Why did Anthony Kedis decide he was entitled to any kind of vocalization after BloodSugarSexMagik (barring of course, Walkabout)? I sort of get maybe Sir Psycho Sexy had a few more tales of sexual prowess to tell, but to pose a question similar to any corporation, has anyone gracefully bowed out from a singer/songwriter position? Like, “Hey guys, I think I made my point, I’m hanging up the guitar now, If I think of any thing else, I’ll let you know, but I can’t promise anything.” If a guy got up on a soapbox with a megaphone, and screamed his lungs out all day and all night and used all sorts of colorful language and made you feel like a bad person, and then his demands were met, and the next day he’s still there, wouldn’t you think he was even less rational than before?
This sense of entitlement probably comes from one of the first generations of people who have grown up with the media infiltrating every pore of their existence with messages to consume and to be consumable. Constant bombardment of commercial messages, sure, have left us completely cynical to advertising, but not from a general collective understanding of sensationalized storytelling on which to base our lives on. We no longer sit around campfires. These stories (Y’know, content?) are written, edited, and shot to be particularly manipulative to the viewer emotionally. Then you have to factor in the personality of the writer and of the director who will no doubt consciously or unconsciously reflect their own value systems in the content. Add a producer or backing partner who is asking you to recreate the magic of the remake of “The Hills Have Eyes”, and the final product is a concoction of emotionally jarring, complete escapist fare. Tell that sort of pseudo-provocative tale a few thousand times, progressively becoming more and more visceral, and with that particular story attempting to attain the largest audience on a national scale, you’re basically creating static thought pathways of what is to be attained and how it is attainable. Combine that content with its primary system of support, commercial advertising, an industry based on convincing you to buy their product to fill that ever-present gaping hole (no, not that one) in your life, copying only the most effective manipulation techniques from filmmakers with somewhat more altruistic motivations. And of course, product placement, completely blurring that line like a first year MassArt student with Photoshop.
All of this leads to the entitled ME. Yes, it’s cute and awesome that young people are using boomer money to say “I Can!” and “I Will!” but they’re never paired with the question “I Should?” or “Is this avenue I have chosen to utilize my gifts through no rational conclusion of my own fulfilling to my extremely unique existence?” There’s a difference between self-confidence developed from actual social interactions and a false sense of worth derived by L’Oreal ads. It’s like an abusive relationship except you’re not even getting laid.
It’s that sense of entitlement why USC and Emerson are crammed with film students convinced that because their love of cinema as a communicative medium means they should work in film. Hey, I think trees are pretty rad, but I’m not a carpenter (alternates: olympic pool:olympic swimmer, mexico:mexican, baby:father). And just as the availability of cheap HD equipment does not make 1,000 Soderburghs as the invention of Final Draft Screenwriting Software (ok, the typewriter) did not create 1,000 Shakespeares. The film/media industry is full of these kids in completely administrative, non-creative positions (no, they will not be promoted or ‘discovered’ unless you mean ‘discovered by the reality $23K is not livable’), their work does not differ from the same paperwork being filed in every temp job in the country, and they probably get paid less. But they’re entitled to choose the red carpet treatment, because they feel entitled to be part of the collective decision-making process for the rest of the country. They are entitled to be on the encoding end of mass media. As one of these pompous assholes, I wonder if these other 90% feel entitled to not give a shit.
This strange sense of entitlement is the reason the LES/East Village/Brooklyn (even as far as Kensington!) is now full of sorority girls from the Midwest, licking the stardust coming out of Sarah Jessica Parker’s butt. Of course, I came to New York partly for the Larry Clark/Michael Alig atmosphere, only to find it not only dead (RIP CASPER) but literally buried under the NYU/Jamba Juice industrial complex. I think most people my age raised in the suburbs suffer from a romanticization of urban life because it provided relief from the stagnancy of suburbia. And our parents wonder where we went wrong, after they deprive us with all the social underpinnings of society for a bigger lawn and a racially homogeneous population. And when you replace the neighborhood kids with a TV, it’s like leaving your kid with the broken-home kid in the scaly cap telling tall tales and trying to get your kid to buy pot. I do understand those buildings that were built in the formerly dilapidated sections of Manhattan were built in fact to be populated by a non-criminal element, not to stand half-demolished with squatters and junkies, that the Manhattan of Today is probably more in line of what it was initially built for, but still. I can be disappointed. But it’s that sense of entitlement of deserving to live the “bright lights, big city” lifestyle that ruined it.
I only say these things because I know these things. I am these things. I feel entitled to tell you these things. I feel entitled to go off on tangents and make this essay less comprehensible. It is a remarkable phenomenon, the entitlement assumed given we have done absolutely none of the footwork or groundwork to reap it other than luck.
So way to go guys, reap what you sow.
Just be sure to ask for a refund when you realize you didn’t need it anyway.