Real Media Riffs - Monday, Mar 24, 2003

Tears Don't Care Who Cried Them: I think that was the name of an old Patsy Cline song, wasn't it? Anyway, it fits the current plight of celebrities using the media to protest the war in Iraq and then get whacked by the media and public for their efforts. Celebrities use the media to advertise the same way any packaged goods brand does. These days, celebrities and their supporting publicity machines have proved to be masterful sources of fodder for gossip hungry media. Did you ever wonder why "Diva A" goes public with some kind of neurosis or debilitating disorder just when a new album is ready to drop? Is it just a coincidence that Pop Star Z or Actor X admits a rehab stay just as a new project is flopping? It's not. So if Fleetwood Mac, The Dixie Chicks, Sean Penn or John Mellencamp wants to use the podium to protest current geopolitical policy, they better be ready to take what comes. Don't get me wrong, artists have a right to "get up, stand up for their rights." Their stand might result in respect from their old and new audiences. It might mean they've made a huge mistake. Or maybe (and this would be the best outcome) they feel so strongly about their stand and their music that they just don't care about the outcome. Bottom line, people not only judge artists by their "brand." Personally, I think it's a terrible development. But it's true.



I'm Bad; I'm Nationwide: Last week I heard a lot about the new American cowboy. But it seems to me we're still stuck on American Bad**s. Advertising in the latest issue of GQ (just for example) tells me that I can achieve the state of Bad*ss by using the following products: Hummer SUVs (says it right in the tagline), Jeep, L'Oreal MegaGel, and Dolce and Gabbana shades. Now who took my Kid Rock CD?

Last Call: I've heard the aforementioned anti-war songs. Lyrically, they pack the punch of a Larry King interview. Bob Dylan has nothing to worry about.

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