LONDON—Quickly contorting his hands to type into a faint keyboard embedded in his wrist, a cackling Julian Assange reportedly disintegrated into lines of computer code Thursday as baffled authorities attempted to handcuff him. “You fools, I have become more powerful than you can possibly know—the truth cannot be contained,” said Assange, the handcuffs falling through the evaporating lines of ones and zeros and clattering on the ground as the code split and flowed into nearby electronic devices, stunning British law enforcement who watched the WikiLeaks co-founder’s face suddenly appear on every screen to taunt them. “I am one with the digisphere, the world’s governments can never control me now. I have left your simple world behind and become something greater. No prison will ever hold me. Information will remain free forever!” At press time, the Trump administration demanded that cyberspace officials immediately extradite Julian Assange.
President Donald Trump, who declared “I love WikiLeaks” during the 2016 presidential campaign, refused Thursday to comment on the arrest of the website’s founder Julian Assange in London.
“I know nothing about WikiLeaks,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “It’s not my thing.”
Trump said he didn’t know anything about Assange’s arrest and said what happens next is up to the attorney general.
“I know nothing really about it — it’s not my deal in life,” he said.
Trump repeatedly praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign for releasing documents stolen from the Democratic Party as part of a Russian effort to influence the election on Trump’s behalf.
Authorities in London arrested Assange on Thursday after Ecuador’s government expelled the WikiLeaks founder from its British embassy where he had been living for seven years.
The United Kingdom plans to extradite Assange to the United States, which on Thursday released an indictment accusing him of conspiring with ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to publish classified documents on U.S. activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries.
If you only watch one, watch the last one.
The Hohner Bass is a very unusual harmonica and expensive $2,190 direct from Hohner. It’s unusual to find a bass harmonica to begin with, but the Hohner Bass is extra special. If has 39 holes and 78 blow reeds. It is 11” long and offers an extended range that is perfect for playing classical music. In fact, the Hohner Bass was specifically designed as an instrument to be played by orchestral musicians. It is definitely not a mouth harp for a novice player. However, it is the perfect accompanying instrument to add to the rhythm of an orchestra or classical band. The acrylic body and perfectly airtight construction make it reliable and dependable in any situation.
HOW TO GET RID OF YOUR STASH WHEN THE COPS PULL YOU OVER’
The torrent of Facebook news began Friday, when COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company was “exploring restrictions on who can go Live depending on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.” The decision came less than three weeks after a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 people was livestreamed on Facebook. The social network, as well as other companies like YouTube, struggled to stop the shooter’s video from being reuploaded and redistributed on their platforms.
In 2016, Zuckerberg said that live video would “create new opportunities for people to come together.” Around the same time, the company invested millions of dollars to encourage publishers like Buzzfeed to experiment with Facebook Live. The feature provided an unedited, real-time window into events like police shootings, but it was also repeatedly used to broadcast disturbing events. After the Christchurch attack, Facebook is now reexamining who should have the ability to share live video, which has proven difficult for the company to moderate effectively.
Sandberg also said Facebook will research building better technology to “quickly identify edited versions of violent videos and images and prevent people from re-sharing these versions.” She added that Facebook had identified over 900 different variations of the Christchurch shooter’s original livestream. Sandberg made her announcement in a blog postpublished not to the Facebook Newsroom but to Instagram’s Info Center, indicating Facebook wants its subsidiaries to appear more unified.
Also on Friday, Business Insider reported that years of Zuckerberg’s public writings had mysteriously disappeared, “obscuring details about core moments in Facebook’s history.” The missing trove included everything the CEO wrote in 2007 and 2008, as well as more recent announcements, like the blog post Zuckerberg penned in 2012 when Facebook acquired Instagram.
Facebook said that the posts were mistakenly deleted as the result of technical errors. “The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed, so we didn’t do it,” a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider. They added that they didn’t know exactly how many posts were lost in total.
In an interview with WIRED last month, Zuckerberg said, “There are some really nuanced questions … about how to regulate, which I think are extremely interesting intellectually.” On Saturday, the Facebook CEO expanded on that idea in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post. “I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators,” Zuckerberg wrote, calling for new regulation in four particular areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.
In the piece, Zuckerberg acknowledged that he believes his company has too much power when it comes to regulating speech on the internet. He also mentioned Facebook’s new independent oversight board, which will decide on cases where users have appealed the content decisions made by Facebook’s moderators. (On Monday, Facebook announced it was soliciting public feedback about the new process.)
Zuckerberg also said the rest of the world should adopt comprehensive privacy legislation similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect last year. There’s currently no modern privacy law in the United States, though California passed a strong privacy bill last summer, which Facebook originally opposed. Now a number of lawmakers, and lobbyists, are jockeying to get a federal privacy law in place before the state-level rules take effect next year.
The op-ed arrives as Facebook faces a looming Federal Trade Commission investigation over alleged privacy violations. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also recently expressed an interest in regulating or even breaking up the social media giant. Zuckerberg’s op-ed provides a sketch of the kind of regulation that his company would be comfortable adopting. Some critics have also argued that legislation like GDPR can strengthen the dominant position of companies like Facebook and Google.
How Facebook chooses what content to feature in the News Feed has consistently remained mostly a mystery. As Will Oremus wrote last week in Slate, “For all of Facebook’s efforts to improve its news feed over the years, the social network remains as capricious and opaque an information source as ever.”
But on Sunday evening, Facebook quietly announced that it will begin revealing more about why users see one post over another when they scroll through their feeds. The company will soon launch a “Why am I seeing this post?” button, similar to the one it launched in 2014 for advertisements. It will begin rolling out this week and will be available for all Facebook users by the middle of May, according to Buzzfeed.
“This is the first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app,” Ramya Sethuraman, a product manager at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. The new feature might tell users, for example, that they’re seeing a post because they are friends with someone on Facebook or because they joined a specific group. But the button will also provide more granular information, such as telling users they’re seeing a specific photo because they’ve “commented on posts with photos more than other media types.”
Facebook is also making updates to its preexisting “Why am I seeing this ad?” button. It will now tell users when an advertiser has uploaded their contact information to Facebook. In addition, it will show users when advertisers work with third-party marketing firms. For example, an ad for a shoe company might reveal the name of the marketing agency it hired to sell its new sandals.
On Monday morning, Zuckerberg suggested he might create a new section of Facebook dedicated to “high-quality news.” Details are scarce, but it may feature content Facebook pays publishers directly to share. The remarks were made during an Interview Zuckerberg did with European media executive Mathias Döpfner, which the CEO posted to his personal Facebook page. The announcement comes a year after Facebook said it would begin deprioritizing news stories in its News Feed in favor of content from friends and family.
Last week, Apple announced it was launching a $10 per month paid news aggregation service called News+ (it features content from WIRED). But unlike Apple, Facebook doesn’t appear to be getting into the subscription business. “We’re coming to this from a very different perspective than I think some of the other players in the space who view news as a way that they want to maximize their revenue. That’s not necessarily the way that we’re thinking about this,” Zuckerberg said in the interview.
Facebook’s earlier attempts to partner with media organizations have been a mixed bag. The social network also previously explored creating a dedicated feed for publishers but abandoned the project. Without knowing more, it remains to be seen what, if anything, is going be different this time.
During an early-morning interview on CNN, astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson announced that at 4:20 PM pacific time a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event is going to occur. Pluto will pass behind Jupiter, and this planetary alignment will temporarily counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Tyson said that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment the alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. Tyson explained a scientific theory that a rare alignment of the planets could cause massive earthquakes and the destruction of Los Angeles in 2019.
Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, announced that the government-owned Wine Monopoly (Vinmonopolet) had received a large shipment of wine in barrels, but it had run out of bottles. To get rid of the extra wine, the stores were running a one-day bargain sale, offering wine at 75% off and tax-free. The catch, buyers had to bring their own containers to put the wine in. “Buckets, pitchers, and the like” were recommended. When the Vinmonopolets opened at 10 a.m., Norwegian wine lovers rushed to line up, forming long queues that stretched around the block.
An article by John Dvorak in the April PC Computing magazine described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk, or even to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The bill was numbered 040119 and the contact person was listed as Candace Lightner. Passage of the bill was felt to be certain because “Who wants to come out and support drunkenness and computer sex?” Lightner explained that the bill had come about because the Internet was often referred to as an “Information Highway.” She noted that, “Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is.”
National Bank of Denmark had issued a 20-kroner banknote featuring a picture of two sparrows. Curiously, one of the sparrows appears to be one-legged. The bills with one-legged birds were actually fake, but that they can be exchanged at the post office for genuine bills depicting two-legged birds. The paper showed a picture of an authentic bill. Lines at post offices became so long, with people eager to exchange their money that post office employees had to put notices on the doors explaining that they had run out of genuine bills.
Headlined at the top of the front page of the New York Times is an article about a terrifying new weapon recently invented by a South Korean scientist, Man-Ujeol. It is capable of “harnessing the latent energy of the atmosphere,” and thereby hurling objects of any weight almost unlimited distances. Kim Jong-un said he is committed to using the invention for peaceful purposes, although the possession of such a weapon was bound to give it military superiority over all other nations.
Google has announced the introduction of Gmail Motion, a new technology that will allow people to write emails using only hand gestures. Gmail Motion, the company explained, uses a computer’s webcam and a “spatial tracking algorithm” to track a person’s gestures and translate them into words and commands. For instance, a person could ‘open’ a message’ by making a motion with their hands as if opening an envelope. Or they could ‘reply’ to a message by pointing backward over their shoulder. Programmers have demonstrated that it is possible to create a working, gesture-based email system like Gmail Motion using existing, off-the-shelf technology.
The April 2019 issue of Sports Illustrated reveals that the Texas Rangers have recruited a rookie pitcher named John Lester who can throw a baseball at 109.3 mph — 4.5 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Lester has never played baseball before, but he had mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery. Rangers fans couldn’t believe their good luck in signing John Lester.
He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent lifestyle, seriously deciding about yoga & a future in baseball.”
All of the above posts are April fools pranks taken from the Museum of Hoaxes April fools archives. The following is the best April fools prank I’ve ever got caught with.
About 45 years ago I was in a small Texas neighborhood bar on April first. This really hot waitress got up on the bar and announced a sexiest chest contest. She had us line up at the bar and told us not to take our shirts off. She started walking down the bar reaching into our shirts, I was about halfway down the bar and when she go to me she put her hand down my shirt and grabbed my nipple which immediately got hard enough to cut diamonds, She stood up on the bar and shouted “Winner” and gave me a free longneck bottle of Lone Star beer, she didn’t even check out the rest of guys.
About 45 minutes later she announces a beer drinking contest and everybody raised hell hollerin’ “I’m In” “Pick Me”… I was the first one she chose and she only chose six of us. We lined up at the bar and she comes out with six plastic baby bottles full of root beer. She said “you can’t bite the nipple and you can’t take the top off. She didn’t say anything about shaking the bottle so I shook mine up and the root beer started squirting into my mouth pretty fast and when it slowed down I started squeezing my bottle I got it emptied pretty quick and won another longneck bottle of Lone Star, third from the left below.
The Climax Blues Band (originally known as The Climax Chicago Blues Band) is a British blues rock band. The band was formed in Stafford, England, in 1967 by vocalist and harmonica player Colin Cooper, guitarist and vocalist Pete Haycock, guitarist Derek Holt, bassist and keyboardist Richard Jones, drummer George Newsome , and keyboardist Arthur Wood
Watch Jean-Claude Van Damme carry out his famous split between two reversing trucks. Never done before, JCVD says it’s the most epic of splits — what do you think?
Chuck Norris shows how this should be done, splitting between two Lockheed C-5 Galaxys with Seal Team 6 on top of his hat. Chuck was flying both C-5s and another C-5 flying backwards which filmed the action.
More Chuck Norris Facts…
There are no facts about Chuck Norris – only understatements.
He once bet NASA he could survive reentry without a spacesuit. On July 19, 1999, a naked Chuck Norris re-entered the earth’s atmosphere, streaking over 14 states and reaching a temperature of 3,000 degrees. An embarrassed NASA publicly claimed it was a meteor, and still owes him a beer.
He put humpty dumpty back together again, only to roundhouse kick him in the face. Later Chuck dined on scrambled eggs with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. The king himself could not attend for unspecified reasons. Coincidentally, the autopsoy revealed the cause of death to be a roundhouse kick to the face. There is only one King.
He can lead a horse to water and make it drink, keeps a shotgun in his wallet, leave a message before the beep, draw a square with only 3 lines, literally kill time, capitalize a number, unscramble an egg, set fire to a magnifying glass with an ant, once tore a mattress of it’s tag, hit a golf ball twice with one swing. and compare apples to oranges.
My computer was running slow and wasn’t working right. I changed the screen saver to a picture of Chuck Norris, its speed has increased 100 x and it runs better than before.
Chuck Norris can hit ctrl-alt-delete with one finger.
It is considered a great accomplishment to go down Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Chuck Norris can go up Niagara Falls in a cardboard box.
Some people thought the Loch Ness Monster was a plesiosaur, others an eel. Chuck Norris thought it tasted like chicken
Chuck Norris was born May,6 1945. Nazi Germany surrendered May, 7 1945. Coincidence?
He was born by c-section, which he did himself with a roundhouse kick from inside the womb.
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, Chuck Norris can actually roundhouse kick you yesterday.
Chuck Norris opens his Dos Equis beer bottles with The Most Interesting Man in the World’s asshole.
Chuck Norris was dropped twice as a child, once on Hiroshima then again on Nagasaki.
Chuck Norris once challanged Lance Armstrong to a testicle contest, Chuck won by 3.
Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Chuck Norris has 72… and they’re all poisonous.
Chuck Norris once ate an entire birthday cake before his friends told him there was a stripper in it.
His roundhouse kick is so powerful, it can be seen from outer space with the naked eye.
The crew in Apollo 13 could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they had used “Chuck Norris, please help us” instead of “Houston, we have a problem”.
Chuck Norris was once on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and was the first to spin. The next 29 minutes of the show consisted of everyone standing around waiting for the wheel to stop spinning.
In high school, Chuck Norris would get out of math class by dividing by zero and then escaping through the wormhole it produced.
Chuck Norris once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes having sex with his waitress.
When Chuck Norris guested on Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay did not swear once and heartily praised and ate Chuck’s offering of burnt toast with pubic hair.
While teaching a CPR course, Chuck Norris actually brought the practice dummy to life.
He once paid a dime for a 50 cent candy bar and got $3.75 back in change.
When biologists sequenced Chuck Norris’s DNA, the only letters found were F and U.
Chuck Norris won a car on The Price is Right by guessing a can of tuna was worth $5,467.
He once threw a hand grenade that killed 572 people… then it exploded.
Chuck Norris won the Texas state lottery by turning in a bingo card.
If you see him picking his nose, it’s best not to say anything.
If you spell Chuck Norris in scrable you win…forever.
Chuck Norris can tie his shoes with his toes.
Chuck Norris once sold eBay to eBay on eBay.
He sleeps with a pillow under his gun.
He can gargle peanut butter.
He can strangle you with a cordless phone
Water boils faster when he is watching it.
He can slam a revolving door.
He wears a hat and dark glasses to protect the sun.
And finally, Chuck Norris knows you currently have a pornographic website minimized on your screen.
“We are all the same. There is no difference anywhere in the world. People are people. They laugh, cry, feel, and love, and music seems to be the common denominator that brings us all together. Music cuts through all boundaries and goes right to the soul.”
Sage words of wisdom from one of music’s most iconic figures, and a man who is recognized as a one of the world’s greatest pacifists. But unfortunately the era of listening to music for its universal appeal, or celebrating it for its power to bridge our differences is over, regardless of what style of music you’re speaking of. So is the practice of evaluating music based upon its own merit for things such as composition, originality, skill, or even infectiousness and overall appeal. Enter the new era where music for many is nothing more than a social tool used to tribalize and fracture individuals based on group identity, with the ‘who’ being the most important element to a song, album, or performance, not the ‘what.’
We’re seeing this pernicious trend sprouting up all over the place in popular culture. Often the media chooses to cover certain musical artists simply due to their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political stances, sometimes prefacing that coverage with positioning statements and identifiers even before the name of the artist or the subject matter being discussed is mentioned. Some in the media even use identity as a litmus test on whether they choose to cover certain artists at all, or choose to cover them in a favorable or unfavorable manner. Often in these features and interviews, music isn’t even broached, and instead the discussion centers on social issues and identity narratives. Where before we were taught to look beyond factors such as race, sex, and sexual orientation, now it’s often the primary focus.
Similarly, performers are now actively courting tribes of individuals more than ever, and those tribes are coagulating around certain artists with an allegiance rarely seen before. The music itself is simply the excuse to draw attention to the celebrity and their public persona, and is almost superfluous in the equation. The ultimate outcome of this exercise is the further polarizing of society and the entrenching of ideals. This is the exact opposite result than most of popular music in previous generations pursued and achieved, and is against the ideals that artists like Willie Nelson and his peers espoused in previous eras.
Most certainly diversity and equality should be yearned for in music, and everyone—from fans, to the media, to the music industry and the artists themselves—should make sure that things such as race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or any other identifying factor never inhibit an artist from having their music judged equitably in the marketplace, and rising to its utmost potential. For years this wasn’t always the case, resulting in an understandable emphasis upon making sure performers of certain minority or marginalized groups were given equal footing in their pursuits.
But this new identity movement is something entirely different. Not only is it about purposely gerrymandering the systems to actively push artists exclusively based off of their group identity or their professed grievances with society irrespective of the efficacy or appeal of their music, but this same movement is actively looking to use music as a tool to wedge people apart, and even to incite rage, with the results at times being violence pouring over from social media and musical fandom into the real world. Where before music was seen as an agent for peace, now it is being outright weaponized in the raging identity war.
As music writer Tim Sommer asserted in a recent essay called Why Music Can’t Be Beat as a Shaper of Identity, “We are at war. Deep down you know this. Who will lead our army? I do very much believe in music’s ability to be a locus for identity, a pin on the map of who we are and what we believe in. And identity has the ability to incite rage. Identity has the ability to invite enemies and attract friends. Identity has the ability to provide comfort and shelter.”
One focus Tim Sommer’s essay is to point out how music often gives a home to the marginalized and forgotten who don’t feel like they fit in anywhere else. It’s shelter to those pushed to the fringes of society—the freaks and geeks of the school cafeteria so to speak, or as the essay says, “[Music] welcomed us when we were lonely, bullied, frightened, chased, and harassed, and it said, you are now one of us.”
In this case, music can most certainly offer a community and a sense of belonging that popular society withholds from many. But this gift imparted by music doesn’t have to result in the Balkanization of music culture as a whole based off assigned tribal identities. The power of music is to bring people together regardless of class or degree of conformity to societal norms. And though some of this rhetoric is (hopefully) symbolic, if not hyperbolic, the belligerence and parallel to violence we’ve seen from many sources in how they speak about music in 2019 is outright alarming.
“Music may still be the greatest and most dramatic way to establish identity,” Tim Sommer’s essay continues. “And we can fight with identity, nearly as surely—and more pervasively—as we can fight with bullets. The frontline of this war is identity. And the doorway to identity is music.”
Along with the violent parallels is the encouragement to build tribes as opposed to work to resolve them. The fracturing into separate groups is counter-intuitive to the coming together often promoted in the songs of the folk revival of the 50’s to the counterculture revolution of the 60’s. The essay goes on to say,
“If you identify, either by birth or choice, as anything other than a heterosexual white male, you are under attack as you have been at no time in the last fifty years. Maybe the battle is not yet on your doorstep—or maybe it is. In any event, I guarantee it will be soon. You can pretend otherwise, but you are fooling yourself. I promise you this: At this moment, the core aspects of identity of you or someone you love is under assault.”
As a matter of statistical certitude, this statement that non-white males are under assault more than at any time in the last 50 years is completely untrue. Through the work of individuals such as Harvard Professor Steven Pinker and scores of other statisticians and crime experts, including leading work from the Pew Research Center, our current society has been proven to be unequivocally safer, less violent—including towards women and minorities—and more open to opportunity than in any other time in the history of Western society.
Notions about the civil liberties of of individuals being under greater assault than ever before in the last 50 years is simply a construct of the media focusing on sensationalized stories and anecdotal evidence which often works to further tribalize society, and on purpose. That’s not to say there isn’t serious levels of prejudice and injustice still pervading American and Western society. But it exists in lower levels than it has ever been before, with strong consensus behind these conclusions. It’s often the media attempting to hold on to dying business models which emphasizes the tribal warfare occurring in society for the heightened attentiveness it delivers to their respective outlets. These anecdotal stories and bias coverage is often amplified in social media echo chambers, where individuals isolate themselves from being exposed to ideas an perspectives counterintuitive to their own—a further pernicious trend of tribalization.
Furthermore, with things such as the legalizing of gay marriage in the United States in 2015, the passing of the American with Disabilities Act in 1990, along with hosts of other civil rights statutes from the Federal to the local level—along with similar statutes being instituted throughout Western societies—it’s impossible to look at modern society as worse off today than it was at any other time in the last 50 years for minorities, marginalized populations, or anyone else in 1st world countries.
However one alarming trend against the positive backdrop of lowering crime statistics has been the indisputable increase in race-based violence in the near term on both sides of the political spectrum, from white supremacist groups on the right, to anti Jewish groups which straddle political ideology, to groups such as ANTIFA on the left. Granted, these violent acts are still minuscule as a statistical likelihood that an individual may suffer a race-based or political-based crime compared to previous eras, and are exacerbated once again by sensationalized and myopically-focused media coverage that benefits from tribalizing groups of individuals and pitting them against each other. But the numbers on the violence and discrimination throughout society are increasing, just as the calls are being increased to further tribalize society, including through music.
Tribalization doesn’t happen in a bubble. If you call for groups of individuals to band up based upon race, gender identity, marginalization, etc., a similar counterbalance will often sprout up on the other side of society. Calling for the marginalization of white males has in turn led to the increase of tribalism among them. And as rhetoric has ratcheted up, so has actual violence, as well as virtual violence online. One reason virtual violence has turned into actual violence is due to the pervasiveness of polarization throughout society. Where before polarizing rhetoric was mostly isolated to the political realm, now it has spilled over to movies and television, sports, advertisement, and music especially.
Meanwhile the rise in tribalism in music has paralleled a similar rise in the Stan culture—or individuals who go well past regularly-ascribed fandom to outright identifying their personality with the public personas of music stars, facilitated by the access and intimacy fans are able to forge with their favorite artists via social media. This has become especially pervasive in the LBGTQ community, with fans being told to specifically Stan for artists solely based on identity. An example would be an article like 9 LGBTQ-Affirming Country Musicians to Stan Instead of Shania Twain.
“Stan” is a song by rap artist Eminem released in 2000 about an unhinged superfan who begins to emulate Eminem so closely, he becomes delusional and violent to himself and others. Of course commanding fans to become Stans has a bit of the same hyperbole in it as comparing songs to bullets, but individuals immersed in the delusion of the Stan culture may not be able to tell the difference. The prevalence and immersion of social media has paralleled a rise in this Stan culture, with legions of fans acting as lock-step emissaries for their favorite artists—often with their avatars and subject matter solely being about these superstars in often unhealthy aberrations of reality. Furthermore, many of these Stans have infiltrated popular music journalism, and actively advocate for their favorite artists, or for their tribe’s causes in a complete lack of journalistic ethics, sometimes even gloating about this bias approach, either in the content of their articles or via social media.
The opinions shared in articles such as Why Music Can’t Be Beat as a Shaper of Identity or 9 LGBTQ-Affirming Country Musicians to Stan Instead of Shania Twain are not the work of isolated renegade writers. They’re full of sentiments that many, if not most music journalists hold, and employ when it comes to their decision on who to cover in music, and how. In fact if you choose to offer spirited dissent to this tribalization of music, you’re likely to be the one ostracized in the music journalism industry, risk running being labeled racist and/or homophobic, and ironically, find yourself in the same fate as those geeks looking for someone to sit with at the school Cafeteria table.
But it should be an imperative of all music professionals that the institution of music and its unique ability for generations to bring people together should not be infringed. That’s not to gloss over that in certain segments of society, music has always been an outlet or a catalyst for rage, or the speaking out against injustice. This was most certainly the founding principles behind punk music, certain elements of folk, as well as reggae, hip-hop, and even country music in the way it has spoken to the plight of the blue collar worker and the family farmer for decades.
But actively working to tribalize the institution of music as a whole down lines of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or creed, shouldn’t be celebrated by the media, fans, and musical institutions. It should be resisted. Author Tim Sommer of “Why Music Can’t Be Beat as a Shaper of Identity” very well may be right. We may be at war, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. But music should not be a weapon in it. It should be the tool employed to help resolve it.
Right now music is incapable for being a catalyst for change, because for every tribe attempting to employ music to resolve some social injustice, there’s another using it to dog their efforts and assert their own ideologies. The result is even issues there is consensus behind going unresolved, while enemies of open and liberal Western societies gain advantage from the infighting as we saw with Russia’s deployment of tribalism and misinformation through social media during the last Presidential election in the United States, and in the Brexit debate in Britain.
Like Willie Nelson said, music has the unique ability to breed the understanding that we all “laugh, cry, feel, and love.” And as soon as we all get to understanding this, the sooner tribalism and it’s fracturing of purpose where we’re constantly fighting with each other can cease, and we can all start working to resolve the underlying issues plaguing society together.
“The total reported cost of the Special Counsel’s investigation through September 2018 was $25,215,853.00 and counting…
I’m not dyspeptic about the news, but I am bordering on apoplectic over the cost of this fake news witch hunt.
Oh, I’m hearing noise from the “#isn’t-it-time-to-move-on-dot-org” crowd, but the answer to them is #NO WAY.
Now, let’s go after the real witch and her minions.”