Rock is Dead II
I’ve brought up the “rock is dead” debate before in this space. The gist of this argument being that rock is just part of the menu of available musical styles and no longer strides the earth like a colossus.
Now, there is empirical evidence. Call the coroner and roll that big bloated bastard into the wagon. Don’t bother with the liver or lungs but the heart might bring a couple of bucks from collectors.
Don’t believe the diagnosis? Fine. Then explain to me how some beaten little might-have-been-a-B-side knockoff from Kurt, is the only thing with any real balls on rock-radio right now. How is it that a Nirvana tune from 1994, for chrissakes, shoots up the charts as quickly as the latest piece of “dirrty” jailbait teen crap? Why did the demure Courtney fight tooth and nail over this little table scrap?
The rock landscape is littered with punk-lite, the grandchildren of Pearl Jam and slick rock-rap that even Korn has given up on. “You know you’re right” rips up the airwaves because it has real, honest-to-god, soul. Even the kids know it when they hear it—they’re running out to buy the new Nirvana greatest hits CD in droves. They’re out buying Nirvana not because of Kurt’s tortured genius, but because there’s no rock out there right now that comes even close.
I’ve put in my time at this wake—I’m heading out to the opera.
Finally. The endless cycle of toadying and foot massages has finally paid off. A local high-tech company has realized that they can acquire my brilliance at bargain basement prices. I am on the eve of selling my soul to yet another corporate cheese maze.
This is a very good thing. I need that fucking regular paycheque badly. The awful truth of my total lack of entrepreneurial skills washed over and drowned me long ago. I have long since shed any shame associated with my inability to support myself by being a “self-starter”. Give me a task. I will perform that task. Give me some money for performing that task.
In my spare time I will use my mind. I only need to turn small pieces of my talent on at a time in order to shine at a day job. At home, I will write and draw and be witty. Why should I sully the purity of these personal achievements by trying to get paid for them? Art and commerce can be pretty nasty together.
Besides, the cheese maze is a nice small one in this case. It seems to have friendly and conscientious lab-techs overseeing it. They’re not going to test cosmetics on me or dissect me to tell the future. It looks like a nice comfy maze.
Give me that cash injection every two weeks! I will take it and shop at Old Navy and HMV. I will buy overpriced whole bean coffee. I will blow my wad at horrible, monopolistic bookstore behemoths. I will happily run with the sheep.
I embrace the machine warmly and openly.
I don’t think there is another experience available to me that makes me feel quite so white trash as taking my 6-year-old out to lunch at McDonald’s.
As I look around at the crowd of fellow grease-guzzlers a chill runs down my spine. What horrible things am I doing to that poor child across from me? What damage is being done to his nervous system by the (my paranoia assumes) chemical laden slop on the tray in front of us? I am a bad father and man. We could be in a park somewhere eating cucumber and cheese sandwiches on whole-grain bread with spring water. Bonding over the bounty offered by our natural world.
But no - we are stuck to a plastic booth that is slightly slick from the over 3 billion served just before us. As my child tears into the bag containing the latest cheap, transforming piece of happy-meal crap, I arrange our burgers and fries on the paper they were wrapped in—presentation being critical.
At some point, I actually hear myself say: “You can play with your toy once you finished your fries…” I trail off at this lunacy—doing a quick mental checklist of the fresh fruit at home.
I look up and around to take in the ambiance: bleach-blond moms in skintight jeans putting coke into baby bottles; a crack staff of dozens behind the counter that manages to be the slowest McDonald’s I’ve ever been in; the carpet of fries, discarded straws and ripped condiment packages; the bargain-basement “art” hanging off-kilter on the walls—the dull roar of sheep like patrons. A small but incredibly round—beach ball like—fuzzy-haired kid rolls by our table screaming: where is our order…WHERE IS OUR ORDER! His tone mounting with each recital of his mantra until his beleaguered father appears with a brutally over-loaded tray.
I look back at my little blond offspring across from me. One of his hands clutches and dips a limp fry into the little paper pill-cup of ketchup. The fingers of his other hand gently push and pull the transformer about two-inches—back and forth. He feels me watching him and looks up. A slow grin spreads across his face. “This is fun dad!”
I love coming here.