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Entertainment Blues
by Michael Giardina

Please stop boring me to death. Yesterday, I walked into Borders and spent an hour trying to find a single book worth reading. I stared despondently at the bestsellers which included 'Who Moved My Cheese?, Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About' and 'French Women Don't Get Fat.'

Give me a break. Nobody moved your cheese. Nobody is actively hiding natural cures and French women do get fat. Trust me.

Throwing my hands in the air with disgust, I drove to Blockbuster. This was a big mistake, marking another depressing hour in the company of 'In Living Color: Season 3,' Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women, and arguably the worst movie ever made, The Cell. Stick to booty-dancing, Ms. Lopez.

The entertainment industry is falling to pieces. Thousands of rudimentary self-help novels are being peddled to overly self-conscious women in their fifties, crappy pop stars are starring in action movies that offer nothing new to society, and the music industry is still funding power-chord punk as if 'anarchy' were novel.

What is happening to our expressive culture and, more interestingly, why are other countries following in our footsteps? I hate knowing that Mexican dance clubs forfeit their traditional Merengue to celebrate Shorty's (50 Cent, Cheap-Cake) birthday.

Talented artists might as well be tossed into ditches, since our consumerist pop culture only allows them to weasel through the woodwork with little money to show for their talent.

We have to evolve as a society by not recreating the successful art of the past just to make a dime. We must stop merging the newest popular sex-appeal actors with art forms that were meant to change the world.

It's easy to argue that our entertainment industries are pandering to the lowest common denominator, the majority of whom are genuinely re-entertained when Friday, is followed by Next Friday, which is followed by Friday After Next.

I'm not willing to believe that the majority of humanity is unable to appreciate greater forms of art. Shallow, superficial, repeated forms of bland comedy are merely what society offers us.

Just as a famous literary magazine suggests, nobody is begging for more of the same art, 'where hip ethnicity supercedes universality.' We want more. Unfortunately, it's easier to find the crap, so we wade in its smelly mess.

Rodney Branigan, a man who has dedicated his life to guitar, has found a way to play two guitars at the same time. Have you heard him?

Bill Hicks fought every day of his comedy career to expose the inadequacies of our social structure. Have you heard of him?

Adam Jones has developed dark, intensely psychological explorations of the mind in video. In producing music videos for Tool, he has explored the underlying nature of humanity's most revolutionary literature, depicting deeply symbolic images of the way our passions have shaped intellectual evolution.

Perhaps we should add cartoonist Bill Plympton, visual artist Alex Grey, electronic musician Michael Rosen, or author Ayn Rand to this list.

The point is not that mainstream necessitates useless artistic creations with little to no meaning; instead, the point is that our society has not been willing to require that mainstream expressive products be beneficial, inspiring, or beautiful.

There are only a few solutions. Don't support crap and then work every day to share and inspire others with art that destroys the bestseller list at Borders and the movie shelf at Blockbuster. Help create a world where women aren't encouraged to buy diet books and self-help guides. Give, share and show. When it?s no longer profitable to peddle crap, crap won?t be peddled.