The Assassinated Press
Live Earth: Infantilized Culture Puts a Band Aid On the Earth’s Boo-Boo.
Material Girl's Toxic Waste.
By Yaso Adiodi
The Assassinated Press
The bottom line is the popular music that characterized the Live Earth Concert and holds sway over most of western culture is itself geared to planetary destruction its message notwithstanding. As any mass consumer product it is uniquely and globally destructive no matter what sentiments it expresses. Its message is irrelevant because a more central and sinister message has made the messenger celebrity of pop culture possible.
Forget the private jets, the electrified instruments and the otherwise conspicuous consumption on the part of the, and I use these terms loosely, ‘musicians’ and ‘artists.’ First and foremost they are celebrities, elites, and so there aren’t enough of them to even consider the hypocrisy of conspicuous consumption. Far more damaging is the message they send and not the one that screams do as I say not as I do. Without their conspicuous consumption they would be the Cuban tennis team. Without celebrity and its trappings, there would be no Live Earth Concert.
It’s the neotony, the infantilized nature of popular music and the popular arts in general that are responsible for the planet’s destruction.
At first glance, what got the Live Earth performers to the stage in the first place was money. Money means they ipso facto have mass appeal and encourage consumption. The reason anyone was invited to perform at Live Earth was because they performed so well for the capitalists and capitalism is the very system that has destroyed the planet in the first place and has demonstrated that it has neither the mechanisms in place nor the will to save it. Popular music’s contribution to the acceleration of Global Warming is the rampant production of thumb sucking shit. The role of the popular arts in the planet’s destruction is first and foremost the arts e.g. music itself and only secondarily non-biodegradable CDs and their covers. If the audience wasn’t a bunch of infantilized morons in the first place made that way by a lifetime of mass media stultification and material consumption, there would be no need for Live Earth nor celebrity for that matter.
Of course, capitalism’s hole canard is science and technology. They’ll tell you, no system does science and technology better than capitalism and its technocrats. But is this true? When haven’t global industrialists, world imperialists, used the coupling of science and money to justify transforming the planet into transitory objects of consumption under the rubric of “improving our lives” when that improvement is and can be shared by a few only and often has had a conspicuous downside? What’s changed between the rhetoric of Progress of the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century and the Madison Avenue swill of today except the global nature of the pitch? Now, with consumption pushing against the global paradigm pollution is far worse than it has ever been and utterly irreversible while the current dominant species remains on the planet.
And I use mean ‘global’ or ‘nature’ except to express the hopelessness of the situation given capital’s natural temperament which in all fairness it has done little to conceal historically Madison Avenue agitprop aside.
And what about science and technology? Clearly, the advance of previous modes of science and technology have brought about the very environmental impasse Al Gore and his baby music buddies now find themselves in. What’s more, as the scientific community is eager to point out, most of these scientific advances that have led to planetary pollution were not created with the intention of doing so. They were created for ‘mankind’s benefit’, even the killing machines, and, if you don’t look too hard or travel too far from your hotel room in some LDC, you can witness that benefit all around you. If you’re a baby music pusher, the rewards must be irresistible ‘cause, baby, I don’t see much resistance. The destruction of the planet was a cumulative effect of the ‘unintended consequences’ of the objective, yet somehow limited, nature of science. Of course, that is largely a crock of shit. Is it nay prize that the legal term for ‘willingly’ or ‘knowingly’ is ‘scienter’. The term which comes from the Latin pretty much sums up the bewildering lack of responsibility accorded scientific discovery.
Advancing the technology behind mass media has been one of capitalism’s most lucrative projects. Running parallel to the technology has been a conscious effort to define, package and recreate at will mass appeal. The reason is obvious. A mass market means enormous profits. It also means getting everyone going in the same direction even if you’re advertising team is telling them their rebels and individualists even as you lead them by the nose. It means taking your cultural forms all the way back to the formative years when bright colors and simple shapes dominated the consumer’s world. Simple like music with two chords and forced rhymes.
Every one of the acts at all of the venues for concerts like Live Earth require high levels of mass appeal and this is determined by the mass consumption they create. The context of this mass appeal is a reflection of theories and projects created by people hired to advance corporate interests. In the eyes of Madison Avenue a Bon Jovi ditty is the same as a Lockhead Martin commercial. They are both sources of revenue.
It’s just naturally assumed that popular music for instance was co-opted early on by corporate interests because they saw its mass appeal and potential for profits. But, in reality, popular music even in its purest forms e.g. a kid out of the Texas dust bowl singing ‘gut bucket’ at honky tonks or four boys crooning acapella on a street corner in Philly was precluded by a concerted effort to infantilize the population by those hired to enhance corporate interests. The rock and roller is just as much a victim of this economic infantilization as his audience.
This effort to create regression in the population has perfect synergy with the rise of mass communications. What’s more the technological advances could hide behind scientific objectivity and thereby avoid responsibility. William Shockley the creator of the solid state transistor vital to contemporary sound amplification was a eugenicist who believed blacks were innately inferior. On the social science side, Edward Bernays proposed ways to mass brain wash populations using his techniques to encourage women to smoke in the twenties and to abet U.S. imperialism in Latin America and elsewhere. Its no surprise that the Third Reich adopted his principles of population control while solidifying their power or that every American politician uses his techniques in his campaigns and policy making decision. Every speech contains the double whammy of Shockley’s device of voice amplification carrying Bernays’ formulations for agitprop.
So when the U.S. press brags about how ubiquitous American popular culture has become world wide (an estimated 2 billion people watched Live Earth), they are simply pointing out how much capitalism has penetrated and destroyed older and wiser cultures with the promise of returning everyone to their momma’s tit before they had any responsibilities. Any infantilized pop lyric, I don’t give a shit how heartfelt is going to be subject to and coded with the conditions of capital’s infantalization project . The fact that Madonna or Bon Jovi are conspicuous consumers is irrelevant in light of this. More important than their personal response of consumer hypocrisy is the fact that they are producers of infantilized culture which perpetuates armies of infantilized consumers consuming more and more infantilized product. As celebrities they see this not only as a business opportunity, but at some level feel that that celebrity places them in a unique position to be stewards of the environment. And babies as stewards of anything spell disaster.