The steep decline of originality in all forms of American art (particularly music)


I contest, often and loudly (most generally drunkenly), that the downfall of American music can be attributed to one, and only one, culprit: ‘American (bleeping) Idol’. Oh, how I hate that show and all that it represents, in a country where people are married on television, for ratings and others fight it out, to survive on a deserted island (where they somehow manage to be shampooed and maintained physically, despite a glaring lack of make-up). We’ve lost a great deal of integrity, these days. I say ‘these days’, which is funny, considering that I’m just another twenty-something. I won’t say how something; suffice it to say that these days are the only ones I really know well enough to talk about. The eighties are a melting pot of memories and John Hughes movies (no wonder, I view them with such nostalgia). And I spent the latter half of the nineties, too stoned to know my conscious from my semi-conscious state. Nonetheless, I feel like we represented something much less superficial, such a short time ago. As a whole, I mean, humanity cared a hell of a lot more about each other and a hell of a lot less, about the color (or lack of) a teenage (not so) star’s underwear.

Call me crazy, but we used to stand for something a good deal more respectable than the latest viral video and whatever retarded antics they’ve unfortunately popularized, however sad that may be for our remaining brain cells, who jumped ship at the sight of this particular visage. I feel like ‘American Idol’, with its parade of generic, soulless wads of bubble gum trash, is just the final stage of some sad, disturbing state that precedes total and utter apathy. Does anyone stop to think about this stuff? To realize that this country was formed in/of/about anything but apathy? Did we stop listening to the words coming out of their mouths, or the way they can only carry a certain tune? That this is the same bleach blond vapid waste of breath we saw, last year? Or, am I the only one? Considering its popularity, I’m forced into this conclusion.

It’s like an awful cliché of high school…God forbid, one should strive to stand out. Oh, no. That’s too much effort. I just wanna roll along and chew my cud, and say what’s okay to say, and do what they tell me to do. J.D. Salinger was probably the last truly prolific American author. Don’t get me wrong; there are alot of great American writers; but, we aren’t, each of us, forced through a Stephen King book by some English teacher before ninth grade, the way we are, with ‘Catcher In The Rye’. And, arguably, it makes those other writers better; that we choose to read their stuff; but I’m not here to argue. My point, friends, is that the great American novel is sitting there, atrophying in the head/heart/soul of the guy who’s writing Geico ads (because; let’s face it; they’re brilliant). We’ve all sold out a little bit. We’ve all compromised basic, ethical, moral codes in the general acceptance of society, as it is. Period. If this weren’t true, on a mass scale, society wouldn’t (mis)behave the way that we do.

There are some excellent bands out, right now, lyrically, I mean. They blow me away. It’s poetry, set in motion. It’s an orgasm, on stage. Yet, no one I didn’t meet through this shared interest, has ever heard of them. My friends like pop and rap and Nickleback (ugh). Some heavy boom, boom, boom, that you can dance (I use the term, loosely, it’s more like, stand in one spot and gyrate your ass) to. There’s no depth, there’s no fight. There’s no compassion, empathy, beauty; no anything, that makes true art reach out and speak to us. It breaks my heart. I ache for more, out of music, especially.

And, movies? Don’t even get me going. Are we really watching the same five movies, sixty-three times a year?? And who is paying fifteen bucks, a pop, to see this crap, exponentially? I stand back and think, to myself, is the average American consumer truly this stupid? Because, I could’ve sworn I just saw a preview for this same exact movie, with different actors in it. Sure enough, if you do a little research, you’ll find that I am absolutely right; that the average American consumer (key word, there, consumer) is, indeed, that stupid.

Where did we go so wrong? Why do we care more about celebrities, than we do, our own kids? Why do we have our priorities so ass backward? Look at yourself. Do you even have priorities, at all? Did they get lost, somewhere in the shuffle, so that now, it costs too much to care? It’s a sad state of affairs. We’ve chosen not to care because we’re too busy buying shit we don’t need, to fill our days with superficial tasks. We’re drifting into a nation of apathetic, lazy good-for-nothings and will remain that way until someone comes along and takes, without a fight, that for which we used to work so hard. Or, maybe they already did, and you were too busy to notice. Maybe you thought about fighting them, but, you just forgot how. Or, maybe, ‘The Bachelor’ was on, so you let those liberties slip away, like unseen petals on the wings of a wind you can’t name. Because, they want you stupid and you, the average American consumer, have contentedly obliged them.