time to change the way we view music and the arts

Being Straightforward about a Complex So Godly

A postulate posed by a new acquaintance of mine inspired my line of questioning for today’s post. She was focused on characters in literature and I had responded with thoughts of my own, (which, incidentally didn’t have anything to do with literature, but used an analogy correlated through a television show,) but I did so because I saw relatable concepts and wanted to stir up thoughts. See the initial porposal and my response, respectively, below:

“the trouble with many fantasy and sci-fi novels is that the characters are often disconnected from the kind of meaningful relationships that are needed to motivate the heroism with which they inevitably act. They’re generally sorcerers/warriors/spaceship commanders who don’t have, like, families or ties to a specific community. They’re disinterestedly loyal to some abstraction like a cause or a god or a government, but they’re not embedded in the kind of social structures that would make such unswerving loyalty plausible.”

(Cit. Juliet Forshaw)

“…the first thing that came to my mind, as far as “possibly flat, and/or lacking familial motivation” in SF/F, is Doctor Who. …Question: Would a god complex be considered enough of a driving force, even without [implied/fixed] social structures, to make characters’ “loyal” actions plausible? Albeit not a good one, pride and self-serving reward can certainly motivate. Case in point? Doctor Who always has a “companion” traveler with him as he crosses time and space on an incessant “tour of the multi-verse.” Although, (as of recent series) he has developed familial ties and loyalties, until that occurred, aside from having a casual travel buddy, DW seemed to go from simple touring, to minding others’ businesses/problems; inevitably becoming said others’ savior for whatever issue they were having. The series even highlights this trend when all the Doctor’s meddling sets off a multi-dimensional war, with his death as the main objective. The point being, clearly the writers allowed for this intricate character to basically run amok, being “the go-to guy,” for countless un-related characters, with no immediate relevancy to himself. Now, because it is TV, tie-ins could be and were eventually made between many of these “random problems” to create overall plot. Yet had any of these single arcs been slapped down into a novel, or had the tie-ins not happened, I would be hard pressed to find a secondary reason for DW’s meddling other than a self-contained superiority/god complex.”

Well I’ve now come up with the same situation, only this time, off the tangent I created.

It’s been said before, and shown with past years of data, (too numerous to delve into) that music (and entertainment in general) are “… the second largest export of the United States is film[.]” (Cit.HERE)

Putting aside the meticulous counting of every American musician for just a second, an introductory commentary by one, Dan Blue, from the San Francisco Chronicle, nicely sums up any doubts you might have about this brazen assumption: /end sarcastic tone.

“Some theorists claim that music is a universal language which anyone can understand. After all, everybody, from students in Morocco, to merchants in Indonesia, listens to American pop.

Yet somehow the flow works just one way. Few Americans really understand Indian ragas, and the U.S. public for Chinese opera is pitifully small. The world may listen to American music, but Americans listen largely to themselves.”

Add on top of these ideas, documents like SOPA and PIPA and then throw in entities like The Pirate Bay, Limewire and Megaupload.

Here’s my disclaimer-less question, in all of its vague, open-ended and possibly explosion ensuing glory:

SOPA and PIPA and anything else like them, are (for the long and short of it) put out there to prevent/penalize any copyright infringement of the beloved music (and entertainment) anyone within the U.S. cranks out; usually committed by the three lovely websites I’ve mentioned above. As PIPA’s acronym implies, they are (supposed to be) serving as a tool to protect. So basically SOPA and PIPA act like the magic solutions that are meant to be the heroes, “save the day” and could have been voted to pass via America’s members of government.

I see two problems with this scenario. One comes in the form of a giant neon sign that flashes “HYPOCRITE” and another in the form of the “disinterestedly loyal” trait Forshaw mentioned before. Why do I see a massive hypocrite in SOPA and PIPA’s efforts?

If music is such a high export, so seemingly “everywhere” as perceived by the average Joe, and is so worth protecting that it warrants nearly blanket-level action by the federal government, why isn’t it worth protecting in process? And by in process, I mean in American school curriculums. There’s an uproar to protect all these finished products from people who could be illegally stealing and copying to infinity but damn it all to hell if we bother to remember that songs, albums, tours and bands don’t just happen.

If one day, every American pop artist forgot everything they knew about music and nothing played on the radio tomorrow morning, SOPA and PIPA “protecting us” from the Mega-Lime-Pirates becomes a moot point, doesn’t it? Because new material would cease to exist. So stop and argue with me if you think I’m wrong in saying, it’s extremely backward of the government to find protecting music a priority, when learning to make music is typically insignificant. It’s a massive show of taking things for granted yet again.

Furthermore, as far as Forshaw’s observations are concerned, if it weren’t for the fact that SOPA and PIPA were created through a group effort by the Recording Industry Association of America, I would see no connection to the affected industry in question. Just a large group of government individuals making decisions and taking action for a musical community, with which they have (to use Forshaw’s words,) “no ties,” making their motivation unfounded or questionable at best –at least from a cliquey point of view.

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