Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale

Selling out, and who's buying

So, for my birthday, the lovely lovely apis_mellifera bought me Guitar Hero 3 for a present. (So far, I've gotten all the way through the game on Easy and 3/4 through it on Medium. I decided to bring back the band name I had from my original GH game (Boba Fetish), rather than any of the other names I've selected in my other GH games (in case you're curious: for GH2, The Bishounen; for GH 80's, Vyxxxyn).) I like the graphics better in this game, I think, and the guitar battle feature is cool. There's just something amusing about beating Slash in a guitar duel and getting him as a summon playable character.

Something about the game that's pricking at me, though, is the fact that one of the songs is the Dead Kennedys' "Holiday In Cambodia." It strikes me that using that song in the game is pretty much the apotheosis of some corporate suit type saying "I don't care what the lyrics mean -- it sounds 'hip' and 'edgy' and something the 'kids' will 'really dig'!" It just smells to me like appropriation all over again. And no, maybe it's not as bad as some rich urban yuppie buying a tribal shaman mask to put over his fireplace just because it looks really interesting, but it seems like it's in the same neighborhood. And because I've got this game, I'm complicit in the cycle in some small way.

(I was originally going to end that sentence with "And there's just that much more tarnish to my soul," but think about it -- doesn't that imply that the commodification of the world is a spiritual issue? that "keeping it real" is a sign of grace, while "selling out" is the wide but sinful path? And if that's the case, isn't that more than a little disturbing? I mean, this is just pop culture, for fuck's sake...)

And on the other hand, questions of who "sells out" versus who "keeps it real" just strike me as a luxury that I can ill-afford. Punk is dead, they say-- but did punk ever live in the first place? And how can I be taking the time to worry about whether some old band is "authentic" any more when I've got Uncle Sam and the insurance company and a couple of banks sticking their hands out every month for their own little cut? I do what I have to do to get by; I should be thankful that I'm in the time and place that "getting by" doesn't involve burning witches or selling out my neighbors to the government. And I may not like the consumer-driven world I live in, but I'm also not exactly working diligently to find alternatives to it.

But it all still sticks in my craw though.
Tags: "serious" business, fandom, navelgazing
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