Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Train Wrecks

I'll keep this light today
Not all train wrecks are unfortunate. There's another kind of train wreck disaster that Americans can't seem to get enough of. I'm talking about Celebrity Train Wrecks.

After a decade or more, television has shrunk from the last remnants of it's once golden promise, thanks to Writer's Strikes, Director's Strikes, the proliferation of Cable and Digital TV, and the general decline of Western Culture.

Witness the rise of Reality TV. Reality TV is not reality per se, it's a TV approximation of what the few remaining TV Writers think will sell under the guise of Reality TV. Reality TV and it's precursor, Tabloid TV, need a steady stream of Celebrity Train Wrecks (CTWs) just to keep the eyes tuning in. In turn these CTWs get a last bit of publicity on their way to forgotten status.

How else to explain Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, David Hasslehoff, et al? Their collective 15 minutes was up what? Two to ten years ago? These "Stars" who mostly rest on their laurels today, unfortunately still rate paparazzi treatment because they've revealed their underwear choices on film often while resting (drunkenly) on those same famous laurels!

These are the CTWs of today's masses...pray for Western Civilization...

I prefer the more pithy, mature CTWs...the survivors who've become like Performance Artists...or CTW Installations. Courtney Love comes to mind. Unfortunate marital history aside, Ms Love raised the CTW bar as high as any.

Curt Cobain's widow, Ms Love was among the first celebs to utilize the internet to speak to "the Fans". She always called a spade a spade, and was fearless in her willingness to call out her fellow Rock n' Roll stars when she felt their actions didn't serve their fans (or more to the point-Customers!)

At the Dawn of Digital Music Downloads and the beginning of Big Music's decline and the rise of online Piracy, Ms Love called out the boys of Metallica, saying in effect: "Man up Boys, you don't need Big Music and a Record Contract anymore! Write and record better songs, and sell them iTunes style on the 'Net for 99 cents! If you can still write great music, you'll still bank a fortune, with the added bonus of breaking the Record Companies hegemony, freeing all future artists to create, record and tour without owing their very souls to The Man."

Let it be said, that as a Music Consumer for my entire post-puberty life, I'm not convinced that the rise of digital music caused the decline of Big Music. I still buy music on CDs. I've bought exactly one 99 cent song from iTunes, since I got my first iPod three years ago.

I adhere to the Fair Use Doctrine, that is I make a copy of each new CD, load the original in my CD Jukebox, and use to copy for mobile use. I have a 24 disc clamshell that goes to work with me, on trips, long road trips, and the occasional party. Even at the low list price of $20, 24 CDs are nearly $500 to replace.

Just when the Digital Revolution was cranking up, the reigning Titans of popular music seemed to begin "running out of steam"...suddenly established acts weren't cranking out Great Albums anymore, but albums with one decent tune or hit, fleshed out with a dozen weak tracks nobody wanted to buy. Concurrently, the choice of artists and styles exploded, further diluting the purchasing power of the legions of music buyers, making Super Platinum Mega Hits even more rare. Don't get me started on what became of Rock n' Roll on the's too sad to commit to words.

This was the juncture when Courtney Love called out those Titans...alas Ms Love's CTW Lifestyle had taken it's toll on her, and she was unable to practice what she preached. She still was fodder for the Rock n' Roll Press, Tabloid TV, and the Supermarket News Stands.

Also in my Celebrity Train Wreck Pantheon:

World Class Makeup Abuser, Tammy Faye Bakker

Saturday Night Live's Hypertension Poster Boy, Chris Farley

The Charlie Sheen Saga

Ex-Train Wreck Robert Downey Jr, now rebounding to become an American Treasure-Acting Division.

These Olympian Celebrity Train Wrecks have all given me Joy. Each lived large, and didn't hurt anyone but themselves. You might argue Tammy Faye, but I believe she was oblivious to her Scumbag Husband's hijinx "In service to Jeee-Zussss...Say Hallelujah!"

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