If it's THAT good, why do you have to advertise?
So I've been thinking about this off and on for the last couple of weeks. As is often the case, Girlygirl and I got into a couple of pretty good discussions during a longish car trip down to stand guard while my Dad had his hip replaced*. OK, trips for hip replacements don't happen that often, in fact this is the first, but the discussions on car trips are common. Sheesh. Literalists.
One of the things we discussed, but which I may revisit later, is why women, by and large, do not Rock. We personally know a couple who Rock locally, and there are a few in the world at large that do it famously, but really hardly any in the grand scheme of things. Worse, why do women who attempt to Rock get so much slack cut for them, even when they suck (I'm looking at you, Sleater-Kinney)? Hey, everybody's free to make music I don't like, but I draw a line at doing music I don't like, playing and recording it poorly, and still being hailed as the next Beatles or Fugazi or whatever. Taste aside, those guys could really
play, and they had to or they'd have been dismissed. This standard does not seem to hold for women in Rock.
Alright--I went way further with this than I intended. Suffice it to say that I suspect the double standard for women in rock is at least partly responsible for the dearth of famous/popular/good women making rock, and that it sucks. I listen to women make all kinds of other music, but the Rock, with a few exceptions, seems to elude them. I'll just leave this in its possibly provocative and unfinished state--maybe I'll come back and try to make a better (or clearer) case later.
The other thing we discussed, and this is really the point of all this, was the supposed rise of the neocons or the radical right, or whatever you want to call them. The folks who support Bush and all his cronies--those people. Anyway, after the election, we saw a lot of talking heads on TV saying how the Republicans had been tireless in the trenches, winning one tiny battle at a time, and working steadfast and united in the pursuit of the single goal of winning over more citizens to their way of thinking for the last 20 or 30 years. They'd developed a plan, used classic marketing strategy and generally worked the crowd really hard. What the commentators and pundits and most everybody seemed to take away from this talk is that the Democrats just didn't do the work. They slacked off, and just got outworked by the Republicans' well-oiled machine, so they lost.
I cannot, and indeed will not, argue that this isn't mostly true. The Republicans have made a science out of it, and have indeed been most determined. The Democratic party has been kind of lost for the last few years, unable or afraid** to clearly articulate what we really should be about in this country--looking after each other (the poor, the old, the helpless) peace, cooperation internally and with other countries to improve the lot of everyone, not just particular groups, protecting decent people from heartless profit machines, etc. Real "Sermon on the Mount" stuff, and what I think most Americans like to believe is how things should be.
OK, so the Democrats didn't work it very effectively, and the Republicans have busted ass for 20 years. But did you notice? With all their super hard work, the huge amounts of money they've spent, the outright lying and fearmongering, the general "do whatever it takes to push the cause" attitude of the Republicans for 20 fucking years
--all they managed was 51%. Those guys killed themselves, and had an amazing confluence of events all going their way, and they just barely won, with a "wartime" incumbent!
You've seen Hollywood and the record industry do it for the last few years--the incredible pushing of the marketing machines, only for the movies and records to bomb***, and all the executives worrying they'll lose their jobs and wondering why people don't go to the movies like they used to. We all know why that happens. The records suck. The movies suck. They're stupid and insulting. They are shitty product.
So let's put it all together--the Republicans have to kill themselves for decades to squeak out the tiniest margin of victory. Why? Because people know, deep down, that it's a shitty, shoddy, dangerous product they're pushing.
Take heart progressives, liberals, Democrats, anti-Republicans. We have a better product, and a small recommitment to both marketing and defining the product could set the Republicans back another 20 years--easy.
*It went very well, thanks.
**What's so bad about being liberal? Hell, I even think it's OK to have socialist tendencies--that's what the New Deal was all about, after all.
***Yeah, yeah, some of them don't bomb--but they stink and everyone kind of knows it.