First “Official” Post (and a Jab at the Music Industry)

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I’ve covered bits and pieces of what we’ve been talking about in class already, but I’d like to make a few distinctions. In one of our readings, U.S. public media was made out to be some weak, sniveling, pathetic little outlet for freaks and weirdos, and it was made this way because of the lack of funding by the federal government. It’s true to some extent, but I think that the public fundraising that public media has to do in the U.S. actually has some very beneficial side effects, as well. The fact that nationally funded public media institutions abroad have better coverage and more programming than we do here, but there’s a sense of ownership that “pledging” gives its members, here. My teacher last year, Julie Shapiro, works at WBEZ (Chicago Public Radio) and told us about that very experience first-hand. Though it’s true that the pride/ownership that pledging members feel can amount to a tangible sense of smugness, most of us who do pledge are smug artsy-types anyway, so it goes largely unnoticed. Make no mistake– I desperately wish that public media got more funding and had better coverage. If they did, though, they might not have quite as many weird programs as they do now, many of which I love to death. Honestly, in the commercial marketplace, how long would A Prairie Home Companion last? As long as it survives the way it is now, I’ll be happy.

Something else that jumped out to me was the reading on “convergence media,” which was assigned for today. The notion of a picture flying across oceans for some other, totally disconnected and undesired purpose without the creator’s explicit consent was explored in my previous post, which happened to me, personally. If you haven’t read it already, click through or scroll down– it’s been a crazy international adventure.

Finally, I was listening to the first mash-up last night, and was reminded of an annoyance I encountered over winter break. I don’t generally listen to pop music, but whenever I go back to Detroit, I… I do. Sometimes I binge dangerously on it. I could pretend that I do it for cultural-studies reasons, but the truth is that I like it. As a treat. If I listened to it all the time… I don’t know what would happen. Bad things, no doubt. Anyway, I was home right around the time that Beyoncé’s two hits were all over the airwaves at the same time. Without going into the pros and cons of the songs themselves, I just couldn’t stand the content. What does Beyoncé have to complain about? She’s happily married to Jay-Z! Sure, she probably doesn’t write her own material, but still. I would like it so much more if she followed the popular trend of shamelessly promoting herself over everyone else, which has probably never been done more thoroughly than in this track. She doesn’t have anything to complain about– so why not rub it in everyone else’s face? I would.

The truth is, she performs songs for the Top-40 audience. They’re not married to Jay-Z, and the “strong woman” image sells better than “bratty woman who has everything,” though this TV show may suggest otherwise. I’m probably holding pop music to too high a standard, but I don’t like that she’s been turned into nothing more than a money-maker for the music industry. You do what you’re good at, I suppose.

Anyway, since we’re talking about her, the other two mash-ups tonight will feature Beyoncé. There’s a surprising number of them out there.

I particularly like the jazzy tune of this one, and I wish more of this would be in her future.

This last one goes back in time a little bit, but she was the lead singer for Destiny’s Child, so it still counts.

PS– I have a hard time limiting myself on tracks, and when this one cued up, I had to add it.

À bientôt.

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