Friday, February 13, 2009

Recycling Is Not Enough [Verse 2]


Flow Chart:




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* Superstition on Sesame Street = 1,872,357 views

* Superstition with Whitney Houston on the Arsenio Hall show = 11,692 views

* Superstition with The Jonas Brothers at a "surprise post AMA concert in Hollywood" = 1,419,372 views

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For now, lets consider the first two only, and by consider I mean this:

Imagine there are two large vats--one Sesame Street vat and one Arsenio Hall Show vat. Now imagine cutting off everyone's head on Sesame Street and draining all the blood into the Sesame Street vat. Now imagine cutting off everyone's head on the Arsenio Hall Show (you can take more time imagining that if you like) and, as before, draining all that blood (and what ever other so called "blood" drains out) into the Arsenio Hall Show vat.

Comparing these two imaginary vats, which vat contains more booze? Which vat contains more cocaine? Which vat contains more saturated fats? Which vat contains more heavy metals? Which vat contains more dioxins? Which vat contain more active cancer cells? Which vat contains more microchips?

Does that have any relationship to the music in the two projects?

Do we even perceive a difference between the two projects? I mean, they're both Superstition "by" Stevie Wonder right?

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Leaving our vats of blood aside for the moment, lets consider the non-corporal extra musical factors of each performance.

Audience: Was Stevie Wonder aware of the audience in either performance? Yes, yes, we know he couldn't see the audience, but did Stevie Wonder understand that one performance was for an audience of children watching TV in the day time and another was for an audience of adults who are up late at night watching Arsenio Hall?

Did Stevie Wonder have a cultural conception of Kermit the Frog? Did he have a cultural conception of Whitney Houston? Is there a cultural difference between Kermit the Frog and Whitney Houston? How about an energetic difference? How about a psychic difference? Having experienced both, do you think Stevie Wonder favours one over the other?

Administration: Was Stevie Wonder aware that Sesame Street is a production of the Children's Television Workshop, and aired on Public Television? Was Steve Wonder aware that the Arsenio Hall show is roughly the exact opposite--a totally corporate experience who's main goal is to appease and delight advertisers and corporate overlords?

Recuperation: Which performance was the more lucrative for Stevie Wonder? Which performance was the more lucrative for the respective interests controlling the respective television shows? Which performance is more likely to endure--or said another way, which performance is more likely to be come "obsolete?" If you could only take one youtube video with you to your next life, which one would it be? Would it be the Sesame Street video with the children dancing, or would it be the Arsenio Hall performance where neither Whitney nor Arsenio are really all that sure of the lyrics?

If Stevie Wonder could only take one youtube video with him to his next life, which one do you think he would choose? Did any of that come into play for Stevie Wonder, or is "a gig a gig?"

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So what Stevie Wonder debased himself on the Arsenio Hall show...double so what if Stevie Wonder made a bunch of money for the networks and their handlers. Is not the frantic hoarding of money at the expense of everything else the ultimate, highest good?

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A quick joke.

This one was told to me by an old Italian man with whom I worked as a teen. It goes something like this:

Once upon a time, the Italian police were out doing their police things when they came upon a "crazy" person acting "strange." Naturally, the police men arrested this "crazy" person for his "strange" behavior.

When they returned to their police car with the "crazy" person, they saw that someone had stolen one of the wheels of their police car. They stole the nuts too. Since there wasn't enough nuts, they couldn't use the spare tire at all, what so ever.

Then the "crazy" person said

"hey you stunad cops, why not take one nut off the remaining three wheels--with three nuts you'll be able to put the spare tire on and drive me to the police station where all the fun is"

The cops breathed in and out their mouths for a moment, and then did what the "crazy" person said.

As they drove to the station, the "crazy" person said "I may be crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid!"

And then the police beat the "crazy" man to death in his cell.

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Now what about those Jonas Brothers? And how about the old guy on the acoustic guitar at around 0:37? How does that make you feel? Did it make you feel the same way as the kid on the Sesame Street video at 0:38?

If you were to have told me that video two was actually an 'evil spell' cast to neutralise the song "Superstition" once and for all--that by consenting to and becoming complicit in a larger, darker 'ritual' called "The Arsenio Hall Show with Whitney Houston"--by Stevie Wonder lending his own hand to the parent culture's re-framing of the initial conception and gestalt of Superstition in the name of commerce--by sipping that blood, that filthy filthy blood, Stevie Wonder actually gave birth to the Jonas Brother's "surprise" performance.

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Because really, nothing says spontaneous and surprising like a concert in Hollywood by the Jonas Brothers after the AMA awards. And since words only mean things when words meaning things help consolidate a multinational plutocracy's position in the marketplace, then here's to more acoustic guitars and flat irons to take that unfortunate kink out of your hair, more 4.99 radios, and versions of songs that, like most consumer products, shall become entirely obsolete before the song is even over.

The economic health of the 'civilised' world depends on it!

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While this is probably totally un true, I seem to recall reading something (though I don't remember where) about Willem De Kooning wherein the author (who's name I don't remember) said that he, Willem De Kooning, the artist, wasn't mixing his own paints, and by that I mean some assistants were, in a parental way mixing his paints for him, and by that I mean mixing them in a way that they--the parent culture, and not Willem De Kooning, the artist--thought best.

Even if this is totally untrue, a gross mis-representation of the 'truth' it asks the question to what degree is intervention by the parent culture in the goings on of the artist appropriate?

Is someone mixing paint for Willem De Kooing in the colours and consistency they think is appropriate a "half truth?" Did we ever get a consensus on the value of a half truth?

How about when a 'presenting organization' says to the artist "well, we 'art administrators' from the parent culture realise that you, as artist, want a particular instrumentation for your piece of art that you are creating, and we understand that you, as the artist, want things to go a certain way in this piece of art that you are creating, but we as the parent culture, as professional 'arts administrators' have a more pressing agenda that trumps yours, and since what you do is "just" improvisation, perhaps you can 'improvise' with our version of your instrumentation, based upon our needs as administrators and owners of credit cards. We appreciate your co-operation and thanks for being a team player!

If given the choice between a work of art that was the realisation of the artists conception or a work of art that was the simulacrum of an artists conception as bent by promised wages, profit potential and personal likes and dislikes of the administrators, which would you choose?

Can we even tell the difference any more?

Is the creation of lasting works of art as envisioned by the artist even part of the larger, administered program?

Wash my face and hands...