A few months ago I’m at a dinner party, when afterwards I got to try out Guitar Hero World Tour. Naturally, as a real musician, I tried my best to be snobby while completely tanking on the game. After embarrassing myself on Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” and Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker”, one of the youngsters tried to get us to play some song no one knew with male singing best described as whiny. It turns out this was a feature and not a bug:
As the reviewer notes, “For every ‘Living on a Prayer’ or ‘Band on the Run’ there are two shitty emo rock warblers that no one has ever heard of.” I was going to tell you which song it was, but from looking at the songlist, picking it out would be like picking out gnat poop from pepper. We’ll call that What’s Wrong With the World Exhibit A.
Which brings me to the prostitutes. I have recently started delivering newspapers for some extra bread for the family. Meaning I get up at O’Dark-thirty and drive through the…ahem…colorful part of town. Eventually I get to the revitalized part of downtown where the white people go to bars and pretend they are slumming. In the 80′s I used to live in Washington D.C. and had made several trips to NYC. It was easy to pick out the streetwalkers. Now everyone dresses the same and just like the shitty emo rock warbler, I couldn’t pick out the prostitute from the average bar patron in my small city in a somewhat conservative state. Exhibit B.
So on my route I pull into the convenience store for some orange juice and those awesome cheese-cake things with the cinnamon on top. Guess what is blaring over the speakers at 2:00 AM? Yep. Some shitty emo rock warbler. At the counter is a grey-haired black man. “You don’t get to pick the music, do you?”, I ask as a friendly joke. He laughed and said no and emphasized the point to let me know he wouldn’t pick such music even at gunpoint. So I ask, “How about the thermostat? Are you allowed to adjust it?” (I’m in an investigative mood apparently) “No.” he said. “I can turn it off or on, but that’s it.” Radio and thermostat dictators. Exhibits C and D.
While delivering the newspapers, I sometimes accidently read some of it, sense some parts of my brain falling out, and stop reading. Just like when on the route and the radio is on scan and it stops on NPR and I scream, “Scan faster!” I notice many subscriptions on my route stopping and a paper that gets thinner and thinner. Then I read James Bowman asking, “Hm, I wonder if the tedium of opening one’s morning paper to see the umpteenth story about the plight of the morning paper could have anything to do with that fall-off in readership?” He quotes a journalist bemoaning that anti-death-penalty advocacy will be more difficult without print media. Bowman lays it out:
In other words, the partisan effectiveness of the newspapers in working for the abolition of capital punishment is diminished by their loss of profitability as news sources, as if this were self-evidently a bad thing. Mr Arango admits that “Some news organizations are reluctant to join the effort out of fear of blurring the line between advocate and objective collector of the news,” but he makes this sound like a quaint scruple from a vanished age to the vast majority of our ever more enthusiastic media advocates. He quotes Maurice Possley, formerly of the Chicago Tribune, as saying that “I think the more you link up” — that is journalists and advocacy groups like the Innocence Project, a group of lawyers against the death penalty — “people will think you have a bias or an agenda,”
Golly! Is it possible? You get from passages like this a sense that it never occurs to these writers and activists that someone who doesn’t agree with them could possibly be reading their words.
Ok. That’s not a musical example, but emo is more than just music, and media whining about their self-inflicted demise counts, so Exhibit E.
So it’s Memorial day and I’m having lunch with the Guitar-World-shitty-emo-rock-warbler picker and her sister. She wants to study public policy at Berkeley, CA. Exhibit F. It’s the emo stupid!