Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Communista? No!

I see on the net some fans of the alt rock group Wilco are pissed because the band is part of the new VW campaign. Last year it was John Mellencamp who defiled the grave of Buddy Holly and the others.

Couple points here. A) Getting any kind of radio/tv notice in the era of very tight (and generally paid for) Top 20 lists is just about impossible so singers and groups have to take any offer sent their way. B) It's naive to believe that artists of any kind can remain "pure" in an industry as corrupt and incompetent as the music business.

These bloggers remind me of some of the radicals I knew back in the sixties. I've probably mentioned before the night I was dragged reluctantly to an SDS meeting. I was against the war but I also had brother fighting it. I was conflicted as hell, especially when the grunts became the subject of all the scorn.

It was at this meeting that I met the Ken and Barbie of radical chic politics. "Pretty people drinkin thinkin that they got it made" in Dylan's memorable words. They were denouncing and decrying everything. Afterward I heard them discussing how they'd met. They'd spent spring break in (I believe) the Bahamas and had fallen in love there. They drove away in a brand-new Volvo. Real hard-core street people.

Second only to the guy who produced Easy Rider. He famously held a press conference around the pool of his Beverly Hills manse to announce his hope that "the common man" (he'd probably never met one) would go on strike (or somesuch) to protest the war. Another real hard-core street person.

I've never quite understood this idea that our entertainers (and I include writers) have to be "pure" in the sense of a Kafka or Proust. And it's irritating to hear people insist on it.

1 comment:

Randy Johnson said...

The only problem I had with John Mellencamp was that a few years back when Bob Seger did the Like A Rock campaign for the same Chevrolet, he put him down. Said Mr. Mellencamp in an interview, "I guess he needed the money."