Monday, January 21, 2008


A friend of mine recently produced an album for a band from the Midwest and more recently participated in an intervention for the band's NYC-based manager, who has had difficulty kicking his latest binge. From what I could gather, my friend's role consisted of driving the 50+ year old guy to the airport and sending him off to detox in the presence of his 20-something age band. It's a story that I like to think is indicative of the next era of music making where the habits of the music business of the late 1900's are brought back to reality by the music makers themselves, but that's prolly just the rose colored glasses talking.

Anyway, my friend was taken by surprise with a comment made by the manager's wife, who rationalized the crisis in terms of good television. "Just imagine the twist," she says to him, "A reality T.V. show about a rock band where for one episode the band nurses the manager back to health!" She comes by the idea honestly: she has worked closely with her husband who has had past success producing film and television (reality shows) before embarking on the job of managing kick-ass bands.

She probably has some other ideas for her husband's recovery but regardless, her comment is further proof for anyone who still needs it that the future has arrived. From here on out, we should expect an ever-shrinking line of distinction between natural human responses and what is seen on television.

Dire as that might sound, I have to think it can't be all bad. I'll at least consider that in suggesting her husband's detox as a reality show episode, this woman is exhibiting a creative, proactive outlook in her dedication to her husband's health. Certainly he would feel the love in where she's coming from. The effects of television as an agent for human change might prove more penetrating for them than the average therapy session.

We may have much to gain from the uses of reality t.v.... greater insight into human behavior and more imaginative and exciting ways for people to participate as we kick drug habits, have babies, get married, get laid, make a living, foster hermit crabs, legislate, and so on. It seems reasonable to think, too, that we'll develop a completely different criteria by which we seek and participate in the creative act.

But I also think that as humans become more comfortable with the ease of divulging one's guts to a microphone, camera, or live audience, we will lose some things. In a response to this problem, a man named Driver Jim is in Louisville, Kentucky at this very moment working on a manual to help people speak to each other once e-mail and technology has destroyed our ability to communicate in person.

I better step down before my soapbox cracks beneath my genius for stating the obvious.

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