas Brothers "aren't my thing". Not, "I hate the Jonas Brothers with a passion and hate their fans too!", just, "Meh. They're really not my thing, but go ahead and listen if you want." I got SCRATCHES down my ARMS for DARING to say that I, personally, didn't like this band but it's great you like them, opinions rock. I now am SCARED to say ANYTHING to a Justin Bieber fan because even the worst Jonas Brothers fans had NOTHING on the rabid intensity of the vast majority of Bieber fans I have come into contact with.
This isn't what we want to leave behind! This isn't what pop culture should be! Why has this happened? Pop culture shouldn't be about rabid fans and denial of things that you didn't know before. It should be about things that are great, things that are popular and going somewhere and.... Not dresses made of meat and what this rich girl bought for six hundred million, or this newest rap song with swearing and allusions to domestic violence and drug money... Not what the music industry puts in front of our faces, not what the RIAA shoves at us until we're so used to it we just accept that whatever they say is good is amazing and awesome.
It's time to try making opinions, instead of buying them.