Friday, March 10, 2017

A (fake) Dialog between Depeche Mode and their Best Friend: Pushed 'Round

All celebrity responses are fictitious and impersonated for parody, maybe even satire.

ME:  It's great to pick your brain and see what you think of your listeners.

DM:  This is good.  I'm taking a ride with my Best Friend!

ME:  That's right!  But this new song doesn't seem very friendly.  I hope you're not letting me down again.

DM:  We just want to get young people to think for themselves before they are swallowed up in your culture.

ME:  Right, so that's what you mean by "kept down, pushed 'round, lied to, and fed truths--"

DM:  Well, yeah--

ME:  "--rights abused, views refused."  This all seems strange to me because popular culture overwhelmingly acts to fight traditional values.  This includes movies, television, web media, gaming, music, news, celebrities, grade schools, universities, etc.  Who's doing the pushing 'round?

DM:  But traditional culture has all their institutions.

ME:  What do you mean?  Rotary Club?  Elks?  BSA?

DM:  OK fine, churches.  Organized religion.

ME:  Ahh, I get it.  It sounds to me like what you're describing is more of a tug-of-war, a contest of ideas.  When you say "the train is coming, the engine is humming, so get on board," it sounds like your revolution is just another political movement.

DM:  Look, it's just a metaphor, mate.  Tongue-in-cheek.  It's what we do.

ME:  It's what you did.  Then you made this new album.  I'm sorry to quote something out of the intellectually-bankrupt YouTube comments area, but many fans were saying the same thing:  they could always enjoy Depeche Mode because it never got political, but sadly no more.

DM:  Rubbish!  As musicians, we have to be able to use our bullhorn to speak up against abuse and power.  Like all great art, our music must challenge our listeners and move opinion.  That's what cutting-edge music is.

ME:  This can be done without insulting your best friend...

DM:  I told you we love our fan-- er, our best friends.

ME:  But you wanted to influence young people?  The downtrodden and abused?  Maybe you shouldn't wear sunglasses on stage, because you're losing track of your audience.  There's not a lot of adolescents queuing up Should Be Higher between their Taylor Swift and Maroon 5.  Most of your teenage fans were introduced to Depeche Mode by their own parents.  I interact with a lot of teens and their reaction to your music is pretty mixed.

DM:  New generations will hear us.  It's just a Question of Time.

ME:  Guys, your audience is mostly middle-class adults in their 30's and 40's who send kids off to school each morning, provide for them by going to work, figure out how to pay bills and taxes, and yes, many of them go to church.  Hurling mistaken insults at them just doesn't make sense.    C'mon people, you're letting me down!

DM:  Wait, I'm a parent too!  Let me tell you about my daughter.

(to be continued...)

A (fake) Dialog between Depeche Mode and their Best Friend

All celebrity responses are fictitious and impersonated for parody, maybe even satire.

ME:  Great, I've got your attention Depeche Mode!  Thanks for talking to me, I know you're busy.

DM:  We love our fans.  You've got it Wrong.

ME:  Remember, I'm not just a fan!  As you read in the last post, I'm your best friend.  I'm reading what you've been saying about me.  You've made no effort to hide how you feel.  And now with Spirit you're poking me in the eye, making it clear you really don't like me.

DM:  Oh, I get it, you're offended by the political bent.

ME:  Please, don't be lazy.  If I was a knee-jerk type I would have written you a lot sooner.  I don't discard people based on political feelings.  After all, people are people...

DM:  Then just how am I refusing to understand you?

ME:  You asked if religion is making my decisions.  Whether that's intended to cause a sudden realization or just provoke me, it seems like the first time you've really broken the fourth wall.

DM:  So answer the question, best friend.  Don't you see that religion is forcing people to act a certain way?

ME:  Your premise in the lyric is that people of faith somehow stop thinking whenever beliefs get in the way.  It makes it easier to categorize folks!  But to describe how real people live, It's No Good.  Take, for example, the controversial idea of virginity before marriage.  A religion may teach a 15-year old girl that sex relations are off the table before until she's got a spouse.  Before she starts dating, our Little 15-er can decide to:
1. make a decision to avoid sexually-vulnerable situations
2. allow physical instincts to run their course, suggested as inevitable by popular culture
Which choice requires actual reasoning?  If she could see all the possible consequences for each choice, would that change the answer?

DM:  You just proved my point:  kids don't make these decisions, they are forced on them by parents and religious leaders.

ME:  Even if I accepted that dumb generalization, shouldn't the value of a rule be judged by the outcome?  There's centuries of evidence supporting traditional values and the happiness that comes from strong families.  This is old news to parents who are teaching their values out of love for their kids, and is completely rational for anyone who wants to have family around throughout their lives.  Reasoning will actually tend to strengthen faith, while making decisions on emotion and physical impulses requires less thought.

DM:  Look, I've had some tough experiences.  You live in a fantasy culture.

ME:  Please, tell me what you mean!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

An Open Letter to Depeche Mode, from your Best Friend

Hello guys,

I know you're wondering, "Who is this claiming to be my best friend?"  Well, it's me.  I've been here, cheering you on by your side for ...let's see ...34 years.  I remember sitting in my brother's room hearing about the "grabbing hands" grabbing all they can.  I was in awe as you thundered about how People Are People.  Then you created a Black Celebration.  My friends were confused but no problem, I liked the songs.  And when they said you had sold out to the Masses and 101 was alienating the true fans, I held on because I knew this band is something special.  And you proved them wrong, didn't you?  On your next offering we all could Enjoy the Silence as the critics were left speechless.  I was there in '93, on the 14th row of the Delta Center.  You were great!  As a true friend, I was sorry to watch you go through a lot of turmoil, breakups, and then one of you even died for a few minutes.  I couldn't possibly walk in your shoes, but you had my support when you got back on your feet and tried again.  Bravo, good for you, coming back from so much adversity.  You worked through the changed dynamics and finally delivered another masterwork in Playing the Angel.  I was excited by your music because I knew that your potential was really starting to be realized, and it was only getting better.

Now here we are, my friends.  You are at the top of your game.  I had purchased all your albums when they were new on cassettes and then re-purchased on CDs.  I didn't get all the singles because I'm not a weirdo collector, I just like the music.  You've created things that have been there throughout my life, standing head and shoulders above bands with inferior creative abilities.  You've survived the death / irrelevance of New Wave, Synth Pop, Techno, and several other electronic movements because your instincts always break through.  As you can see, I am and have been your true friend and support.

So why am I, your best friend, writing you now?  We were doing perfectly well and I gave you your professional space.  Why now?  Let me explain.  I learned a few years ago which relationships in life are truly Precious and worth effort.  Among these of course are family relationships, but there's no time in life for friends who won't "understand me."  For all my devotion to your art and accepting you without judgment, you don't like or want to understand me.  And I'm not much of a friend if I just ignore how you're treating me.

"What?"  you'll gasp, "What have I possibly done wrong?"  Let's talk.

(to be continued...)