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Turn Off The Music!

Posted on Thursday, July 9, 2009 in Essays, polemic

I’ll bet you guys didn’t know that before yours truly became the hottest thing on the Web, that I had a former existence as a country western musician.

Yep, it’s true. During that disgusting period of history referred to as “The ’70s,” I abided in the dank and dreary world of bars and nightclubs playing steel guitar for a bunch of guys with bad toupees who fronted bands with names like Lucky Smart and The Smart Set. I even had a taste of so called (ha!)stardom when I toured the country with the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and several other large breasted women whose names I no longer recall.

Given all that, it may seem strange when I tell you that my position today is that I refuse to have anything to do with music. That’s right, I don’t listen to music. And you know what? The longer I don’t listen to it, the better I feel.

I know, I know. It sounds weird, but just check this out. My theory, plain and simple, is that music is simply another drug … another way of deadening your brain another way of escaping reality. But it’s not just “another.” Music, unlike cocaine or even booze, is regarded as harmless. Sorry, Jack. Ain’t so.

OK, OK, before you start trying to argue the point, just go with me for another couple of seconds. If you adopt that attitude — that music is a drug…you can well imagine that I am less than enamored with the current music scene. To put it bluntly, my opinion is that 99% of today’s pop/rock music is pure unadulterated crap.

There’s really no point in discussing the difference between Miley Cyrus  and Kellie Clarkson. Whether one is more talented than the other isn’t the point. The point is, they both serve exactly the same purpose—to make you stupid (and also, in the case of Cyrus, to satisfy the cravings of assorted pedophiles).

Let me be clear. I might like to sit down and listen to say, a bit  of “Sketches From Spain,” (Miles Davis)…. some Elvis or Buddy Holly….or perhaps “West Side Story” (all of of which I love). But I limit my doses of music (no matter how good it is) to (maximum) 30-40 minutes at a stretch… and when I’m done, I take a (long) “non-music” bath. That means….SILENCE!  (which ain’t easy to come by).

Now here is where the conversation usually gets sidetracked as to the value of today’s current crop of pop stars versus, say, those in the ’60s and/or ’70s (when I departed the music scene). Sorry, I’m not gonna fall for it. They ALL suck!

I was a huge Bob Dylan fanatic in the ’60s (yep, my brain was rotted too — just like yours!). Today, not only would I not go around that corner to hear four bars by that fat little egomaniac, but when I listen to the stuff I once thought was great, I’m actually embarrassed! (Not for him … for ME!). OK, OK, tell me about the musicality of James Taylor (and he IS musical, I admit it) … that’s not the point. The point is that the function of music itself (I’ll repeat it again) is to keep you brain dead.

If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the faces of the people in the audience as the camera pans over them at any so-called rock concert. What do you see? Come on — admit it! You see abject stupidity, folks! You see numbed-out, brain dead individuals. You see blitzed-out, hypnotized morons! Yep … that’s you baby (and me too). We’ve all been in that audience (and we’ve all paid the price for it in lost brain cells).

“I just can’t live without my music.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say that. How bout you? Have you said it? Sure you have. Well, guess what? Not only can you live without music—you’d better damn-well kick that Jones, because music is eroding your brain. (Yes, there are studies to show this….but I’m not gonna quote them because I don’t want this thing to degenerate into a battle of the “experts.” You can either choose to look at it — explore it for yourself, or not. Frankly (thank you, Rhett), I don’t give a damn.

What people are really saying when they utter this bilious phrase is, “I can’t live without my drug.”

Think about it. What does music do? It puts you into an alternate state of consciousness. It either relaxes you (like a drug); it makes you feel hyper (like a drug). It makes you stupid (like a drug). Shall I go on? Yes, I think I shall. …

Music is essentially a way of hypnotizing people. Why do you think they pum  music into grocery stores, shopping malls, and doctors offices? To put you into a hypnotic state so that you’ll blindly purchase the product (whatever that may be).

This bears repeating people: Music really has only one purpose, and that’s to destroy your sense of awareness. And I say that awareness is the one commodity that we must salvage at all costs!

Without a doubt, some of the most insidious music today is the junk that’s being now being referred to as New Age Music. New Age music does the opposite of what rock does — which is to hype you up. New Age music makes you numb. It is a most potent tranquilizer. Moreover, it is, in its own way, even deadlier than rock or rap.

This is the stuff that used to be called background music—only now people are actually listening to it! Have you ever seen those glassy eyed fools walking around … there are millions of them….all victims of some kind of brainwashing.

I say there is only one thing to do. Turn it off! All of it! When you’re in your car, don’t put the radio on. Yeah, it’s hard. You’re addicted, man! But after awhile, with no music in the background (or foreground) check out how different the world looks. You’ll suddenly become aware of strange sights and sounds. You’ll also become aware of how oddly quiet the world is and how, no matter where you go, somewhere in the background someone’s trying to fill the void with music. You literally can’t escape it!

A good thing to have if you’re going to experiment with this is a good pair of earplugs. Use them liberally. You’ll find that by silencing the world at large, you’ll begin to see things with new eyes. Try turning off the sound when you’re watching TV. Turn on Leno or Letterman. Instead of being charmed by whatever show business egomaniac is in the guest seat, you’ll suddenly see the guy for what a self-centered, cloying pig he is.

Only perform this experiment in very small doses at first. Why? Well, try it and you’ll see. It’s hard! It’s hard because you’re addicted!

After you’ve done this for a month or more, it’s time to up the ante. If you have a favorite piece of music—be it Beethoven’s Fifth or that old Dylan LP. Sit down, stop everything you’re doing, close your eyes and just listen to it. Watch your reactions. Watch your brain as it grows numb. You’ll literally see the process of hypnosis at work!

I guarantee if you try this experiment you’ll come to the same conclusion I do … that music is a drug…and a very powerful one. . Once you’re free of the addiction, then you can go back and use it—like having a martini once in a while. But until you’re ready, it’s time to de-tox.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can already see the angry letters from the countless jerks who are going to write this off as … well, as something. I guarantee you, those letter writers will inevitably be the most seriously addicted.

Will your life be empty without music? Hell, don’t ask me. For the record, mine is just fine—but the only real way to find out is not to bicker, or argue. Just try it.

It’s your brain, folks.

Give it a breather.

A long one …

.©Stuart Goldman

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