Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Musical encounter of the third kind (Miley Cyrus edition)

Here's why I simply lurve my drive to work: it keeps me connected to what is going on in the real world. Thanks to my involuntary radio encounters (and isn't commercial radio a little like the voice of fate, sayeth Slavoj, telling you that this is the song chosen for you and that you will be listening to until the very end - whether or not you like it?), I'm exposed to experiences I would normally be unaware of or even avoid. The banal pseudo-heroics of Reamonn, for instance, or the bland boredom of Status Quo.

But also: poetic teen self-pity disguised as world-weary middle-aged ennui - all ironically arranged to an upbeat little tune.

The latter is what I heard today: A song by a female singer in her mid-thirties (judging by the sound of her voice), with (probably) several failed pregnancies and marriages under her belt and a meth-addicted American mastiff called Bronco in her trailer kitchen in Flagstaff, AZ (complete with leaking tap).

This is what she sang to me:

There's always gonna be another mountain.
I'm always gonna wanna make it move.
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there.
Ain't about what's awaiting on the other side.
It's the climb.

"You go sister", I'm thinking in total sympathy, as the little French car is relentlessly transporting me along the Autobahn towards another day of tedious meetings and intellectual despair. "Don't I know the feeling? We should meet for coffee one of these days."

What I'm loving in particular - apart from the stubborn self-assurance in the singer's voice - is the quasi Buddhist cliché that the path is already the end and aim of all our endeavours on which her pained wailing peaked.

It's the climb that counts, man. The Climb!

"How philosophical", I'm thinking. "How symbolic". This song is, quite obviously, "The Waste Land" for the 'noughties - only with a mountain instead of a red rock.

Or The Pilgrim's Progress for the (old) MTV generation (that is, people like me and the middle-aged singer in her trailer in the desert with the bleary-eyed dog).

Well, Pustekuchen. Turns out the singer is none other than 17-year old Miley Cyrus, who is not only the daughter of a B-list country crooner (beloved by line dancers world wide), but also the godchild of one chesty old lady with candy floss hair. Miley Cyrus, the chipmunkey Disney star, who in 2007 was worth 18,2 Mio USD and who earns between 15 and 25 Mio USD per film role.

Miley Cyrus, whose annual fake bake allowance would easily pay for the bathroom renovation we've been saving up for for years.

The unfairness of the world hit me like a tsunami: how come that some people suffer just as much as others, for a fraction of the income?

And does Miley's manager seriously believe that with this kind of masquerade she will expand the average age of her fan base beyond eight?

And what the heck was Deutschlandradio Kultur doing advertising the EP that contains such a transparently imperialistic attempt at Lebensraumerweiterung market expansion?

After that instructive piece of popular ideology I was well-steeled for what was to come later in the day. So I guess I have to thank Miley Cyrus for reminding me - cheerfully, mind - that the world is a hypocritical hell hole where you are being ripped off at every corner.

But I'll be strong.

And carry on.



Whoa-oh yeah.


mikeovswinton, nr Laibach said...

Do you have a reference for Mr Zizek's thoughts on commercial radio. Your link was to his wikipedia entry which started well and then got into an extremely boring account of his 'thought'.
My thought on reading your comment was to ask if his radio doesn't have (a) an on/off switch or (b) a tuner. So if you don't like Miley Cyrus you could always tune in to something you do like. But maybe I'm failing to see the dialectical nature of his point and concentrating on rather prosaic aspects of reality.
By the way, I'd suggest her cliche is quasi Daoist rather than quasi Buddhist.

Mr. Joyboy said...

Don't worry, Wife! Cyrus will be depleted by 2013, say researchers.

The Wife said...

But you do know who will replace deflated Miley, Mr Joyboy? Moi - in a new programme aimed at the elderly called "Hannah Middle-Age Montana".

Mike "Nirvana" of Swinton: The radio quote comes from a book that I have co-authored with Slavoj "The Real" Zizek, forthcoming with "Amour-Propre" in Paris-Nanterre. Didn't you know he got his writing style (and his best ideas) from me?

What is the difference between Daoism and Buddhism? I never know these kind of things, being a rotten materialist myself.

Phew - I seem to be in a right rotten mood today ....

mikeovswinton said...

Nice to know you are in on the Zizek publishing action. Seriously, I did think that somewhere in the one-man Book of the Month's (or should that be Week's?) oeuvre there might have been such a comment on commercial radio.
Daoism/Buddhism. Some say, as Roshi Jeremy Clarkson has it, that you could be a materialist and a Buddhist or Daoist. Though I'm not sure. But what I was getting is was this; as you sort of note there is an aim in Buddhism - Nibbana as it is in Pali (or Nirvana in Sanskrit). Daoism is named for the Dao. The wikipedia entries for these 'religions' are quite good and lead you onto some interesting topics.

mikeovswinton said...

I cut what the Dao means - the Way.