Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A Crack at NPR?

Reality came to NPR today. For two decades, NPR had been busy building a media "empire". They were never happy just being a simple TV format for state-educational channels. They worked hard on big companies to get involved in NPR....and donate massive funds. The game was simple....move away from cheaper productions, to a very upscale production. On the radio side....they kicked most of the classical music, opera music and jazz...off. Some of the old simple shows stayed around...but the majority of their shows were news orientated....as if we didn't have enough of those.

Today, we learn that 65 folks were laid off from NPR....in what is likely the "first wave" of several we may see over the next two years. Of the group let go today....that most of us might recognize? Linda Wertheimer, Noah Adams, and rural affairs correspondent Howard Berkes.

The contributing factors? High-priced journalists that helped to hire more high-priced journalists, who helped to hire more high-priced journalists. If you had looked over at NPR five years ago....you would have asked why so many news programs? Why not more folk music or jazz? Frankly, the boys lost their compass and their orientation. They didn't realize the public really had enough news.

What happens a year from now, as more funding disappears? Some of these guys are going to accept salary cuts....say three to five percent....to have a job. To be honest, there just aren't going to be more journalist jobs out there. If you gaze across at the newspaper empire and the TV market....everything is downsizing...so they are in a dead field.

The sad thing....is that they had some special magic back twenty years ago....and lost their way.

Rock Me Over Gitmo

Today, the news boys came out with a new item. They have the music listing of what the Gitmo guys use on the prisoners there. In the last twenty-four hours, all of these musicians and news players....have jumped on the wagon and are now calling this usage of music as TORTURE.

I looked at the listing:

"Enter Sandman," Metallica.

"Bodies," Drowning Pool.

"Shoot to Thrill," AC/DC.

"Hell's Bells," AC/DC.

"I Love You," from the "Barney and Friends" children's TV show.

"Born in the USA," Bruce Springsteen.

"Babylon," David Gray.

"White America," Eminem.

"Sesame Street," theme song from the children's TV show.


They had some other bands, which were used lesser in nature: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Don McLean, Lil' Kim, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tupac Shakur.

These folks are pretty serious about their criticism. The news guys claim that some of the prisoners attempted to bang their heads against the wall....and some contemplated suicide.

I sat there and finally pondered enough on the issue....and I realized the impact of the accusations here.

Basically, folks were always right....rock causes mental damage, suicide tendencies, and freaks out some folks. Yes, the guys dumping criticism.....must be right. There is a terrible thing underway here. We need control. We need limits on rock. We need to bring reality back into our lives.....and dump rock.

I realize this is burning the heart and soul out of some of you. Those of you who grew up with Bruce Springsteen are likely very hurt by my comments. Obviously people have used the terrible act of rock music to torture people. What if the Gitmo folks had used Shakespeare or Hemingway? What if the Gitmo guys had used Plato or Socrates on these terrible terrorists? What if they allowed my blog to be read daily by these prisoners?

America, we have to wake up. Simply a bit of Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard, would have been torture to these poor Islamic guys. They aren't used to such things. They might be severely hurt just by the Bee Gees.

And as I turn....all of these musical devices that our kids are carrying around.....pumping out music left and right? Torture? Self-torture? Yes.....with no doubt. We are becoming a very sadistic society, bringing torture to school each day and sharing it with our buddies. Or when we drag in a Louie Armstrong CD at the office.....we are sharing torture. Or when we have some hot gal on our arm and we are playing some Bette Middler....its a form of torture.

So as I sit there.....listening to Oak Ridge Boys.....I'm thinking torture. As I'm playing some Spanish opera music.....I'm thinking torture. As I'm playing some Greek flute music......I'm thinking torture. Thanks to those kind folks who noted all this Gitmo stuff....I can see clearly now. Well....maybe not as clearly as I was seeing a day or two ago.