2.8.07

Elton John wants to shut the Internet down

Probably the craziest article today, this piece on The Sun Online tells us the lunatic vision of Elton John. The first sentence summarizes it: "POP legend Sir Elton John wants the internet CLOSED DOWN."

He says that "The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff". Now, claiming that "The internet has stopped people from going out" is the same thing as saying that "books have stopped people from going out", which I doesn't really need to justify as why it isn't really a revelant point. On the other hand, he says that, thanks to the Internet, people stopped being creative, an idea that he further explores: "Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn't bode well for long-term artistic vision." Well, pardon me, is there the long-term artistic vision? No, there are "long-term artistic visions", and while one-man "laptop bands" aren't suitable for E.J.'s long-term artistic vision, it's quite presumptuous to start from there and say that home-made records aren't compatible with a long-term artistic vision. Writers do it for centuries, and even if his recorded musical vision is the conservative one of "music is to be recorded in a studio", nowadays you can get a cheap home studio with better quality than those you had fifty years ago.

He keeps on going, saying that "We're talking about things that are going to change the world and change the way people listen to music and that's not going to happen with people blogging on the internet." and then "I mean, get out there - communicate." Man, people do communicate using the Internet. Technology and art were allways bonded toguether, so why do you suddenly think that the new means of communication and music-making technology is a bad thing? Is it just because people suddenly started to like more and more indie music and both less major artists and less pop in general?

"Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet." - why? Hopefully the next movement in music will help defining the new Internet, as much as Internet is helping redefined music. As art, music has never been as healthy as it is nowadays: numbers point to more music being made and more music being listened. What's bothering you?

"I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span." - Yeah, I imagine lot's of anti-fascist songs crying out for "give us the Internet back". W00t.

"There's too much technology available." - Now, that argument I know well, and I even know what's the name for that: age. When people age have more difficulties in leading with changes, new stuff in general and technology in particular. Of course that not everyone leads with this issue in the same way. Elton John has 60 years old, less then my mother and my father. My mother leads with new technology preety well - she ignores it. My father gets awed with technology (Google Maps made him blink a lot before saying a word), and a little sad for not knowing how to use the internet to read more news and general information. Elton here feels affected by technology - his music is selling worse and worse and so he blames on technology. The article says it: "Elton, who turned 60 earlier this year, has admitted in the past that he is a bit behind the
times", and cites him "I am the biggest technophobe of all time." If you don't want to use all the technology available, just don't use it - you're free to ignore it. Just don't shut it down for everyone, OK?

"I'm sure, as far as music goes, it would be much more interesting than it is today." - Interesting for who?

"In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic. Now you're lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality. And there are more albums released each week now than there were then." - now, quality is a muddy field: you can't come with a definition of "quality music". As Elton won't be able to justify his argument, I won't be able to justify my disagreement, but I honestly think that nowadays we have more quality released albums per day than even five years ago. The difference, I try to guess, is that we're listening to different new albums, in different new places. I use almost exclusively the internet to know new music. You're probably still listening the junk major labels are putting on the shelves.