Consumption Junction: The Cultural Significance of Britney’s Ass

I caught this post on Tech Crunch and in light of the hilarity of the 2007 VMA’s recently I thought it’d be appropriate to expound my opinion on a couple of things (btw, my opinion is awesome). I’ll first address the Arousal Industry’s latest blundervestment: making ringtones available on CD and selling them as ‘Ringle’s.’ If you haven’t followed the rapidly declining sales of the dinosaur-wearing-gucci-industry into the rabbit hole of failure you’ll know that these gentle giants and habitual employment curtailers are scrambling for the next best thing to supplement their bottom line. For that they have thought long and hard while on the toilet, squeezing out a seared ahi and quail egg champagne shit as the collective stone was passed from urethra, chinking on the porcelain, inspiring the latest money maker – The Ringle.


To the uninitiated or layperson, basically the ‘Ringle’ will, “contain three songs: one popular track, a remix, an older track from the same artist and a ringtone.” The distro method will be a “CD with a slip-sleeve cover.” If you’re smashing your balls with a meat tenderizer right now (or if you are a female, feel free to smash your nipple or equivalent in a desk drawer) in light of that news, well, you’ve been paying attention to the comings and goings of the music industry. If not, don’t despair. This can still be considered one of those ‘what the fuck’ moments. The first of those will be a single from recently re-celebritized Britney Spears, her song; “Gimme More” is already testing really well in the major markets. Sony and Universal are going to pump titles into the stream this fall and they’ll be available at your favorite wallet raping store. The propensity for continued revenue loss in the face of continued bad decision making isn’t as appalling as the fact they’re going to sell singles by CD. CD??? Or is Britney’s gunt more appealing packaged as a pitch corrected ringtone. I dunno.



So now that your brain has come to a nice simmer and your eyes are bleeding a bit, drool slowly congealing somewhere on your shirt or blouse, hands limply at your sides, legs prostrate beneath you, a jolt of pop narcotic will bring you back. A shot to the jugular with a syringe full of excitement – a glass pipe filled with potent crystallized entertainment – a tincture of attention drawing, edge of your seat mayhem filled with blinking lights, celebrity and pageantry. For the kingdom of your brain we present the 2007 VMA’s. A nightmare ride into The Palms casino/hotel in Las Vegas for an amalgam of hyper stylized vampiric pop-lust orgy of coordinated chaos – presented by Chevrolet. That’s right. America’s car company. The company that brought you the Tahoe, and the tagline “An American Revolution.” AND John-fucking-Mellancamp leaning his jackboot on the fender of a truck while a montage of ‘life style images’ flood the screen. Look! Some sepia toned portraiture of African Americans that look doggedly low income smiling bravely for the high paid photographer, middle-American white folks ‘eating’ hot dogs, and team sports! Yes. Chevy has now taken it upon themselves to sell us cars by insinuating that this whole “save the world thing” is a punch line for some smog breathing fat cats with pockets full of cash.


Those genius marketers at MTV and Chevy teamed up for what they’re marketspeak calling a, “…Superserve Key 12-34 demographic with creative integration and multiplatform innovation campaign.” Essentially, they’ll use the power of their marketing muscle and advertising budget to sponsor something that MTV knows is well worth every penny for hooking new consumers. So they show a series of seemingly Eco-friendly spots. The spots are kinduh irreverent, edgy; MTV’s demo will totally jibe with this posish. (WOW 30MPG on highway! I can hear dolphins singing as baby seals swim in crystal clear water and unicorns shit rainbows).


This is part of MTV and Chevy’s “Break the Addiction” campaign, which sadly promotes the benefits of Flex Fuel or E85 and touts their continued development Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology. Want to know about E85? Click here.


MTV has always been the bane of my entertainment consumption. They’ve had some good shows and of course they used to play those dinosaurs of the entertainment dietary pyramid, THE MUSIC VIDEO but if the fact they’ve been dictating youth cultures taste in music doesn’t make you vomit your righteous indignation instantly, these commercials will. One example in particular is a scene of a young woman with dyed hair, fairy-winged, and glossy eyed. Hers is a character meant to exemplify some green friendly tree hugging marijuana addict blowing a tune into some plastic bottles strung together while a voice mockingly says something like “You can still save the environment without having to drive an ugly car you little sheep.”


And this brings me to Britney Spears ass. It has always been a shining example of slutty suburban chicks everywhere. Her ass is insignificant. Her music represents an industry’s reliance on tone corrected voices. It is robotic. She is ubiquitous. You could interchange her with Rhianna and only by ear you’d never know the difference. The reason she and Rhianna lip synced their shitty songs was because in the fantasy world MTV has made for viewers and the public, they’ve instituted a zero tolerance policy on imperfection. This is smoke and mirrors. It’s no wonder Viacom’s ad agency shares similar tactics as the US government’s agency that handles all of their “Be Army Strong” campaigns, or Chevy’s highly insidious and clever “Break the Addiction” campaign.


Britney Spears showed us all that you can sound like a robot, dance like a star in a giant production but if you gain just five pounds you can lose all credibility. She also showed the world our addiction to perfection through her socially imposed imperfections. Break the addiction of what? Oil? Bad performances and MTV? Soon we’ll see teen stars, weighing 90 lbs., chain smoking Marlboro Reds, eating a leaf of ice burg lettuce a day, while a Ringle from Mastodon plays “Holiday in Cambodia” on my sweet new iPhone. Chevy and British Petroleum will be champions of the Green movement and George Bush will go down in history as one of the most thoughtful presidents in history.


This isn’t science fiction.


This isn’t the future.


This is the perpetual “What the Fuck?”

Government of the Mind

Outsourcing torture.
Can you outrun the government of the mind? It’s all in the head, the diplomatic approach to talking yourself out of things. The kind of bravado reserved for youth and narcissistic types, who, at some point in the life cycle will put enough red tape into the daily affirmation of self-conscious behavior to sum up a personal coup.

That’s the distance put in place where your eyes see nothing but the self. Id is deleted. And where does the fight begin? It begs the question; what am I without my own backdrop, red carpet, limo chartered lifestyle? And is it set in place by the television, the media, the radio and Internet and advertisements that push skin? Its time to redirect our values, to move the congress of thought into a new paradigm. The one where fear is the reality of boredom.

You come home and turn on the lights after an hour long commute, listening to all the exposition on the radio or the ‘art’ of the music to your life’s soundtrack is based around. You identify – a thing that helps your justification of certain decisions like, ‘What would Calvin Kline do?’

Or, “Does this shirt make me look fat?”

Who decides and when does the order come down from the top administration officials?
How do you measure success?
You can’t outrun time! You only continue on a path that is wrought with danger and self-deprecation. And in the half-light of the evening, that blue glow of cathode rays from the television pulpit dictates your pattern(s).
A.) What to wear.
B.) What to eat
C.) When to wear it
D.) When to ingest it.

It’s a ritual based on culture – the culture of the corporation that has taken over your internal government. What will your peers think? What motivates their thought? You are insignificant so you compensate by posturing yourself to be amicable in all situations. Like a dog at your heels with a nose of shit, licking the hand that feeds in an attempt at intimacy.

We are the duplicates. Made of atoms, whispering individuality as a stage play based on someone else’s idea of what life is supposed to be. We are the lost. Emasculated by our mothers and wives.

Cut from the cloth of indifference.

Scavengers feeding on apathy. With a hidden agenda that makes us detainees of our own prison.

The gentle is our ghost of feigned chivalry…

There is No Band: a Rant

There is no band. It’s just hair and attitude. There is no band, just a pending record deal with a major label and a video budget of 50K. It’s true what Hunter S Thompson says (though he is referring to the television business): “The [business] is a shallow money trench. A long plastic hallway where pimps and thieves run free and men die like dogs. There is also a negative side.” And there is no scene. Just being Seen. Along with “Seen” politics. Aesthetic that dictates a degree of coolness. It’s like LA but without the diamond in the rough and all the free uncut coke one could consume, which to say is probably similar to every other locale with the exception of small town scenes, where the only escape from the monotony is music.

Whats up in your local scene?

Here’s what a typical bar band with delusions of grandeur go through in a typical 12 month or more cycle.

You have spent the last 12 months rehearsing a handful of songs that are super fun to play in the practice space. You have played a few really fun shows with bands in your scene, who through sheer goodwill gave you an opening slot on a few occasions. The kicker is tenacity…And that insatiable lust to perform loud music for little or no pay. “Living the Dream” as they say. Your ‘friends’ only show up after you send an email notice 12 hours before while IM’ing with one of your ex-girlfriends about the new Joy Division movie that’s coming out. (cause no one fliers anymore, laziness and the ubiquitous myspace generation engender apathy in the most ambitious of bands)

Load in sucks. The promoter isn’t there and you are informed that the promoter doesn’t usually show up until sometime after ten. Course all the work friends that won’t show up anyway would have been bummed as they could’ve spent their time and money at a bar closer to more white people.

You’ve got that one sound guy from that one club who used to do doors at that dive. You know he will undoubtedly fuck up your mix and then give you attitude when you ask him how the balance is. No one is coming to the show. There is no band. No one cares if your mix is bad cause they’re too busy blubbering drunken nonsense at the bar, drinking over over-priced beam and cokes, bleary eyed and 5 bucks short of another drink cause of the cover charge for a band(s) they have no desire to watch.

Reminds me of that one guy who wanted to save the entire scene single-handedly. The hope of stupidity wielded like a light saber against a much younger and more agile sith lord. I think it all came to light watching Patrick Stumpf from venerable shit rock act, Fall Out Boy, sweat his way through a set at Live Earth NYC. Aside from looking like a mutton chopped Chris Farley sans mustache in ‘Da Bears’ SNL skit, his voice sounded like total shit for a song he’s probably sung a billion times. People don’t make any assumptions as to the value they can get because music, as a product has succumbed to being a commodity, as all products do.

They (read: Al Gore) used music to sell the ‘moral’ pledge of us humans need to save the world from global warming. It’s great! I can get behind the cause, ride my street bike everywhere I go, use canvas bags when I shop at trader joes so I can be entered to ‘Win Money to Shop’ at Trader Joes. I’ll turn off the lights of a room when I’m not in it, unplug the fans and iPod charger when they’re not in use so as not to draw power from the grid. I’ll watch all these fucking assholes on Sundance channel, Robert Redford included, when they talk about On The Green and how great it is to be part of the ‘green’ movement. Like some wine stained turd down the toilet of a failed generation of people who turned in their ire for 401k plans and mini-vans.

Its good that conservation is tres chic now. It’s good that people can make money from it and its good that bands, those soapbox standing carnival barkers, can affect some modicum of change in their mindless audience.

There is no band. And the scene is just a diluted body of stagnant piss water, pop shit bubbles to the surface and the pure, raw, charcoal rock of creativity from folks like Planes Mistaken For Stars, sink to the bottom, to soak in obscurity, watching ten years of ‘trying’ puff out like a match in a head wind.

There is an upside to all of it though. Some folks are lucky enough to make it to that great gig in the sky and will find themselves underwhelmed by the vacuity of sharing a stage with a half dozen other contenders of the dwindling attention span.