Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The paucity of consumerism

My aippakuluk bought me a music magazine that had a Pink Floyd CD and a feature article on the group last year. The magazine is called, MOJO, and it is published in the UK. I've read it cover to cover more than once now but I'm still coming away from it with new information and awareness.

The magazine made me realize how sterile the North American consumerist society seems in comparison with other cultures. Compared to North American monocultural rags, MOJO is a veritable tropical rain forest not just in musical genre (Jerry Lee Lewis along side Amy Winehouse along side up-and-coming and/or indie artists) but also in temporality: There is even a sideline on 1960s/70s Khmer rock icons, Ros Sereysothea and Sinn Sisamouth (which I had never heard of because they would never be featured in the North American music scene, that's for sure). There is depth to the magazine - anthropological, historical, artistic and cultural depth. There is something that's missing in North American discourse.

I'm not a practicing musician (not that talented to begin with) but I know something of music. My tastes - like most normal people (even North Americans) - tend to run the whole gamut. I love Glenn Gould as much as I love David Gilmour/Nick Mason/Richard Wright's Pink Floyd (ie, before and after Roger Waters became too egotistical); I also love "discovering" old artists. And, since my taste in music is not just about music, I make a point of watching PBS's music broadcasts that lay in the outer fringes of pop culture because PBS has a bent for historical pedagogy - documentaries that trace the roots and innovations of music. It was through PBS that I was introduced to Van Cliburn (the American counterpart and compatriot of our Glenn Gould in the land of musical prodigy).

There is something deeply satisfying about reading MOJO besides its awareness expanding articles. There is a space for quiet and reflection where I come to appreciate artists that I myself wouldn't buy nor put on my playlist but simply for the depth being aware of them provide. It's the same with other forms of art and science - they just add to the overall picture of how things evolve and where they've come from. It's about learning where to look and what to look for; it's about expanding that space for quiet and reflection.


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