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Musically Speaking: Product or Artist?

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JJ Rocks Article # 250: Musically Speaking: Product or artist

A product usually refers to something that is not only useful, but also packaged and marketed in a way to get you to believe that you need it, and must buy it. Artists are judged mostly on their technique, creativity, and courage. And yes, sometimes they both have a nice marriage. Oh yeah, I guess you already figured out that the “product” stands for the words supply, demand, and greed. The word “artists” is a no brainer.

Maybe it’s all the name calling that pisses me off. Sometimes times you have a capitalistic bastard calling someone a “starving artist”, because they seem so wrapped up in expressing themselves that they appear to be headed for living on the streets. And other times there are over intellectual fools cutting down someone who is just chasing what they think is “the great American dream”. Well, at least that’s what they call it.

When I was growing up the great American dream meant a middle class house, a decent job that you liked that paid the bills with a little left over, and most of all, great family. I know it sounds like “leave it to Beaver”. But hey, that TV show was just a product feeding from the pockets of the great American dreamers. No one on my block lived like that. It was just another product. But like the Andy Griffith show, it’s still one of my favorites. But not because of its marketing value, only because it was like a “dream come true” when it comes to living a simple life.

Everyone had their chosen professions (except for the housewives of that era) and nobody seemed to own whole city blocks. At least not on TV. It was more about bake sales, Saturday night movies, and first kisses. To me, a true artist would have thrived in that environment. All they would need is a few weekend gigs, a handful of students, and if that wasn’t enough, they could always help Gomer down at the gas station. The only true “prophet of profits” was the occasional snake oil and elixir man that got Barney upset, along with getting all the old ladies drunk!

But hey! What about the person who is constantly searching for more than they need? I could never understand that. It has “hey, look at me!” written all over it. But of course, their excuse is that it’s security. Well how much security does one person need? I just keep picturing grubby little finger tips stroking piles of money as if it was their first masturbation. And of course that eventually leads to them screwing over anyone that gets in the way of their excessive habits and self centered behavior. As the smokestacks keep pumping garbage into our atmosphere, and bigger houses are consuming our beautiful landscapes, people who are in control keep turning their backs from the inevitable disasters as they happily skip and whistle all the way to the bank.

But let’s not forget that some very artistic and creative people also get their drive from dreaming about being rich and famous. Well, at least they are trying to leave something behind that will bring pleasure to the people of the future even if they are more concerned with filling their pockets. Fortunes are rarely remembered, but great music and pieces of art will never be forgotten. I guess it all boils down to where you want to focus your energy. You can try to be remembered for your selfless artistic contributions to society, or you can die a rich lonely person that probably contributed to its decline.

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