One night a few weeks ago, a group of twenty-somethings came into the bar where I was working and headed for the jukebox. It’s digital, which means it’s not curated, which means I immediately felt the familiar knot of dread form in my stomach that’s always accompanied by seeing young people approach the jukebox. It usually means my ears are about to be violated by a string of cheesy Top 40 songs for the next hour or so. Sure enough, Taylor Swift’s voice invaded the room, and some members of the group started singing along. Proudly. Feeling no sense of shame for doing something that, fifteen or twenty years ago, would have gotten them laughed out of the bar. And this wasn’t the first time I’ve noticed this recently. While grocery shopping a few days ago, a shopper started singing aloud to Adam Levine’s latest tragedy that radio tells us is a song. Where’s the dignity!? How can these people, people who moved to a neighborhood because of its supposed “cool” factor, not know that singing along to whatever is saturating the airwaves is one of the uncoolest things they could do?
Shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice” trick viewers into thinking that having a pitch perfect voice is the only skill necessary to be a musician. Content, a message, is not a priority. Imagine if Neil Young needed Simon Cowell’s approval in order to get the label backing necessary to become a known musician. And can you picture Kurt Cobain nervously standing in front of Adam Levine to find out what he thought of his cover of “Man Who Sold the World?” If relevant rock ‘n’ roll were more accessible, I wouldn’t care what goes on in the talent show circuit. But corporate media has made intelligent music scarce, and what does exist is nearly impossible for the masses to hear.
"The core premise of the act was to eliminate restrictions on firms moving into other communication areas - for example, phone companies moving into cable television and vice versa, or long distance phone companies moving into local service and vice versa - and then to eliminate as many regulations as possible on these firms’ behavior…And the one media sector most thoroughly overturned by the Telecommunications Act has been radio broadcasting. The Act relaxed ownership restrictions so that a single firm can own up to eight stations in a single market. In the twenty months following enactment of the new law, there has been the equivalent of an Oklahoma land rush as small chains have been acquired by middle-sized chains, and middle-sized chains have been gobbled up by the few massive giants who have come to dominate the national industry. Since 1996, some one-half of the nation’s eleven thousand radio stations changed hands, and there were over one thousand radio firm mergers."
“Rich Media, Poor Democracy,” by Robert McChesney
Power: (n) The measure of an entity’s ability to control their environment.
Revolution: (n) 1. Activity or movement designed to affect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation. 2. A fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something.
Evolution: (n) 1. Growth. 2. A process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance.
Knowledge is power. By educating ourselves on how our everyday actions affect the world, we can start governing ourselves rather than trusting the government to do so. Through signing petitions, protesting, making smarter purchasing decisions, getting involved in our communities and just informing ourselves and those around us on what the mass media won’t tell us, we can start a POWERevolution. A revolution that will hopefully lead to our evolution as a human race into one that protects our planet and our youth rather than allowing them to be exploited for profit. One that sees the value of integrity, wisdom and compassion and the transciency of wealth and celebrity. A race that doesn’t wait for the government to solve all the world’s problems (because it won’t), but solves them ourselves instead. So let’s get to starting the revolution… follow the blog to find out how you can be a part of the POWERevolution.