I’m So Specail
I read an article in a Greenpeace magazine quite a while ago, but there was one concept in the piece that stuck with me. In the article the writer was defending Greenpeace’s use of motorized vehicles, which could in turn could be loosely associated with helping destroy the environment that Greenpeace is sworn to protect. The writer’s response was something along the lines of, “our work is so important and with the almost unlimited resources of the cooperate giants that are being used against us and the world at large, we need to use any resources that is at our disposal if we are to have any chance of making a difference.”
Now promoting a local band or organizing show dates for a band’s tour, might not be as important as saving the environment from the thoughtless expansion of international corporations, but I think most people in these situations feel that they should be using whatever resources they have available to them. These days, this usually means the Internet.
Gone are the days when one could keep track of things like all the new bands starting up, blossoming authors, or even movies that are coming out. In America there is a nationwide glut in all creative markets. Never has there been more competition for things like bands, artists, and writers. We are a nation of overeducated people that were all raised to believe we were all special and would grow up to be rock idols and movie stars. When this didn’t happen and we quickly found out that we couldn’t get a job that even paid a fraction of what our parents made, and even if we could, things like houses were going for six times as much, we had to turn somewhere.
For most of Americans you either just give up, or you follow some dream that is usually focused around your creative desires and skills. This article concerns the latter group.
So I have my new, fill in the blank: Band, Book, Art Collection. Now what do I want to do? Well, I would like to make it go somewhere, promote it, and dare I even whisper out the possibility…make money off it. But when I look around, I see that there are thousands, make that tens of thousands, or maybe hundreds of thousands of people that want to do the same thing, because here in America, no one is average and normal, right? We are all gifted and special and everyone needs to be showing off their special projects. Everyone is an individual and deserve to be special, isn’t that what we were always taught?
So in this flooded marketplace full of competition, what can I do? Turn to the Internet of course. So this is what people do. “I’ll start a web site. I’ll network.” These are fine ideas, but when was the last time you looked up a band that you had never heard of or bought jewelry from someone you never met?
I think the World Wide Web is aptly named, for that is what happens if we are not careful, we get sucked into the web. Did spending a dozen hours online do me more good than using those same twelve hours to actually work on my projects?
There is a point to all this. We can now keep in touch with our friends across the country and the globe and make connections with strangers we would have never met otherwise and that is… well good and fun and all that, but in the end what is the cost?
Are we sacrificing local connections and energy to stay in touch with people we rarely see or may never meet? How much does the local scene suffer because of all the creative time and energy that gets used to promote and communicate over the WWW? Sure it can be useful for things like promoting shows and booking venues, but how many hours are being eaten that could be spent meeting people that actually live near you? People that you could meet face to face?
When I was younger, I knew a man named Terry Trash. He told me something that I will never forget. “If you want to have a scene, a strong scene, it involves people hanging out. Not in bars or restaurants, because they suck our resources dry. To have a strong scene people need to hang out with each other at houses.”
Whether you agree with Mr. Trash or not, it is easy to see that the trend has moved away from that sort of communication and contact. Oh shoot, I just remembered that I was supposed to visit my buddy Tony Ballz, but I’m not sure I’ll have time because I need to check my email, update my Face Book, and check out to see if anyone responded to my spew of the three forums I wrote on today.