The Chattering Class

Wow. What a difference a decade makes. There were people in the crowd at a music industry event that was a part of Internet Week on Thursday night who did not even know who Chuck D, the featured speaker, was. Chuck spoke during the launch of SoundCTRL Live -- a new monthly event series for the music industry's Silicon Alley contingent -- held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York as part of Internet Week.

Overheard at the start of the talk: "Hey, you know who that is? That's Chuck D." The response: "Who's that?" Oh boy. And the response to that clueless query was an almost unforgivable admission that the smart guy who at least had heard of Public Enemy barely knew who Chuck D was himself: "He invented rap."

You know who did know who Chuck D is? The speaker who followed him (starting, of course, with a tough-act-to-follow joke): Albert Wenger from Union Square Ventures.

The assembled masses could not seem to keep themselves from chattering through both of these speakers (but, as we established, they barely knew who Chuck D was anyway). This seemed to be a constant of Internet Week events: assemblages who all seem to think they have much more important things to say than the speakers they are there to see. It's the "Oh well, there's an open bar" mentality.

Wenger looks like every white guy you've ever seen in a commercial for khakis. He speaks quietly and matter-of-factly, but oh did he have something to say. As the crowd just talked over his introduction where he recounted his daughter's incredulity at the mere thought that Daddy grew up with no Internet, Wenger started to explain a cartoon about the recession he quite liked. Still more chattering.

He described the cartoon -- sure you've all seen it: Two suits are standing on a peak while a wave approaches way in the distance. The wave moves closer and closer and gets bigger and bigger, until finally it washes over the two men. Cut to one turning to the other and saying: "I didn't see that coming."

Wenger, in his understated way, paused and looked directly at the music industry digerati and wannabes and said: "That is what is happening to you."

The chatter stopped dead -- If just for a moment.

Chuck D by Obey


1 comment about "The Chattering Class".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Jack Powers from IN3.ORG, June 8, 2009 at 10:16 a.m.

    Conference blabbing and Twittering, un-conferences and BarCamps and are all part of the curse of UGC. Everybody has something to tweet and no inclination to listen.

    It's all link-bait for the chattering horde: Top 8 This and the 10 most Important That and the 6 Worst Other Thing. Meh.

Next story loading loading..