April 29th, 2005

the mark

...and I feel fine.

Ann Althouse has a lot to say about the problems of radio these days, which keys off the WaPo article on DC talk radio's drop in listeners. She ties it in with a NYT piece about the death of rock radio, and opines that satellite radio may be partially the reason (and the solution, for listeners) to the "problem".

I think she's partially right but doesn't go far enough. What's happening to radio is the same thing that happened to broadcast TV and newspapers as cable and satellite and blogging software became more widespread. People suddenly had more options to choose from. Back in the 1970s, you could mix your own cassette tapes, but it was as big a hassle as making AMVs now - hours of shuffling records and hitting the play/pause buttons just right. CD burners made that task a lot easier - "Rip, Mix and Burn" became a pastime for a lot of folks who got tired up putting up with nine tracks of crap for every three decent tracks on a CD. Once Kazaa and Napster and the iPod made the scene, radio execs should have woken up and smelled the coffee, because now nobody has to put up with a DJ or programming director's playlist - they can whip one of their own together in seconds and tune out whatever Clear Channel or Infinity are serving up. No more trying to call in and request a song that the DJ might or might not play, no more putting up with Led Zeppelin played every five minutes in the rotation...and that means fewer people listening to the radio. More people settling into their particular niches on the Internet and listening to bands that play in the style they want to listen to, rather than the next Britney Spears or 50 Cent or Korn. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Let a thousand flowers bloom, let the big music and media companies bloat, collapse and die. The sooner we cut out all these annoying middlemen and get the music straight from the bands, the better. Maybe there won't be as many platinum-selling albums and intercontinental superstar bands, but I think a lot more people will be playing bars and concert halls and making a decent living and not getting all freakified in the celebrity spotlight. In my arrogant opinion, that would be a GREAT thing.

EDIT Additional commentary by Michelle Malkin pertaining to talk radio here.
the mark

Giving pop stars their propers

Speaking of rock music, anyone who knows me well knows that I despise the Beatles. I never liked them all that much to begin with due to the relentless hype that surrounded them and their status as Icons Of The Sixties, which as a kid coming of age in the extraordinarily sucky Seventies I thought hideously overrated to begin with. It didn't help that my ex-wife was a stone Beatlemaniac. To this day, if a Beatles tune comes on the radio I'll hit the button for another station, and if it's one of those goofy wetbrained John Lennon songs like "Imagine", I'll hit the button twice as hard.

However, if you want to be considered an honest historian (as opposed to an ideologue or a propagandist) you have to give people their due for accomplishing great things, and I have been convinced by
Colby Cosh that the Beatles do indeed deserve credit for changing the course of rock music. True, they were following in the footsteps of Buddy Holly. But as Colby points out, the Beatles were the right people at the right time to change rock from something only kids listened to into something much, much bigger. I rather doubt that the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus", as Lennon once fatuously quipped, but they changed the way people thought about a lot of things, and that is what great people do.
Get the message

Yes, there is a war on, but...

...but it's not this kind of war. It's not even Vietnam or Korea. It has a lot more in common with the Indian Wars or the Philippine Insurrection, which raged quite bloodily (if episodically) while 99% of America got on with their lives, which in those days were mostly solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short by our 21st Century lights, especially if you were black, Hispanic or Catholic.

What set this off was Michelle Malkin and others taking umbrage at the Blogfather's snarky comment on the House passage of the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. Ace correctly notes that "There's a war on!" doesn't seem to interfere with Mazdablogging. catblogging, and other things not related to the war in Iraq, so why should it interfere with Congress doing the domestic policy thing? Good question.

As for me, whether the war in question is a big crusade or a splendid/savage little war, I think Senators should quit acting like spoiled brats and do the jobs we elected them to do. We're certainly paying them and their staffs enough money, to say nothing of all the perks.

And now the weekend

First of all, this book rocks, and rocks hard. I was a little surprised to see it out so soon, but very pleased.

On the agenda for this weekend: Arcana meeting tonight, moving day and Minicon post-mortem tomorrow, and I'm sure there's something else I'm forgetting, probably MinneTokyo. And on the seventh day I'm going to rest...

Today was largely a wasted day at work. It was sufficiently slow that I managed to finish We Few, which I had started over lunch and take a long afternoon break to retire my ATTWS account and transition it to Cingular. Now it's time to head on out to the Park & Ride, get the Kia, and come back into town for the Arcana meeting. Yay.
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