Yet another person who agrees with me...
1. Just as commercial advertising is not allowed to make false claims, all political advertising should be vetted for accuracy by an impartial election commission before it airs. So no more swift boating.
2. Congress should limit the amount of money any individual or corporation or union can spend on a candidate, in all forms combined, including, but not limited to: money run through a 527, campaign contributions, gifts in kind, etc.
3. Congress should require the CEOs of contributing corporations to appear in the ads, acknowledging that their corporation approved and paid for the ad.
4. Congress must pass new laws mandating that a) corporations disclose the existence and exact amounts of political contributions to all their shareholders, and b) shareholders approve all political expenditures before corporations spend money on elections.
Please insulate our precious democracy from the Supreme Court's blatantly partisan manipulation of one of our most sacred and essential institutions: free and fair elections.
SXSW certainly took on a more corporate tinge this year. That's largely due to the fact that so many magazines and labels couldn't afford to stage major events, and entities like soft drink manufacturers, relatively immune to economic downturns, are always looking to reach cultural tastemakers. So we got, for instance, a showcase sponsored by food criminal Rachael Ray and featuring no less than the New York Dolls and the Hold Steady.
"Smokin' Music" was an event sponsored by a cigarette company, which gave out free samples; hipster faves Matt & Kim played the party for Green Label Sound, the "indie" label bankrolled by childhood obesity promoters Mountain Dew. Feminist icon Playboy magazine also leapt into the breach, hosting a private show featuring the latest Jane's Addiction reunion, which makes a little more sense, given guitarist Dave Navarro's well publicized, um, romantic life.
But the foremost corporate bash was the Fader/Levi's Fort, a sprawling impromptu outdoor venue located a few blocks from downtown. It was basically a three-dimensional, walk-in commercial targeted at a very specific demographic: hipsters. The place pelted visitors with marketing at every turn; to get in, you had to walk through a large temporary Levi's store, then endure more product placement every step of the way inside the makeshift walled garrison, just so you could catch buzzy bands like Micachu & the Shapes, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, or Lissy Trullie, not to mention bigger names like Tricky, Peter, Bjorn & John and even Kanye West, who took care to give Levi's a shout-out during his "unannounced" set. Judging by the half-hour-plus lines to get in, few seemed to mind that underground music and its community had been so baldly co-opted by a large corporation; seeing bands for free trumped the humiliation of being a captive audience for an infomercial.
The Rachael Ray party was the most dubious of them all, though. A lot of people were surprised that bands like the Dolls and the Hold Steady wanted to be linked to such a notorious purveyor of mainstream mediocrity. But it's fairly obvious that the money was just too good to turn down. The indie community's attitude toward this kind of thing has evolved since the '80s, when there was such thing as selling out. In fact, "evolved" is putting it mildly, since it's pulled a 180. The rationale seems to be that since nobody makes money from record sales anymore, then it's OK to do whatever you can to make money — these days, it's every band for itself. The apocalyptic results of that mentality are all around us right now. All I can do is shake my increasingly grey head. And write crotchety blog posts.
Has anyone else noticed the recent trend of using "really?" to communicate more of a tone of indignation rather than surprise or disbelief? So it's more like "you actually have the nerve to do that [to me]?" as opposed to "you're kidding!" or "wow!"
I first saw it in a commercial for Travelocity, where there was a hipster website-developer-type guy whose hotel room was made into a living hell by construction noise. Every time he'd try to ask his girlfriend where his flip-flops were, a jackhammer would start up and drown out his words. Finally, he rolled his eyes, flung out his hands and said, "Really?"
Now I hear it everywhere -- it's the new "kewl" or "suh-weet." Funny how that happens.