The Day the Music Died...but not my Everlast Batteries

It always made me a little bit angry when a song I loved was used to sell a car or a toothbrush. I had my own associations with the song and now those associations are ripped away from me. What used to make me think of hard times now makes me think about an extended cab or cross bristle technology.

Then I saw an interview with Moby. I didn't really have any associations with his songs but he said something that deserved some meditation. He sold his song to GM or Ford or something. He said at first his punk rock roots told him not to sell the song, but he knew that if he said no, they would just use a two bit impersonation of his song that would be easy to make. So he opted to sell the motor company his song and take the 150,000$ and donate it to the exact foundations that were trying to bring down the aforementioned companies. Props. I liked it. So here's the conundrum.

It still, had I had associations with Moby's songs, robbed me of my interpretation. After all, what is music for. If "Wind Beneath my Wings" is used in a Jet Blue commercial, Beaches won't make me cry anymore. This is a form of defamation. Why hasn't anyone sued? The song is being used in the opposite manner it was originally set out for... but wait, what light from yonder window breaks? Wasn't it created to sell records in the first place? Good point young sailor, but I argue not. See Tom Waits. Quality Art is not made to be profitable. I need to refocus. This tree branches erratically.

Which is it? Take the profit from selling your songs and put it toward the better-ment of all humanity, an acceptable charge, or leave the song be, for the better-ment of all humanity?

I owe this post to Modest Mouse and the song Gravity Rides Everything which has been used ineffectively in a car commercial. Ineffectively because I can't remember what company it is.




Aren't we missing the point? What kind of shoes did Jesus wear? What kind of a tree did the Buddha really sit under? Isn't this what ruins religion? The real rules, God's real chosen people, the acutal ten commandments, Moses' age, the length of Samson's hair, the leaf that covered Eve's breast that fell from Buddha's tree.

It always baffles me that we are so ready to talk about abortion and homosexuality and other controversial subjects before we have dealt with ourselves. Shouldn't we have had that existential moment that changes our lives, that makes us act differently to the world before we deal with these topics?

The things that come to my head are amazing because I am enlightened. Can you see how this is doesn't make any sense. You negate your following sentence. No one who is enlightened tells the world that they are enlightened. People only preach things that are in question. No one is screaming their head off about the sun rising tomorrow because it's not doubted. It's a given. Do we gain respect by commenting on superfluous topics? I think Mel Gibson is wrong. I think Mel Gibson is right. I am enlightened.



The Girl With the Pearl Earring

No, I didn't read the book. Maybe I should have before I saw the movie. I felt that my understanding of Vermeer would suffice.

The movie is filled with scenes of the beautiful Scarlett Johansson perching her lips and acting subservient, starring at Vermeers paintings secretly and being surprised when someone sneaks up on her. It must have happened eight or nine times throughout the movie. You're constantly waiting for something to happen. It doesn't and thats not all together bad. Vermeer's mysterious reputation is left intact. He is disturbed, distracted, and dis-something else, fitting most of the steroetypes attributed to artists. I suppose my expectations were too high. I was hoping the movie would make the paintings of Vermeer more beautiful or poetic as the case may be. I like the spin on the painting's origins and the small story that follows. It's a creative idea that puts the painting into context.

The movie's cinematography is exceptional. The cold silver blue walls and the dramatic Chiaro-scuro lighting are amazing, and come to life when splashed with the occasional bright red chair or glowing yellow shawl. The movie helps you to see the world as Vermeer did.

But, like Total Eclipse (the movie about Arthur Rimbaud), the movie focuses on the relationship Vermeer has with the girl in the painting. There are a couple of scenes where Vermeer gives us some small insight into his paintings. He asks Scarlett what color the clouds are. She first responds white, but upon closer inspection she answers yellow and grey and brown and white. There is another instance where Scarlett looks at the painting and says the colors are all wrong and he explains to her how they are only base colors that will be layered with glazes of blues and yellows. But all in all, I feel that Vermeer would be disappointed with the movie (as would Rimbaud). At the end of the movie there is a long still shot of The Girl With the Pearl Earring that reminds us to never make a movie about an artist or his paintings. There are certain things that can not be improved upon. Vermeer's paintings are one of them.