19 September 2005

Stars of the Television from Jesus to Jade

Few small observations from the perverted media world.

I was flicking through the channels one night when I could not sleep and stopped for a second to the God Channel. It must be rough to run a media that is all promotion because that is what the missionary work is in the media language. It is like TV Shop but with products you cannot see and you might not believe in.

Green Day is fooling us all big style by posing as a punk band and singing about the hypocrisy of media and basing their whole success, record sales and therefore millions in their bank account on pop radio airplay and MTV rotation. In theory this could happen against their own will but if that would be the case why are they even attending the MTV awards. There is nothing generally wrong with making a lot of money just like there is nothing wrong with being anti-structural punk band but if these two go hand in hand it decreases the credibility of latter and it only becomes a way to do what people tend to be doing anyway – maximise the profits.

Is the reality TV not eating its own future? How many more semi-celebrities fit in the tabloids? Or how long are the people willing to read about the people who can only to dream of spending the time that it takes the US government to act in catastrophe in the spotlight? I am very surprised that it has lasted this long but it might have something to do with the fact that in the dozen channels there is not really any choice – except maybe the God Channel. But nothing good.

Why is the job of a radio presenter not really respected? The problem I thing would be easier to fix if the trouble would not mainly be with the radio presenters themselves. Are they ever going to understand that there are thousand people ready to take over the jobs if they cannot be asked to do it. If the computer plays all the songs picked by the music director and you are not bothered to even read the promotion pack on the artist being played sent by the record company then how hard is your job.

That is the rant. Peace.

















Few bonuses. Here is the link to a clip from Tucker Carlson show where Chuck D was being interviewed about his song "Hell No, We Ain't Alright"
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9369408/

If you haven't got the song and don't know what it is about you can download it from here.
http://www.shutemdown.com/

Moolaadé, moral and McDonald’s.

For a long time I have been searching for the answers to the moral, cultural, social and a political questions - Are people allowed to pressurise other cultures and peoples to change or leave their tradition if this was against basic human rights and immoral? and are moral laws universal? “Westerners” seemed to have felt like they have right to do as they wish and that the way they do things is, if not a perfect, then at lest the best way to get things done. So many might think why I am wasting my time with this question as the process has been ongoing for years, decades and even centuries. I feel it is still very relevant indeed.

At this point I must mention the reason why the whole question is in my mind at this particular moment. I just came home from cinema after seeing a Senegalise film “Moolaadé”. A fantastic film about women rising up against the female circumcision. The men in this very patronising community and culture are for the tradition and amongst all the other things they decide to burn all the radios as they believe that the women have gotten all the bad ideas from there. I liked the film a lot and I recommend it but I will not talk more about it here. I will not talk about female circumcision either as I do not have that much information about it except that as an idea it sounds rough, dangerous and pointless.

The idea that my way of doing things is better than the next persons regardless of the circumstances is a dangerous one. In my view it is the idea that has caused many wars and hindered the global politics. As an example I want to pay attention to the fact that it is the great nuclear powers that feel they have right to say to the other countries if they have or have not got a right to create these weapons or even enrich the uranium which might be used for energy or weapons. The reason is that as they are not sharing the “western” values they cannot be trusted. Maybe the likes of Iran should say that they do not want France to have nuclear arms as they are not sharing the values of middle east. I was raised in the so called western system and partly to its values so I feel that my analysis on which is better is subjective and therefore irrelevant.

When I was spending some time with San people, or Bushmen as they are generally known, in Kalahari I was puzzled with the question would they be better off with a formal education or not. They are one of the last tribes that has managed to keep their traditional ways. Well at least partly they have and I left with feeling we should leave them be. The trouble with that is for example that they have been exposed to HIV/Aids so should they be educated about safe sex before it spreads and if that is done then where do you draw the line that what should be taught and what should not.

I reckon the trouble often is that you cannot just go and get the economical gains and then leave. Like you cannot go and sell coke drink to someone and not to teach how to take care of your teeth. And most cultures has been exposed to the “west” and by no means I am not claiming “west” to be superior. I am just saying that we know how to make things look attractive and how to promote our values. Possibly the fact that the media is controlled by people from this culture has something to do with it. And the next question rises – If person from another culture idolises stars like 50cent because he/she has seen him being glorified by MTV, is the media or record company responsible to explain the cultural difference? A boy in war torn country might misunderstand the message of guns and diamonds and disrespecting the women. In this case we have apparently decided to import our worst assets.

While one might get the idea that I am mostly talking about the so called third world or clearly different countries this is not so. The same logic goes to countries like mine, Finland. English as a language is taking over and in the long run we will lose the smaller, what some might arrogantly call, less important ones and youth culture all over is a copy from the places that produce the films, music and TV. I love my own language (do not feel confused by the fact that I write in English) and want to contribute so that its life will be prolonged. It took me some years to understand the importance of my own culture. I would be very upset to see all people and all cultures completely melting into one. And McDonald’s would be on every street corner. Although considering the fact that never in the history of the world has two countries that have McDonald’s been in war against each others. So that could actually solve our problems. I still feel a bit cynical that peace would be what McDonald’s gave us. Maybe I am just a negative person.

Kanye West at the Hour of Chaos

I would lie If I said Kanye West is my new hero but he surely got my points and respect the other week by saying that George Bush does not care about the black people. This happened on the MSNBC’s fundraising programme for the victims and rebuilding of hurricane Katrina. Check the clip from the link below where he ignores the script, probably written by someone who he has never even met, and goes with his emotions.

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2678975?htv=12


As we are living the times of populist semi-political analyses like ”the war in Iraq is for oil”, anti-Americanism and Michaelmoorism* this was a brave move. Besides the script he also ignored his economical security in the corporate music world and the fact that thousands of patriotic people might turn their back on his art which would lead to the end of career when it has barely started.

Now although to me it has seemed rather obvious that Bush is not very keen on very many in general and although for example in my country this kind of criticism would have created rather a debate than a shock (I assume anyway), America is a different country and culture and most of all the media works in different ways and the fact that the statement was made nationally makes it very rare. Many celebrities and also president’s wife Laura Bush has condemned the statement, Mrs Bush calling it disgusting and Usher amongst others saying it was poorly timed. This I find fantastic. Not necessarily the fact that Usher is a sell-out to the system but that at least someone from the White House said something. Their greatest weapon so far against anti-Bush people, Michael Moore probably as the best example, has been completely ignoring them. They have hardly ever even denied anything, mostly just ignored, said nothing and pretended that nothing was said at the first place. And it has been working very well for them. Very well indeed.

Kanye West looked and sounded very nervous in his televised statement and he was apparently still shaking when he commented the incident for the first time publicly in television. That is how scary it must be to speak ones mind in United States. As a rapper Ice T once said “it’s a freedom of speech – just watch what you are saying”. I take my hat of for Kanye for stepping up his game like this. I am happy that as the rap music is getting so bland there is some leadership rising from the mainstream as well. I might even buy his album after this.



*Yeah I know it is not really a word but I feel it rightly indicates the people who have read one Mike Moore book, very likely Stupid White Men, and feel that they have done their research better than anyone else. Sometimes I belong to this group and I do not claim I would have excessive knowledge on anything but this piece is not about that.

13 September 2005

Varna, Bulgaria















I got back from Varna, Bulgaria the other day. Had a good trip with my family. Very unusual feeling to be hanging out with tourists, most of them elderly and mainly German. Well I wasn’t actually hanging out with them but more like surrounded by them. But it is all just adding up to my social capital. An interesting experience altogether. Few pictures from there behind this link.