Too content with the status quo
0 comment Saturday, August 30, 2014 |
I came across this piece at Lew and it describes a cultural phenomenon that is part of America's problems.
Christmas Music: A Postmortem Reflection
Karen De Coster
While surfing the web recently, I noted that one Christmas music-hating blogger asks, "Why do I have to hear Little Drummer Boy on the radio over and over again?" The answer is fairly straightforward: the giganta-corp, media conglomerates turn out uninspiring, repetitive rubbish they think the dumbed-down listeners want to hear.
The problem with radio is that it is a government-controlled medium. It is government-regulated because the airwaves are considered to be a public good. Oh sure, the media conglomerates are "private" in the sense that they are publicly-owned corporations, but they operate on publicly-owned airwaves and are nothing more than government propaganda mills. They offer the public a service � superficially "free" music � and what you typically hear on their radio stations reflects the reality that there is no free-market price system to encourage a higher-quality, more diverse product.
So often, you hear people say they "hate" Christmas music � they are tired of the same old, repetitive songs that drive them batty year-after-year. This is because most consumers of commercial radio are content with the status quo found on the government airwaves. They don�t seek alternatives because radio, with all its talk, news, and music, is supposed to be "free." People are conditioned to believing that certain goods have to be public goods, and accordingly, the idea of paying for a competing product seems highly unreasonable.
Consequently, when we listen to the "all Christmas music" stations post-Thanksgiving, we hear ruthless renditions of Santa Baby and Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. Sure, these dumbed-down, pseudo-Christmas songs appeal to the inner imbecile in some � but not all � of us. The more immediate problem is that the recurrent comic relief being passed off as Christmas music suffers from an old disease known as "political correctness."
The real problem with the current crop of Christmas songs on the radio is that Christmas, and the music that goes along with it, has become politically incorrect. Christmas music, these days, has come to mean "holiday" music, minus the Christmas. The word Christmas, you see, has become taboo in a period where diversity reigns � except for when it comes to a traditional, Christian celebration like Christmas. The publicly-owned airwaves have long been expunging traditional, religious Christmas music in favor of secular tunes and clownish melodies that reflect a generic "holiday" theme. Of course, broad-category tunes like those can�t possibly offend those who celebrate atheism and demand that age-old customs be banished from the public airwaves. Thus we hear "safe" songs like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Happy Holidays replacing more conventional themes that center on the birth of Christ or the celebration of religious life.
You can expect to hear Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer at the beginning, middle, and end of the hour, and in between, Nat King Cole�s Christmas Song battles with some version, any version, of Winter Wonderland for most airplay. Nat King Cole, in fact, has a magnificent catalog of Christmas songs that never see the light of day due to their traditional flavor.
Only those songs with the secular, fluff lyrics are heard in the normal rotation, while the traditional, popular Christmas songs receive very little time on air.''
She is exactly right. It is all about dumbing down the 'holiday' music and making it as innocuous and neutral (no mention of Christ or Christianity) as possible, so as not to provoke the perpetually offended, or even the potentially offended.
This is a subject that I have brought up with a lot of people during the Christmas season over the past, say, five years. That's around the time when there seems to have been some kind of edict passed down that any religious Christmas song was banished from the commercial airwaves. Some of the people to whom I've mentioned this subject claim they haven't noticed anything different in our Christmas musical fare, but it's glaringly obvious.
I often wonder about how these things happen as if by some agreed-upon signal. The change seemed to be noticeable all of a sudden. Is there some kind of group mind in the media, so that all those executives are part of some kind of gestalt? Or are there directives passed down from on high, from the FCC or somewhere, that are not made public?
Why did the media suddenly decide that the old religious songs were no longer publicly acceptable, and only the bland, banal 'holiday songs' were fit to be heard?
I notice the trend accelerated after 9/11; did this all begin as an effort to placate the growing Moslem population? Or the increasingly vocal atheist malcontents?
The old news media insist on politically correcting their news and 'information', the entertainment outlets of the old media empire politically correct the 'entertainment' they present to us. But just as the Internet provides a less controlled, more demotic alternative to the old news media, satellite radio and the Internet offer an alternative source of music. The old media with their narrow and restricted content will, I hope, be superseded by the new media because the latter actually provides a choice.
The old media court the few at the expense of the majority, and this is true of the news media and the 'entertainment' media. One wonders how profitable this can be over the long term; would it not make more economic sense to go after the majority? Why is it suddenly practical or profitable to ignore the many in favor of a small segment of the population?
The majority of the population, unfortunately, are content to passively, uncritically accept the inferior products that are offered us. This seems to be a weakness of the American people these days; we acquiesce too easily, and are content with the pabulum that dominates the media.
And this is true in all areas of life; too many people are quite content with the dumbed-down selection of Presidential candidates who are presented to us as the best our country has to offer. Sometimes one wonders if the most unpalatable candidates are presented alongside the anointed one that the elites want to place in the White House, so as to make that pre-selected candidate appear more desirable.
It seems that whether we are talking about music or politics, we are too passive in accepting whatever is put before us. Until we begin to assert our will and exercise the power that rightfully belongs to the majority, we will be given only a Hobson's choice of inferior alternatives. We will get more of what we tolerate.

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