I remember several older adults during my youth telling me that TV rots your brains, and that rap music lets the Devil into your soul, where he swishes around your grey matter like jello. They may or may not have been joking with me. I was a kid, I didn’t listen to people talking. I remember a relative of mine warning me against Spongebob, because the show encouraged mean-spirited humor. If they had known what my favorite cartoon at the time was, they’d have been a little more concerned, I’m sure.
Honestly, that show is still really great.
As for music, of course I didn’t need to be told twice that you can’t spell crap without rap. Except for the occasional Run DMC track, I can’t stand the stuff. So that wasn’t a problem. Unfortunately, most of my soundtrack as a kid consisted of Nick Carter and his party-boy terribleness (I refuse to link you for your own good), the theme song from Survivor, and that song from the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars.
I’m not even kidding. I found them together on a mix CD a few years ago. The custom album art was a photo of my Greedo action figure.
But then I got good taste in music, and I started creating my own music as well (he says, shamelessly self-promoting). I think I knew, even three years ago – before my political metamorphosis into a crazy person who advocates for personal responsibility and positive attitudes – that culture was going down the tubes. It was only after reading Andrew Breitbart’s book Righteous Indignation and then Ben Shapiro’s book Primetime Propaganda that I realized it totally was going down the tubes… on purpose.
Perhaps the nefarious social agenda wasn’t pre-orchestrated, but the “push the limit” attitude was definitely prevalent in Hollywood and the music industry. I mean, come on, when we have top-ten hits about thongs and giant asses out of the 90’s, and some of the rap music today (pro-tip: he’s not talking about whistling) it’s almost as if they’re mocking themselves. Add onto that asinine movies targeting slapstick and bathroom humor at children (and I’m looking at you, every subsequent Shrek movie) and asinine movies targeting mindless, plotless violence at adults (I’m looking at you, Expendables) and you have a recipe for success.
It didn’t take long to realize that most content that achieved widespread success was also terrible. I suspect a lot of it was unintended – it just turned into one big contest to out-stupid everybody else. I’m sure a few contest winners are coming to mind. I’ll leave it to your imagination.
Then came an extremely easy, very ineffective solution, developed by people who disliked the stuff that was being put out out by mainstream content producers.
“Stop watching. Tune out.”
So the honest, authenticity-craving, truth-loving folks of America stopped participating in some of the most lucrative and influential markets in the world. The music industry. The film industry. The scientific community, too, but let’s not go there right now. The whole strategy was to get people to turn off their TVs and radios and reject the culture being pushed. The problem was, and still is, that nobody cared.
Those moving pictures and noise boxes are cooler than all tarnation.
But by rejecting this new medium because some people were pushing agenda-filled TV, it equates to a surrender. “Go ahead and have free reign over this new frontier. I won’t be able to see what you’re doing, because I refuse to watch it. Enjoy catching me completely unaware several years from now!”
Tuning out from bad TV is understandable, and I don’t blame you. I do it, too. But the problem is, there needs to be a secondary facet to that plan. A two-point plan to rival the many brilliant five-point plans from the Presidential debates.
Step 1: Stop watching the bad.
Step 2: Start producing good alternatives.
Seriously, guys. You need to rock out for what you believe in. It’s crucial. We can’t be telling people to stop watching crappy TV and stop listening to crappy music if we’re not giving them really good stuff to watch and listen to instead. Aspiring to be a filmmaker is not a crazy dream. Get out there and just do it! There’s a big market for quality content. Start releasing music that has positive lyrics and catchy hooks, instead of songs about strippers with a chorus lifted from an 80’s classic. Give them something good! People eat that shit up.
Asking people to stop watching bad content is like asking a tired nomad to stop drinking dirty river water; you had better have a glistening bottle of Fuji on hand.
That was a really bleak simile for TV viewers, I apologize.
I keep emphasizing TV because that’s the one frontier creative people are only just beginning to breach. Indie music has been around for years. Indie filmmakers have been seeing success for years. But there aren’t as many independent TV shows, mainly because the networks are so in the tank for absolutely terrible shows (it’s the only explanation for “The New Normal“) that they’ve forgotten what good shows look like.
LIKE FIREFLY. SERIOUSLY.
Luckily, there’s some seriously bodacious folks out there who are bridging the gap between the big bad networks and the dude with a camera. YouTube has become a staging ground for talented independent filmmakers. Felicia Day is a prime example, changing the stereotype of “fat loser gamers” with the existence of her awesome redhead self (fanboy ahoy) and her hilarious series The Guild, which delves into the secret life of WoW players. Another fantastic example is Olan Rogers, who has successfully proven that you can be entertaining without being vulgar. He’s produced some excellent short films on YouTube, and the quality improves exponentially with each new release. Bravo to you both.
And video games! Where are you guys even AT with those?
When a group of people is underrepresented within an industry, it’s not the industry’s fault. An industry is just a group of people; if you can’t manage to be successful because a group of people aren’t willing to help or accept you, then you must not really want to be doing that thing. the responsibility lies with you! Don’t let the mainstream crush your dreams. Olan Rogers was just a bright-eyed college student from Memphis, Tennessee and now he’s a well-respected YouTube producer. He’s not a demigod or an intergalactic emperor. He’s a guy. He just decided he wanted to make the world brighter through film.
Tl;dr… if we want people to stop ingesting bad content, we need to provide them with good content instead.