March 25, 2005

Letters, oh we get Letters...

I reached into the old mailbag tonight and found this comment to a post I wrote ages ago on pop culture and it's negative affects on society. Now, after all this time, someone decides to comment.

Judy, who's email and such shall remain confidential, had the following to say:

People like you frighten me. Images in music and art are reflections of our society, not exhortations for the masses to act upon. There will always be those troubled souls searching for some sort of justification for their violent nature. Believe me, if musicians weren't around to blame, these folks would be finding another "explanation" for their psychosis. Who knows? Maybe they would be saying that Jesus made them do it. (the Crusades????)

The images that these icons promote appeals to young masses simply because they are human -- and young adults. Sex speaks to them, because their sexual identities are just coming into being. They glorify violence because they are conflicted inside, and regardless of what they might say, all human beings feel angry and violent at times. Better that these young people seek their release vicariously through these musical artists.

I understand the need to look toward pop culture as the problem, but I believe there are worse demons in the world. How many are killed by war each day? How many women are subjugated throughout the world, and even in our own country through domestic violence? Why are there such racial and cultural divides in our society? Artists, poets and musicians (at least, I believe, the great majority) produce some truthful messages...ones that uncluttered minds embrace.

Well, I just couldn't resist responding. After mailing it I decided (at the prompting of the Spousal Unit) that it really needed to be posted:

Interesting train of thought, claiming that I frighten you, since I am also a musician. I have been a vocalist for years, as well as a graphics artist, a painter, a sculpter, have worked in pen and ink, a poet, an essayist, and an actor. I have experience in many aspects of the arts, performing and otherwise.

Now, that said, let me also add that in every medium, in every art, the artist has to be responsible to his audience as well as to his own self _expression. Irresponsible self _expression is nothing more than masturbation with a price tag. Irresponsible self _expression which negatively impacts an entire generation is obscene.

Now, since I've tossed that word into the ring, let me qualify its use. I also write and draw much using erotic themes, some dark, some not. It has been called pornographic by some, and tame as milk toast by others. The most important thing, however, is that I understand what is art and what is merely pornographic.

So let's examine your premise that this music appeals to the young because they are young. This music appeals to them for exactly the same reason Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, The Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Steppenwolf, and Lou Reed appealed to my generation: our parents hated it. Not the sex, not the exortation of drug use, not the anti-war propaganda contained within, only that our parents hated it. Pure and simple. And we delighted in our rebellion, as impotent as it was. And in the ultimate act of rebellion, we sometimes emulated the lyrics to piss off our parents.

We looked at "free love" and "tune in, turn on and tune out" as a means to an end. It was Cult, Counter Culture, and cool. Now what does the youth have today in it's place? Mysogeny. Violence. Objectification of persons by race, religion, and sex. Class envy. Is it a symptom of where these kid were raised? Hardly, as the largest part of the gangsta and violent metal movement are pampered upper middle class kids looking for the danger of rebellion. Indulged children in adult bodies with little or no impulse control, sexualized by their own parents' irresponsibility, and pandered to by a media who recognized a gold mine when they saw it. They have never been taught a fundamental sense of discernment, either in the home or in the school, and society as a whole now pays for the lack of genuine guidance they needed as children.

There is no need to look at "pop culture" as the problem. It flings itself in the faces of us all on a daily basis. Slutwear in the little girl department at any department store is both a symptom and a cause. Barebacking is both a symptom and a cause. Rainbow parties are both a symptom and a cause. And all of them will affect the next generation negatively as they engrain themselves into popular culture.

But the best part of the entire comment left is that it completely missed the point of the entire original post. That I find both amusing and sad.

There, I've said my piece. Now discuss.

Posted by Mamamontezz at March 25, 2005 10:12 PM

Well said, Mama ... Hopefully some sense of understanding can come out of this for your respondent.


Posted by: RightWingRocker at March 25, 2005 10:24 PM

Well stated Mama, if the respondent hasn't gotten the message by now it's probably too late, but maybe someone else can profit from this post. Thank you.

Posted by: Jack at March 26, 2005 08:53 AM

It is the nature of the young to rebel. They look to music for inspiration and consolation. Much the same reason everyone else does.
As to why some women allow themselves to be abused, most likely it is a lack of self esteem.
Wasn't it Socrate's who said something like "the children of today, are wild, disobedient,and disrespectful..."? Apparently even though the times may have changed, human nature has not.

Posted by: wanda at March 26, 2005 01:29 PM
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