Listen quickly. That sound you don’t hear is silence, the absence of political ads, the lull before Christmas music becomes a 24 hour a day drone in your subconscious. But listen quickly because… oops! It’s already gone. The first strains of White Christmas are worming their way into my brain, replacing the cacophony of ads telling me how each and every candidate for office in our recent election was the spawn of a misbegotten mating between Satan and Hitler.
Even when I was young I appreciated the sounds of silence. Although music was supposedly my generation’s anthem to rebellion, given a choice I curled up with a book and enjoyed living quietly in my imagination.
Recently though, possibly in direct reaction to the horrible din of campaign commercials that seemed to be avalanching down Denali into my home with unceasing monotony, I decided it was time to listen to today’s music to see if the sounds were any worse than that coming from politicians.
What a rude and abrupt introduction to a world I think I was actually better off not knowing.
I unfortunately tuned into the music awards show to which Lady Gaga wore steak. Had I known she was going to wear sirloin there is every chance I would not have tuned in at all. But since I did, let me pointedly say to many, many member of my family… and I do mean you, little sis… that I do not want to ever hear any of you questioning my taste in dress again for so long as Lady Gaga gets to wear hamburger as a fashion statement.
And for goodness sake, why would anyone, even a lady wearing a meatloaf on her head, want to walk in shoes from which someone had apparently ripped the heels. I can’t have been the only one watching who wanted to rush up and catch her every time she tried to walk. I know I have complained for decades about the height and pointy-ness of women’s heels but the answer is not to simply take the heel off and then try to walk on your toes. If that’s what you want, take up ballet.
I pushed on past unfortunate beginning to the entertainment thinking there must be something I could appreciate there. But I have to say it’s hard to appreciate the words and the music when, in the middle of a song, a man pulls his pants off and is wearing what doesn’t look to be much more than a sock over a critical body part. Call me silly, but it makes it hard for me to focus on the words. On the other hand, it did go a long way towards explaining why music videos seem to cut and jump around so much. I assume they are simply afraid to focus on any one person for too long for fear of what we might see.
And then Justin Bieber came on and my blood sugar shot up to 1000 and I had to turn the show off. That little boy oozes sweetness and sugar to an extent not seen since Annette Funicello’s heyday. He seemed oddly out of place amidst songsters who celebrated a variety of words for the world’s oldest profession while explaining how they would use their time with said profession. And that, of course, led me to wonder which of those lovely songs about ho’s our younger generation will use for their first dance at their wedding.
So off went the TV as I hummed some Frank Sinatra tunes to cleanse my brain. I grabbed my latest Dickens novel and sank into bed exhausted.
The music from that show was apparently the best now available. I’m sure some of it was quite good and not all of it would make me blush if I actually understood the words. And honestly, all things being equal, it still beat heck out of political campaign commercials or Bob Dylan’s album of holiday favorites or the Chipmunks singing that Christmas time is here.
Given a choice though, I prefer to tumble down the rabbit hole created by writers whose own imaginations go beyond the boundaries of everyday life to places where I can wander free from the noise of gangsta rap or, worse yet, political rhetoric.
Thank god for books.