Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 5: Doubleheader Edition

January 15, 2011

Don't sweat it, Roberto. I'm completely made of Tuesday.

If it’s completely true that snitches get stitches then it’s doubly true that self-righteous idiots who attempt to sand down the world’s rough edges through censorship get the business end of Roberto’s stabbing knife. And it’s been awhile, so we’re having a doubleheader. On to the wetwork.

We’ve all heard the phrase “One person can make a difference,” and we’ve all nodded thoughtfully while thinking, “Bullshit.” Just like the eternally optimistic phrase “Every vote counts” allows us to feel like our voice matters in the political arena, the sad truth is that one person has no chance in hell to make significant changes, especially in well-established institutions with years of history behind them.

And then something like this happens.

An anonymous (to us, anyway) complainant has singlehandedly gotten Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing removed from radio airplay in Canada. As many of you are probably thinking, what the fuck for?

This anonymous complainant (hereafter “AC” for the sake of my fingers) was offended by the use of the word “faggot,” which pops up three times as the narrator critiques the hair metal dominating MTV at the time. If you’re not familiar with the lyrics, I’m not going to run them down for you here. Perhaps you can get in touch with AC as you are apparently the only other English-speaking person alive who has not heard this overplayed rock radio staple several hundred times in their life.

A homophobe and his headband rarely part.

Having heard this track 26 years after it was released, AC sprung into action. Assuming the role of spokesperson for the entire gay (or “gey,” as I assume it’s spelled in Canada) community, AC fired off a letter to the offending station demanding they remove the song from airplay.

“A song was aired, “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits, and included the word “faggot” a total of three times.  I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about.

I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air.”

At first, they blew her off, albeit in a very kindly fashion, running down the reasons for keeping it in the rotation and citing precedent.

“In this specific case, the song in question has been played countless times in its original form, from its #1 release in 1984 to the present day, and continues to be aired on stations across the country in this form.  As this selection has been aired continuously for 25+ years, and the original version is regarded by many as an historically successful and essential rock hit in that form with these particular lyrics, management chose in this specific instance to retain the authenticity of this selection.”

“We understand the concerns you have raised regarding this particular selection and do apologize for any undue stress caused to you as a listener by the lyrical content of this selection, but based on the above reasoning, we have operated with the understanding that in this specific case, no editing of the material is warranted.”

That should have been that.

The C stands for "Capitulation."

Not good enough. AC was still perturbed and fired back, using a lot of words but mainly pointing out than anything less than removal or censorship of the track would be unsatisfactory.

“I am highly dissatisfied with the response I have received.  I do not feel the argument in favour of the unabridged version of the song was valid, and it is certainly not strong enough to justify playing such words on the radio.  This word carries an unavoidable connotation of hate.  By airing it unapologetically on the radio, this station is indirectly propagating hate.  Although I can see the value in a timeless classic rock song in its original form, I cannot help but feel that it does not overshadow the importance of ending discrimination.”

The CBSC, not wanting to be seen as “propagating hate” or not being really on board with “ending discrimination” through continued airplay of a 26-year-old song, consulted and decided in her favor, issuing a lengthy missive explaining their reasons for removing the track.

So, apparently, one person can make a difference.

Now, before you get all inspired and head out to start a carpool or become a locavore or write your Congressman in an attempt to rid hotels you don’t even patronize of PPV porn, take a good, long look at what this is.

This isn’t justice. This isn’t David triumphing over Goliath. Hell, this isn’t even the local repertory theater’s production of Pay It Forward.

This is myopic, narcissistic bullshit.

This is saying, “This song offends ME. Change it. Fuck everyone else.”

It’s not that I think Money for Nothing is a classic work of art or that using the word “faggot” is ok in all circumstances. But maybe, just maybe, this instance is alright because FOR FUCK’S SAKE, THE SONG HAS BEEN OUT FOR 26 YEARS AND YOU WANT TO CENSOR IT NOW??

For Christ’s sake (or so they say), the Parents Television Council is always trying to censor this or that offending bit of culture but at least they’ve got some sort of quorum and the signed petitions and email carpet-bombing to back it up. I don’t agree with them ever but at least it’s not just one person wheedling away with a 2-year-old’s sense of entitlement, moaning “I don’t like this! Changeitchangeitchangeitchangeit!!!”

Dr. Alan Gribben is unaware that his moustache is on slightly crooked.

This is no different than Twain scholar Alan Gribben who’s working tirelessly to crank out a version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, free of the troublesome word “nigger,” which has coyly been replaced with “slave.” (Also on the chopping block: “Injun” and “Half-breed.”) Once again, lots of history but at least in this case he’s not the first person to censor or ban this book.

“The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with “slave” when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the “n” word (“My mother said it’s only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people”) and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. “My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it.”

His main issue seems to be that it makes him “uncomfortable,” especially now that he’s relocated to the South. If he can’t handle using this in its historical context then he probably shouldn’t be teaching. Obviously it’s too much to expect that he might provide his students with the historical background or engage them in a discussion of how hearing/reading this word affects them.

No, I guess it would just be simpler to jack Tom Sawyer’s brush and whitewash the shit out of an American masterpiece. Even worse, he’s teaching a new generation that if something offends you, you should get rid of it no matter its history or context or importance to other people who aren’t you.

In this era of self-victimization thousands of people are running around with a chip on their shoulder and hot tears of self-righteous humiliation in their eyes. Why should something that offends them need to disappear? Are these self-appointed guardians of our culture really that selfish?

If you think that you might be offended by the word “faggot” leaking out of your speakers in the near future, just shut it off or dial away when you hear the very distinctive opening of Money for Nothing. And if you think you might not be able to handle the word “nigger” in print then just fucking read/teach something else, you projecting bastard.

Stabbity-stabbity-stab-stab-stab.

Quick postscript: Reaction to the ban of Money for Nothing has been pretty much completely negative. Here’s a typical take from an actual gay man, Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall):

“Shakespeare would be rolling over in his g-word,” said Thompson, the 51-year-old actor/comedian best known for his work with the Kids in the Hall troupe.

When you ban a word, you make the word more powerful. All this banning that’s going on just makes (the hate) go deeper and deeper into the soul, where it festers. Let it it out. I want to know what you really think. I can handle it.

“It makes me feel like we’re five years old and need to go potty. The n-word, I guess, is number 1 and the f- word is number 2.”

Check on previous victims here:
ASCAP
Steve Dahl
Garth Brooks
Bono

-CLT

Advertisements
h1

Tom Silverman Condescends to Save Music Industry from Itself; Crap Internet Artists

July 27, 2010

Tom Silverman for City Councilman: Intensity You Can Rely On

[Thanks to Overconfident Orientalist for pointing me in the direction of this story. Also, thanks (sort of) to Sedate Me, whose made several points in the follow-up comment that I’m sure I’ll be rehashing. A quick note: any emphasis below has been added by yours truly. You know, to emphasize stuff.]

The long and the short of it is this: Tom Silverman, representing Tommy Boy, has come to the conclusion that the normal (read: rapacious) label/victim artist relationship is broken. The upshot is that he has a plan to fix it: a true, transparent 50-50 split with the artist on all income, whether it is online streaming, record sales, merchandise, licensing, etc. 

The interviewer starts things off on the wrong foot shortly into the introduction, when this statement rears its malformed head: 

“The basic recording contract upon which most of the popular music business has been based for the past 50 years is fundamentally broken. 

This is not the sentiment of one of the countless critics who throw stones at the music industry from afar, usually for vague philosophical reasons, but rather the pragmatic opinion of a true insider..” 

Consider briefly those throwing stones. Are the artists who have been complaining about being indentured-servants-for-life via the truly fucked “advance” system just a bunch of stone-throwing whiny-ass philosophers? Are those who run artist-owned labels tinpot soapboxers bitching just to bitch? Are all the millions of people who spent millions of dollars buying overpriced plastic discs and paying outsized service charges for live gigs just a group of misfits whose opinions can be waved away in a few dismissive sentences? 

Apparently so. And Tom Silverman agrees with interviewer Eliot Van Buskirk, when he marginalizes (by proxy) every bedroom indie artist who has ever recorded and self-published without the aid of a major label: 

“Who uses Photobucket and Flickr? Not professional photographers — those are hobbyists, and those are the people who are using TuneCore and iTunes to clutter the music environment with crap, so that the artists who really are pretty good have more trouble breaking through than they ever did before.” 

Well, if you wanted to get the unwashed internet to side with this brave new world of 50-50, you certainly couldn’t have stuck your foot any deeper into your mouth, Tom. Quite the feat of contortionism, as the rest of interview indicates it’s currently located deep within your ass. 

This is old news, though. Old school industries who have been rendered extraneous (at best) by the encroaching internet have pitched this fit for years. Those in the high-minded sphere of print journalism have been insulting their potential audience incessantly. Former DJs and talk-show hosts who have seen their audiences shrink have dismissed Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. as moronic and its users as even worse. 

However, Tom goes further. Not content to simply bash millions of enthusiastic amateur photographers and musicians, he goes on to take a swing at Twitter and internet marketing in general: 

They’re not tweeting, they don’t give a shit about any of that stuff. They’re out gigging, that’s what they do. The word is spread through the shows — they’re not marketing through the internet.” 

He’s right about one thing: nothing works quite as well as live performance. Most artists (indie-wise) have already come to this conclusion. They’re out gigging incessantly and connecting with their scattered fans in any way possible. 

Ah. Those were the days. Nonsensical fashion. Nonsensical headspins. Nonsensical CD profit margins.

But Tom doesn’t think that works. Without providing any examples as to why it doesn’t, he expects the reader to take that as fact and write off the power of the internet as nothing more than some widely believed urban legend. 

What he’s really saying, though, is this: it doesn’t work for us. He hasn’t seen it improve anything for his major label artists. There are several reasons for this: 

1. The major labels’ inherent distrust of the internet. They already believe it’s composed solely of thieving morons, so why would they put any genuine effort into marketing via the web? 

2. The major labels have no understanding of the internet. See above. Thieves. Morons. It’s the unmovable force of an industry that desperately wants everything to go back to the way it was. To go back to the halcyon days of CD sales, before Wal-Mart, digital distribution and a bunch of pissed-off music buyers sided with the new forces rather than shell out $18 for 70 minutes of music, most of which was crap. 

(If “90% of everything is crap,” then you’re paying $18 for seven minutes of good music.) 

The labels are not unlike the mullet-headed 50-year-old who drives a primer-grey Camaro and rocks out to whatever the hell it is he was listening to back in the glory days of high school, when he was voted 2nd Runner-Up in the Prom King competition and nearly got to second-base with the B-team cheerleading squad co-captain. 

3. They’ve never really tried. Sure, they might see some bumps for the top 5% of their artists, but the top 5% are the only ones they’re willing to go out-of-the-way for. “Recouped” = GOD in major labeldom. And the only benefit of these actions has been to slightly increase sales on platinum records. 

Everyone else on the roster can go fuck themselves. They won’t get any help because “sales are down” and they’re already way in the hole, thanks to thousands of dollars worth of advances. So, the bands that could use the bump the most are being shoved into the cellar and told to behave. “If you had just had a hit song, we might be able to help you out.” 

Not only that, but because of their contracts, they’re prevented from making moves on their own to improve their situation. They can’t pursue independent licensing deals, switch labels or release new music until the label says it’s OK. 

Tom’s not done going after the internet yet, taking a swipe at Chris Anderson’s “Long Tail” theory with this confusing statement: 

“So it’s possible that around 35,000 releases didn’t even sell one copy last year. That means not even the artist or their mother bought a copy, and all those artists are out there gigging, they’re all on social networks, they’re all doing stuff to clutter the marketplace.” 

What is one supposed to gather from this statement? That there’s “too much” product available, producing an unacceptable (to label heads) amount of noise? That there are 35,000 artists out there so unlikable not even their family will spring for a copy? That maybe, just maybe, these 35,000 aren’t really doing any of those things listed, but instead have shoved a slice of recorded music somewhere towards the back of iTunes or the like? 

As for the amount of “noise,” brought on by “too much” product? That’s just a label problem. Anything that isn’t earning them money is just so much noise, pulling people away from their superior craftmanship and amazingly talented roster of artists. 

I would think this is the kind of “noise” music fans have been waiting on for years. Now no one has to sit on the other end of a label-enforced bottleneck, waiting for them to drop new music into their local brick-and-mortar shops or allow it to hit the airwaves of their favorite radio station. 

At this point in time, the cost of entry for artists and fans has never been lower. Bad news for major labels. Great news for artists and fans. Somehow Tom and many others still believe that if it weren’t for them and their Herculean efforts to keep bailing water out of their sinking ships, music fans everywhere would be left with nothing but a vacuum, completely devoid of music. 

I guess we didn't all buy her albums. It just felt that way...

And what do they have to offer? Let’s take a look, as Tom bemoans the fact that this collection of masterpieces was somehow unable to bump CD sales: 

“In America, Michael Jackson died, we re-released all of the Beatles stuff, and we had Susan Boyle, the Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga — and we were still down 12.7 percent and 16-something percent physical.” 

Holy shit! Two-shit-demos-tacked-on reissues! And not just any shit re-issues, but re-issues of albums everybody already owns! Tremendous! 

OMG! Susan Boyle! BEP!! LADY MOTHERFUCKIN GAGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Christ on a bicycle! How did we poor internet morons get so lucky? How could we restrain ourselves from rushing to the store to pick up physical copies of CDs by dead artists with re-issue after re-issue under their corpses already, a reality-show contestant and two over-exposed pop stars? How were we able to resist the lure of this cornucopia of audio delights? How. The. Fuck… 

Good lord. If this is what the majors think should be moving units, they’re more fucked than they could ever imagine. Long tail or no, not every person out there wants the same old shit, endlessly repackaged and cynically hawked. If I want the fucking BEP, I can watch Target’s in-store advertising for 10 minutes or so. If I wanted a Michael Jackson re-issue, I only had to pick one up during the last quarter century. 

So it all comes down to this: Tom and the major labels want music fixed. They don’t want things to necessarily work better for consumers or their roster. They just want what they had before: skyrocketing profits and insane margins. 

You’ll notice that the independents artists aren’t clamoring for some makeover of the distribution system. Many like it the way it is. Some would like a few changes. A few anomalies hum along with the majors. 

I don’t hear anything from the fans. They’ve never had it better. 

If Tom really wants to be bold, he should grandfather his roster in under this new plan and issue back pay. That might help some of the endlessly screwed unrecouped see some daylight. He can stop charging bands for paid-in-full-and-amortized-to-hell-and-back studios. He can stop pushing them into incredibly expensive promos. 

Most importantly, he (and the rest of the labels) can stop trying to push back the clock, via lawsuits, threats and angry, ill-informed statements. They couldn’t stop what was coming and they didn’t even try to make it work for them. They just let file-sharing, etc. erode their business while they wrung their hands and paid massive retainers to lawyers. 

Without a doubt, this is a step in the right direction. But why now? Why not 20, 30, 40 years ago? Are they finally desperate enough to take 50% of something rather than 90-95% of nothing? I think they are. 

I’m sure there are some people who’ll say, “CLT, why don’t you cut him some slack? He’s trying to change things!” 

Don’t bother. There are a lot of people out there who will never earn the right to some slack-cutting (patent lawyers, divorce lawyers, lawyers, the RIAA, ASCAP & etc., career politicians of all stripes…) and “Major Label Executive” is right near the top of that list. 

You never gave anyone on your roster a break. You never cut them a little slack on the endless recoup. You never failed to let them know where they stood when times were tight. You insulted, berated and sued music fans. You bullied retailers and radio stations. You spent as much time as possible being part of the problem. 

Don’t expect me to humour you with your 50%-assed solution. 

-CLT

h1

The History of Music Media Postscript: The Future

April 8, 2010

 

Behold! The future of music! Um... keytars... I guess...

Senores y senoras: nosotros tenemos mas influencia.

The music industry is dead. After numerous attempts to kill the industry, it has finally happened.

It took turning music into an infinite good to finally do it. And while that may have cut it deeply, it was the self-inflicted wounds that finished it off.

The endless abuse of the very artists it was supposed to cultivate and protect. Locking musicians into expensive, constraining contracts. An intentionally faulty royalty scheme that keeps artists separated from their money. An entire amalgamation of inept management, vindictive legal battles, rent-seeking that serves to keep ASCAP, BMI, the PRS, the RIAA, etc. rolling in money and a perverse (and thoroughly broken) trickle-down effect that only benefits the top 5%.

As much as the record labels and their accompanying dollar-sniffing dogs would like to return to the rapacious days of the $19 CD and its money-printing ability, it’s just never going to happen. So they force it, suing 14-year-old kids and 80-year-old grandmothers. They send out bills to Mom & Pop stores, cop shops, charities, animal shelters, the Girl Scouts, etc. They browbeat or seduce your elected officials into legislating your rights away and otherwise throw all their energy into tipping the playing field back in the direction of their gaping and insatiable maw.

Perhaps it's too subtle...

Take a quick look at the “business plan” of the performance right groups. They send out bill after bill for bogus “public” performance fees (“public” meaning heard by more than one person). This is nothing more than mass mailing. Spam.

Their methodology is no different from the guy at the bar that asks each passing lady if the like anal sex. Yeah, he’ll take a lot of abuse but sooner or later, he’ll get lucky. And to him, it’s worth the damage to his reputation.

Same thing here. They’ll demand money from anybody and everybody, hoping for a 5% return or whatever. If the public can’t shame them in to stopping or the courts refuse to make them stop, they’ll keep hopping from patron to patron, hoping to get lucky.

They waste their time, money and effort on fighting a battle they have already lost, rather than finding new and better ways to help their artists promote themselves or work within the “constraints” of the digital age.

As long as music is an infinite good (and that’s for the rest of forever, folks), it is self-defeating to thrown your energy into clicking your heels and wishing for 1991.

There are thousands of bands giving away thousands of songs every day, having realized that it’s better to get their music in your ears and their name on your tongues than to bemoan every “lost” sale or play penny-ante royalty poker with the major labels and their legal friends.

Thanks Chain Music Store! I never would have found Dinowalrus without your invaluable flaunting of mainstream artists!

Despite what everyone may be hearing from spoiled rotten artists like Garth Brooks and Bono, there has never been a better time than now to be a musician. No matter how small you are, you can get heard.

In the old brick-and-mortar + mainstream radio world, would you or I ever heard of the bands like Dinowalrus, Micro Titanic, Grave Babies, Whitey, Human People, etc.? If they even made their way into the local Musicland, they likely would have been in and out within days, thanks to sales of $0.

Here’s a message for those who still doubt and fear to cast your pearls before thieving swine. A message for every musician out there who thinks that piracy will deprive them of a livelihood. A message for those who think that the only way to self-sufficiency is through the same routes that have been obliterated by a flood of new options.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

You can’t sell your music? Well, maybe your product is no good. Maybe you’re not spending enough time promoting it. Maybe you’ve self-imposed a premium on your time and effort that no small amount of money will satisfy.

How can you NOT get your product out?

Case in fucking point: I bought Whitey’s new album from Amazon at 4 am. It took about 5 minutes from beginning to end. By the time I left for work at 4:15, I had it cued up on my mp3 player. And you want to tell me that we should go back to plastic discs? That I should have to wait to whenever it’s convenient for the local music shoppe to open its doors and then, hopefully, have whatever it is I’m looking for?

Another person forgoes the crapshoot of a 9-to-5 for the steady paycheck of a musician.

Message #2:

LOSE YOUR INFLATED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT.

Since when did becoming a musician become a path to financial freedom? Did your parents ever sit you down and implore you to form a band? “Drop out of college and form a band, son. You’ll be set for life.”

Don’t look to us for sympathy if doing the thing you love has failed to put steaks in the freezer (or veggieburgers or whatever) and a late-model vehicle in the driveway. Many of us don’t even get the chance to do what we really want to. At least you’ll have a few albums or singles out and some gigs under your belt. You went out, got sweaty and drunk and played music for people. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Whatever artistic line you take, whether it’s music, painting, writing, stand-up, etc. is never guaranteed to repay your time and effort. If it does, you’re one of the truly blessed. If not, well, at least you spent some time doing what you loved.

Don’t go down that path. Don’t follow your predecessors in their jaundiced thinking. Their fever dreams of a few hit singles financing their retirements. That a copyright and 12 minutes of music should allow them to want for nothing. It’s sickening to think that your “art” should be used as leverage, as a weapon, against small businesses, charities, animal shelters, etc. If you’re currently riding this diseased gravy train, please, for everyone’s sake: get the fuck off.

Major Labels: It’s too late to adapt. If you hadn’t been so busy squeezing every cent out of music buyers for the last 40 years, you might still have some goodwill left. And it’s not just the fans you’ve been fucking. It’s also a majority of your artists.

The RIAA: If the only trick you have up your sleeve is “We’ll see you in court,” well… there’s just really no hope for you. You assholes don’t even pretend you want to adapt. Fuck you.

ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, the PRS, etc.: The only thing the digital age has done for you is given you the opportunity to attach yourself like remora to any passing revenue stream. Unfortunately, you tend to kill off every stream with your overenthusiastic sucking. You’re nothing but parasites. Spam generators. Aggressive panhandlers.

Good riddance to you all. Musicians don’t need you. Customers never did. You’re as essential and pleasant as a vestigial tail.

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 4 – Bono

January 14, 2010

Not crazy. Just stabby.

[After a 2-month hiatus, the Stabbing Knife returns! And it brought presents! Nice, stabbed little presents! Awww… And yes, I have stabbed before.]

Once upon a time, there was a nice, earnest lad named Bono. He fronted a nice, earnest band who wished to make the world a better place. Or at least improve his own country where, when they weren’t warily eyeing their potato reserves, they were blowing each other the fuck up over religious differences.

Remember this guy? So young and idealistic. And turtlenecked.

But then he grew up. And so did his band. They discarded their veneer of Christianity and set out to become the Most Important Band in the World.

They sold millions of albums and made millions of dollars.

But still Bono’s heart ached.

When he wasn’t busy counting his money or shouldering the weight of the world or getting stuck in a malfunctioning lemon, he was alone in the back of his private jet, hunched over a MacBook writing screeds against Western conspicuous consumption and how to save the planet using his bold, Irish ideals and other people’s money.

And then Bono, head steadily inching its way up his own ass, caught a fleeting, non-anally blocked glimpse at the latest P&L for U2, Inc. and got righteously pissed.

And when he got angry, he got stupid.

We’re used to his manager’s stupidity. Paul McGuinness is an idiot. He’s made a number of dubious claims and attention-grabbing statements in the effort to wring a little more money out of everybody from MSN to random ISPs to Joe Downloader.*

*Not his real name.

Here’s a few choice quotes:

“I suggest we shift the focus of moral pressure away from the individual P2P file thief and on to the multibillion dollar industries that benefit from these countless tiny crimes. The ISPs [internet service providers] the telcos [telecoms companies], the device-makers.”

On Silicon Valley:

“Embedded deep down in the brilliance of those entrepreneurial, hippy values seems to be a disregard for the true value of music.”

Entrepreneurial? Hippies? ???

His theory seems to be that the Internet service providers need to pay because they’re making a ton of money trafficking in illegal downloads.

Let’s do some math: I pay $39.95/month for my internet connection. If I download 0 free music files, I pay $39.95/mo. If I download 25,000 free music files, I pay $39.95/mo. Granted, some ISPs do tiered pricing based on use, but they’re not very popular and they won’t last for long.

Here’s some more.

On Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want release:

“It’s important to remember the traditional worldwide star-making functions of the big record companies. There’s nothing on the horizon to replace that.”

Hmmm. We can just let that one go.

Here’s a beauty:

“I started to glimpse the politics of it at that stage. I hope that our politicians, our journalists, our media gain a sense of how much we stand to lose if free prevails. Ultimately free is the enemy of good. “

...and I said, "Google, find me a metaphoric picture for obtuseness..."

But now Bono’s gone and topped him. In his latest for the New York Times, Bono suggests that we look to China for the solution to pirated media:

“But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content.”

Bono doesn’t need a manager. He needs an editor. He may have thrown the modifier “ignoble” in there, but he still wants the same ends, which will then allow him to justify the means. Or to put it another way, “ignoble” when it affects Bono’s privacy but rather more noble when it’s unleashed on the thieving hordes that are The Internet. 

At what point do you decide that it’s OK for you to hold up (however badly worded) one of the world leaders in “Human Rights Violated” as a solid business model, and even worse, a solid government model?

Who here thinks it would be a great idea for the government to install tracking software on every new computer? Who thinks that the government (and their best friends, big failing media) should have the keys to everything you do online? Does anyone actually feel this will turn out well? That the wrongdoers will be caught and punished and the Most Important Band in the World can begin stocking up on ivory backscratchers again?

Or will it turn into the tragic farce that is today’s mommy-state/fucked legal system that does immensely stupid things like turn “sexting” teens into child-porn possessing sex offenders?

Bono takes a moment to reflect on how truly fucked he is financially.

The overwhelming arrogance and crass stupidity of Bono’s article boggles the mind. Just because your business doesn’t run the way it used to is no reason for you to use your considerable wealth and power to try to legislate and litigate your way back into an acceptable profit margin.

Major labels: you lost. The battle is over and the only thing you can do is lash out by harassing, fining, suing and jailing random individuals. It’s not winning you any more fans and it’s certainly not cobbling together some sort of time machine to the mid-90’s jackpot that was CD sales.

And who bitches about this lost revenue the most? The richest, fattest artists. U2, Metallica, Garth Brooks, the Cure, KISS. All of them mention the “little indie bands” as if those were the ones affected the most.

The indie bands have moved on. The RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, etc. are all taking care of lining their own pockets and the top 5% of their stables.

Bono should know better. He said it himself:

“It’s not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money, but somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it’s a sacred thing, so I’m a little offended.”

I guess he couldn’t help himself. And his advice to the movie and television industries, which he feels are next to be downloaded to death? Do the same shit that didn’t work for us, only harder and faster.

To reiterate: Bono, a singer from a country with serious anarchy leanings, recommends an all-knowing government should start following China’s lead into a bold, new era of human rights violations and privacy invasion. Just so that he and the other top 5% of musicians can finally get more of the money that they’re already getting a sizeable chunk of.

Fuck you, Bono.

Fuck you if for no other reason than you made me end a sentence in a preposition.

-CLT

h1

This Month in Cosmo

December 18, 2009

Never trust sex advice from a magazine that puts the word "Va-jay-jay" on the cover.

3 Relationship Tests Guaranteed to Start a Fight! 

10 Romantic Gestures No Man Will Ever Make! 

Your Partner’s Sexual Past? How Much Should You Know? (Guaranteed to Start a Fight!)

5 Things We Like About Men and 100 Things We Hate 

96 Pages of Advertising (48%)! 

How to Cover Up the Hideous Flaws of Your Body 

Rebuilding the Glass Ceiling for Fun and Profit! 

Eating Right: 10 Easy Recipes Using Ingredients You’ll Never Have Just Laying Around the House

True Romance: A Beautiful Love Story Guaranteed to Highlight the Inadequacies of Your Man (and Start a Fight!) 

Fall Fashion Pullout: Featuring Clothes You Can’t Afford and Will Never Fit Into 

25 “Tried and True” Sex Secrets That Will Drive Your Man Wild! (See Pages 84-88 to Find Out Why We Used Quotation Marks!) 

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 3: Steve Dahl

November 18, 2009

Roberto prepares to "cut a bitch," Chicago-style.

The Stabbing Knife is back after a brief resting period. [Wait for applause to die down.]

We’ve stabbed before here on Fancy Pants. Here’s a very brief list of the previous victims, whose asinine remarks made their stab wounds mainly self-inflicted:
ASCAP
Garth Brooks

Things must have been going too well. All was quiet and rather orderly until this jackass decided to take his frustration with his dwindling career options to take a shit on the entire Internet.

Ladies and gentleman: Steve Dahl, noted radio personality and columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

Steve Dahl: all the fun of NA beer with twice the water retention.

So what’s his problem?

Apparently, he hates the fact that due to Twitter, blogs and comment threads, ordinary people are allowed to voice their opinion.

“These days, a person only needs a computer to spew opinion across a variety of platforms. Healthy doses of outrage and narcissism are also helpful.”

This is unfair to Steve, although it is difficult to tell why. He doesn’t hold a degree in journalism as one would expect, based on the self-righteous bullshit he’s spewing. Let’s read a little further and see what entitles him to his opinion but not us to ours:

“Don’t get me wrong. I am also an outraged narcissist, but I had to work six-hour shifts in Bakersfield, Calif., to earn my stripes as a communicator.”

Holy fucking shit! Six hours! The man’s an animal!

How does he do it?

Who here works more than 6 hours a day? Yeah, that’s pretty much everybody. However, since you don’t work in the hallowed halls of a dying format like radio or newspapers, your opinion means fuck-all.

He goes on to insert his massive foot farther into his massive mouth by calling CNN out for reading viewer Tweets:

“Nowadays, having a Twitter page qualifies a person to give commentary on CNN. I am not interested in the take of @stinky on the Fort Hood shootings or any other current events. I am watching CNN because I expect them to gather the news, not act as a clearinghouse for any bonehead with a computer, a cable modem and a half-baked opinion.”

So, boneheads: how’s that feel? A dinosaur of the cable news industry is recognizing the shifting playing field and trying to connect with their viewers. Sure, not every opinion is going to be mind-blowing gold, but at least they’re trying. As compared to Stevie here, whose sense of entitlement is currently going at his brain like an enraged tumor and devouring anything useful.

Steve’s not content to stop there. Here’s a swing at Facebook:

“With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging and texting, now almost any fool can set up his or her broadcast hub.”

You hear that, fools? Your own broadcast hub! It’ll be like the heyday of pirate radio, only staffed with fools and boneheads!

This seems way, way more than hypocritical from a guy who admits to using Facebook and Twitter nearly constantly.

And, of course, he used it to send out photos of bikini-clad women whose pictures were taken unknowingly.

“I even started including bikini shots via Twitpic with my Tweets.”

Oh, and he has a blog.

For someone so connected with his readers, he sure knows how to marginalize them all in just a few paragraphs. This is why your average Internet user hates your average journalist. They all consider themselves to be better and more informed than the readers they cater to. But now there are too many options and rather than try to connect, they condescend.

Unfortunately, no one has any pity for all these small fish in a rapidly draining pond. No matter how much they splash around like big fish, they’ll still fit down the drain.

This is America, land of the running mouth. We all have opinions and we all like to state our case. For those who think a degree or a certain line of employment makes yours the only opinion that counts, prepare for a short lifespan of soul-sucking disappointment.

Your field has already been marginalized by the Internet, and all you can think to do is pour gasoline on your death pyre.

Of course, great thinking and open-mindedness is not to be expected from the “DJ-personality” who presided over one of the most celebrated public displays of racism and homophobia ever: Disco Demolition Night.

Well, it's no "God Hates Fags" but it does have a kickass lightning-y font...

So long, asshat. Enjoy the brief spike in readers from your troll-baiting bullshit.

From the blogosphere’s black heart, I stab at thee.

-CLT

h1

The Stabbing Knife Vol. 2 – Garth Brooks

October 17, 2009
Roberto prepares for Daylight Savings Time with several stabbing and thrusting exercises.

Roberto prepares for Daylight Savings Time with several stabbing and thrusting exercises.

Garth Brooks is back. Ending eight years of self-imposed retirement to start an open-ended run of shows at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Brooks has dusted off his hat, boots and false sense of entitlement.

Picking up where he left off in 1993, Garth is moaning about how he’s getting fucked by all his freeloading fans. Granted, he does mention other “artists” (of course, none by name) and breaks out his gold-plated hanky for a good old bitchfest.

Brooks prepares for his rigorous Wynn shows by "tripling-up" at their famous buffet.

Brooks prepares for his rigorous Wynn shows by "tripling-up" at their famous buffet.

Our government’s not doing anything about piracy. Until we can hear what a day of radio is like with no music, until this place sits silent because the music creators and the artists and copyright (holders) are not happy because they’re not being protected like everyone else is, then, yeah, I would like that power myself.”

First of all, what the fucking fuck? The government’s not doing anything about piracy? Where in the hell did he get that idea? Did he spend the last 8 years living in a tin-foil coated basement somewhere in Montana?

The government is spending a great deal of time bedding down with ASCAP and the RIAA to make sure that copyright protection continues its steady march to perpetuity. Just last week the House Judiciary Committee approved the hilariously named “Performance Rights Act” which will ensure that radio stations get to pay even more for the privilege of advertising the major labels’ artists.

On top of that ASCAP and BMI are pushing their respective legislators to increase the performance royalty fees that radio stations already pay.

So first the RIAA tags the stations for playing the sound recording and then ASCAP reams them again for royalties due to the musicians playing on the recording. A nice double-dip with all the subtlety of a revolving-door gangbang.

So, obviously Brooks is ill-informed or just genuinely stupid. Let’s flashback to his original enemy: used CDs.

Garth used his considerable weight to blackmail Capitol into blocking shipments of his latest album to stores that sold used CDs. This came back to bite him right in his label’s ass thanks to some anti-trust activity. Despite his best efforts to piss everyone off, In Pieces went on to sell 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.

The end result of 6 months of "cheek sucking" workouts.

The end result of 6 months of "cheek sucking" workouts.

Not content to rest on his huge piles of money, Garth continued to bitch and moan about his hard knock life until he was tossed under the wheels of pop culture with his ridiculous Chris Gaines “concept album,” which touted the soul-patched pop-country  pre=”pop-country “>chubster as a “conflicted artist” who was all angsted-up by life in the public eye.

So what is Garth Brooks’ problem?

Tough to say. According to the RIAA, he’s the best-selling solo artist of all time.

Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums in the U.S., according to the Recoding Industry Assn. of America, second only to the Beatles’ 170 million albums. Brooks has outsold the Fab Four — more than 68 million to the Beatles’ 58 million — in the 18 years since Nielsen SoundScan began monitoring retail sales in 1991, two years after Brooks released his first single.”

Couple that with his lucrative concert tours and the man has to have more money than Oprah Winfrey (or possibly U2).

So why can’t he shut the fuck up and enjoy his success?

Garth appears to be one of those (highly-stabbable) “sore winners” whose life revolves around concerns that his boatloads of millions may be leaking nickels and dimes somewhere. Apparently all the time off allowed him to mellow into a fat, bitter shit who wants everyone to pay for everything, like they used to in the good old days before people could decide what they wanted to do with their purchased property (CDs) or had any choice in how they got their music delivered (single-song mp3 downloads or *gasp* piracy).

Check out his “I showed them” take on his meeting with iTunes:

“Sweet guys. They’ve allowed me to come into their building several times and pretty much tell them how much I didn’t like the system. They listen. But iTunes won’t do what (it) needs to until (musicians) find a way to join together, and show them what an iPod sounds like with no music. … They truly think that they’re saving music. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. Until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there.”

I cannot fathom how this must sound to him when it comes out of his mouth. I’m sure he feels he’s coming down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets but to anyone else who has actually seen how the real world (and music industry) work now, it must sound like the disjointed ravings of bitter retiree who’s sure the world would be better if we could just go back to the good old days of poodle skirts, lead paint, asbestos and the labels raping you out of $17.99 for a couple of good tracks and 50 minutes of filler.

“Album-only downloads?” I’m sure Garth is invested heavily in Time Machines of America if he thinks he can get a majority of Americans to welcome his “Buy One, Buy ‘Em All” plan. That shit went out with Discmans and Fen-phen.

Garth displays his vestigial opposable thumbs.

Garth displays his vestigial opposable thumbs.

But he’s not through yet. Garth’s mouth has unlimited foot space (possibly due to elective surgery). Here’s his contradictory and pure evil plan for getting back what’s his:

“I’d love to see us get it together, and that’s one of the things for the next five years is to try and figure out how. Athletics has it — anti-trust. That’s the only way these guys get the attention of the leagues they work for. Until we can unionize, until we can bond together, we have no power.”

Pause for breath and some oxygen to the brain. He likes anti-trust but wants to unionize into one group that would oversee the entire record industry, presumably with the power to set prices regardless of market demand and constrict delivery methods. Sounds like a monopoly to me.

Back to King Garth, RIAA mouthpiece and jackass supreme:

“I want us to be able to come together and represent as a whole to tell the nation. … It has to be placed in the right hands, so it can’t be one person, but a board that represents music, its creators and its content owners. I think that’d be more than fair to stand up and say, ‘Look, you’ve ignored us, because there’s 50,000 of us and 300 million voters. You’ve ignored us, and now to show you, we would like to just simply stop for a day,’ and see how dry this world gets.”

Wow.

Garth is no longer just interested in the music-buying public. He now wants 300 million voters to take it in the ass because starving artists like himself are outnumbered and outgunned by Joe Public and his considerable lobbying power.

Hey, public. Meet dictator-for-life Garth Brooks. He’d like to welcome you with a hearty “fuck you” in appreciation for your purchase of 128 million albums during the course of his career.

There is a silver lining to this colossal bullshitstorm: Garth is offering to swing his massive, platinum-encrusted weight around until he gets his way, even if that means pulling all major label music off the radio for an entire day, just to show us stupid “little people” what’s the motherfucking what.

To raise awareness for "totally screwed" multi-platinum artists like himself, Garth Brooks will eat all major label music for one day.

To raise awareness for "totally screwed" multi-platinum artists like himself, Garth Brooks will eat all major label music for one day.

I say let him.

I haven’t listened to the radio in years and there are millions of hours of independent music just dying to fill the void. It would be better for the radio stations, the indie artists and the world in general.

So please please please. Pull that shit off the air. Teach us a lesson, Garth, you spoiled 47-year-old brat. Smack us around with your superiority. Kick us right in our deserving asses with your size 3 jack-boots of cowboy justice (+1). Show your loyal customers that you made them, not the other way around.

Or better yet, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Go home and count your money, you fat bastard. Pile it all into huge stacks, knock ’em over and start again. Go wander your mansion or take one of your several cars (or horses… whatever) out for a spin. Go get a botched tonsillectomy and a good case of tetanus. Whatever shuts you up.

Go Roberto. Get him. Fuck you, Garth.

Sincerely,
Joe Fucking Public
300 Million Strong

-CLT