Thursday, February 26, 2009

Goddamn Bob Dylan...

I hate it when he's right, but the times, they's a changing.

First, Stephen Page leaves the Barenaked Ladies. Okay, BNL will never be accepting an award from the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, but they've also been severely underrated. Funnest band I've ever seen in concert, and over the last nine years, the only band I've seen everytime they've come through Denver - usually between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I get it...he effed up. Bad. As a group they'd sold out, made some deal with the devil, er Disney. Released a Christmas album and a children's record with big things on the horizon - possibly millions of dollars lost for the group. And as a band, you can't forgive somebody for that. But god, it sucks. I saw BNL at Fiddlers Green, when it was still Fiddlers Green, with my wife seven months pregnant with our son. I saw them in the theater district when my wife was eight months pregnant with my daughter. And it will never be the same. Change really blows sometimes.

Speaking of change, tomorrow is the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News, a Colorado mainstay for 150 years. It was my parent's paper of choice when papers mattered. It was my wife's paper when I met her. It's a stupid thing to think of, but it's played a part in my life since I've been born.

But, more serious than the loss of BNL, the crisis in America's newspapers is a serious issue. Since Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine and the constriction of media ownership over the last twenty-five years, a vital part of our country has been dying a slow, apparently unnoticed death. An uneducated electorate is a dangerous electorate. I have no doubt Bush won his second term because of the lack of media presence calling him out on the bullshit of the previous four years.

Media today is a joke. It's TMZ. It's Murdoch. It's Disney. If Nixon pulled the shit he did today, he'd get away with it, but we'd sure as shit know which days Brittney decided to leave her undergarments at home.

Undoubtedly, part of the problem is the interwebs. Free information means no advertising dollars for newspapers. The other major issue is the consolidation of media ownership. But the biggest problem is the media consumer - you and me. Mostly you. Just saying

Where's the fucking outrage? Goddamnit people! Our country was started by some pissed off dudes who took on the most powerful empire in the world. Now we're so fat and satisfied, we don't care that our country has been in two wars in a row that were not declared by legal means. No, the president can't declare war - only congress has that power, and even though congress gave Dickhead authority to use military force in Iraq, no declaration of war ever was passed. Shouldn't this bother us somewhat? But so long as we get our Cinemax and American Idol and our iPhones work and the microwave doesn't burn our popcorn, we don't care.

And as long as the media can feed us pablum, we'll eat it up. We'll decide elections on three-word slogans, whomever has the most money to repeat those slogans always winning. We'll ignore important issues, possibly boring issues, to read about Octo-mom. Well, that's not true. Most of us won't read anything.

Change has been a theme this country's heard a lot about the last 18-24 months. Some of it sux.


Anonymous said...

If you caught Ed Robertson's CBC radio interview last night (As It Happens) then it sounds like there was some serious tension building up ever since the Syracuse incident. They had a 20 year plus friendship based on doing what they love - hope they can patch it up.

You're right about them being under rated - with their humour and improvisation they were almost a theatrical performance when on stage.

Incidentally on the Dylan reference - supposedly the band's name came from an in joke between Page and Robertson. Prior to forming BNL Page had invited Robertson to a Dylan concert. When they got bored mid way through the performance, they began joking around between themselves, pretending to be rock critics and doing humorous commentary about Dylan. bare Naked Ladies was one of the names they gave Dylan's back up band.

When Robertson had to do a gig at the Second Harvest food bank fund raiser some months later, and after his own band had split, he confirmed the gig using the name BNL, and then talked Page into joining him on stage. And so the legend was born. They performed without rehearsal, and improvised their way through.

Erik Williams said...


Yes, Reagan lifting the Fairness Doctrine killed print media. Not the internet. Not technology. Not a public that likes getting its information instantaneously.


I used to read papers. Until I realized I could get the same information now rather than wait until tomorrow morning. Why read the sports section when I can go to Yahoo or ESPN and get it NOW?

All those commentators who used to hold the government's feet to the fire. They're still there. They just have blogs. You lefties got tons of them. Huffington Post. WePraytotheGreatLeader


Stop whining, you Pinko Commie. The State will soon be printing a National Rag we will all be required to read. Relax, Comrade.


You sound like an old man wagging his fist at passer-bys.


But that's sucks about BNL. Saw them on New Year's Eve in Tampa in 2005. Great show.

Change does suck, when it's change you don't want. My taxes are going up. Fuck that kind of change.

A Different Shade of Reason said...

Wow, Erik, what part of "undoubtedly part of the problem is the interwebs" went over your head, you right-wing whack job?

How long do you think that instantaneous and free information is going to last? How do you think Yahoo and ESPN operate. They don't have full-time reporters The vast majority are part-timers and work for other newspapers. ESPN has like eight guys covering the entire NFL - They right a column once a week, but do very little reporting. The reporting that goes on is taken from the newpapers (you know, those ones going out of business). The inside stories come from the beat writers - whether it's sports or city hall.

Those dry up and then what? Enjoy your free, instantaneous information whilst you can. Cuz with the current business model, it ain't going to be free, and there ain't going to be a whole lot of reliable information period.

The reason the RMN folded was ad revenue. They still had a ton of hits on their web site, and sold some advertisements because of that. But the entities that took their ad revenue away didn't do anything other than direct the consumer to the articles. Google gets the ad revenue, not the RMN.

The other part of the issue for newspapers is Craig's List and taking all of the classified revenue away.

The point about The Fairness Doctrine isn't it closed the newpaper - it's that the information we receive is less reliable. In Colorado, Rush Limbaugh is on a radio station that reaches Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and a few other states...he goes on for three hours a day with nobody to call him on it. Now there's a pinky-commie bastard for you. Yes, let's hope the government fails in this time of crisis, cuz his opinion is more important than the future of the country. Racist douche-bag!

Erik Williams said...

Man, I'm never telling jokes on your blog again. That hurt, dude.

Erik Williams said...

Oh, Rush is a racist. I thought you meant me. I'm sensitive like that.

Did you hear Vivid is offering Octomom money to do a porno? Isn't that just the grand statement of our society?

A Different Shade of Reason said...

Yes, I meant Rush, not you. I'm sorry if I hurt you. you're kind of sensitive, huh?