Beethead: Independent Growing in a Cultural Wasteland


I’ve been musing over creating a series where I can discuss cultural issues within this great state of Oregon (because we’re certainly not at a shortage) and today the idea descended on me like a group of offbeat music fans descend on that one guy who said he touched Alice Glass’ hand once at a concert a few years ago.

Pretty damn hard.

If you don’t get that reference, don’t worry – you would probably hate Crystal Castles. It sounds like a group of funky hunters artfully slaughtering a robotic gazelle composed entirely of computerized beeps and synth tracks.

But back on track, the first topic I want to cover in this series is an issue that everyone is aware of and probably has an opinion about – crappy media content. I’m talking about the endless, puke-green barrage of Shrek movies, the cancellation of Firefly, basically everything about the Kardashian family, and even the nightmarish idiocy of The Learning Channel.

Because really. Honey Boo Boo. I’m not learning anything, my IQ is plummeting.

It’s a plague everywhere from the music scene to Hollywood to the video game industry. Vapid songs about partying and dancing, Top 100 radio stations that play the same 12 songs over and over, terrible remakes of perfectly good movies, and video games that are dumbed-down to the point of button mashing.

It’s no wonder that indie producers are seeing increased success.

I’d like to see a lot more support for independent content producers. If we want to see content out there that is good, positive, and inspiring, we have to make it.

Recently I watched the movie Sometimes A Great Notion with Paul Newman. The movie tells a very simple story of an independent Oregon logging company that is accosted by the local logging union, focusing around one family and how it affects their lives. There’s no grand conflict, no superheroes, and no epic space battles. Yet somehow, this movie manages to tell an extremely deep and moving story that feels worthwhile.

Similarly, the cancelled TV show Firefly takes the time to invest in the characters, as does Doctor Who, leaving these shows as more than just a creative story and good pacing. There’s a certain depth that makes the show greater than the sum of its parts. Conversely, a show with huge funding and viewership like Once Upon A Time can end up being a show that somehow relies on gimmicks and badly-written dialogue.

It’s also the reason why the Syfy movie Alice was far better than the Johnny Depp nightmare of “Alice in Wonderland,” and why I suspect Tin Man will be far better than Oz: The Great and Powerful.

So let’s go out of our way to support indie products and producers, because they’re going to be the ones who save us from a lot of Twilight remakes when there are billions of good stories to be told.

Now eat your beets, they’re good for you. Until next time, stay healthy.


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