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"Being Cool"

The three stages of  popular arts and styles are: 
1. Cool, 
2. Corny; 
and 3. Retro. 

Popular art first goes through a Cool stage, 
when it's new and "in". 
People want to be associated with it 
If they don't get it, they pretend they do. 
It makes them feel hip. 

As soon as it's "out" it enters its "Corny" phase. 
People start to make fun of it. 

I heard Carson Daly on the late night show 
making fun of the band "Chicago". 
"Chicago" is far better than any popular music out there today. 
They are accomplished musicians and singers. 

The musical groups Carson has on his show are pathetically amateur, 
and should be quarantined to protect public mental health. 
He wants to appeal to the young audience. 
He wants to appear cool. 
It's his only talent. 

I guess "Chicago" has entered the Corny phase... 
and so, possibly, have I. 

After a while things aren't Corny anymore. 
They become "Retro" and are hip all over again. 
This is handy for writers and designers who have no new ideas. 

Corny is in the eye of the recently born. 
We can't judge singers, writers, comedians, and actors 
out of their time. 
The good ones have been copied over and over 
until the original seems corny. 
Material that struck a chord in their time, 
often means nothing to today's audience. 

I like to follow a singing, writing, and musical performance 
back from influence to the influence before that, and so on. 
Sort of like genealogy. 

A lot of today's country singers don't realize 
they are second or third generation offshoots 
of Lefty Frizzell or George Jones. 

If there were such a course as Popular Art Appreciation, 
it would include trips back to the roots of what's happening now. 
Show 'em where they got it. 
It would help the new guys stay on course. 

The Pop music of today is at an all time low, 
and that's not easy to achieve 
considering "Sh-Boom Sh-Boom". 

When the non-music of today passes from "in" to "out", 
it will be really corny, 
and correctly recognized as dumb. 

Many of the current Rock bands use only one chord, 
and everybody's out of tune, 
especially the lead singer. 
They leap spastically around the stage 
with less sincerity than professional wrestling. 
It's embarrassing, 
but I don't think they know it. 

I can't imagine a brain weak enough to fall for it. 
But, there they are, 
in large numbers... 
young idiots wearing their pants around their knees, 
going to all night raves, 
racing their cars on city streets, 
disrespecting their parents, 
having more sex than we did, 
and saluting the flag with one finger. 

Soon they will run the world, 
unless we are allowed to hunt them. 

Copyright  August 17, 2005 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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