as the weeks have passed, and no one™s really cared about this [i mean hey, pitchfork omitted that specific sponsorship from their news item] in the way that i have, i was beginning to worry that all of this might be a tempest in a teapot. at least one person other than me gives a damn and now i feel less crazy now.
if i can get my most adult sounding voice together, im going to write to the paper and let them know what i think they™re doing is stupid. i feel it would be a better use of energies, is if everyone who thought this was fucked got together and bombarded the voice with emails as well.
Out of respect for you and everyone getting blown to bits ‘over there’, I’m gonna try to take this subject seriously for about 3 minutes.
Sponsors and rock’n’roll bands are unlikely bedfellows only if one or both of the above parties have stated they are in opposition to what the other represents. Sprawling, free rock fests cost money to produce and I’m not saying the Voice shouldn’t seek $$$ from merchants, large companies, etc., especially if it means the artists are paid, they’ve got a proper PA, security, well trained lifeguards, etc.
But what happens if one of the sponsors is selling a product that isn’t merely “controversial” (I mean, the whole Xbox vs. PS2 argument is what message boards were created for, I reckon) but is involved in something that directly fucks with the world we wanna live in?
For years, I moaned and groaned whenever Coors would get involved with sponsoring rock shows, have their banners up, etc., and not just because their beer is undrinkable. Since their company had a long history of anti-union activity, throwing a lot of money at political candidates with backwards social agendas, etc., I could’t understand why bands would wanna do anything that might imply, even slightly, that they were associated with Coors.
It was pointed out to me that in recent years, Coors has tried to change their public image and whenever there’s a gay pride rally, for instance, you can count on Coors to have a float, do some advertising, etc. But all this says to me is that they know that queers drink beers, and if spending heavily around gay-cenric events or alternative rock shows changes the vibe, well, that’s intentional.
Anyhow, I’ve been told that my p.o.v. on that one is irrational, naive, etc. And I do accept, btw, that sometimes the artists don’t know who is sponsoring the show until they turn up and there is a big ass banner on the stage.
And maybe that is the case this time, too. However, with almost a month to go before Siren, hopefully all of the bands and their representatives are now aware. I mean, you’ve mentioned it…I saw something on Stereogum (with a comment from you, I presumed)
The only thing I’m wondering is, perhaps the Army bailed on this and/or the Voice cut them out of the event? As you pointed out, Pitchfork didn’t mention it (and we all know those guys are stickers for detail) and on the Siren website, the page devoted to the sponsors has no mention of the Army. Perhaps someone at the Voice already realized this was more trouble than it was worth?
I’m not suggesting that anyone should boycott Siren. I’m not gonna stop going to arena football games just because the Army has set up shop. I’m going to stop because the local team totally sucks!
thank you ladies and gentlemen. But seriously, I’m not surprised the Army thinks arena football fans are likely recruits anymore than I was surprised the Moonies go after the emotionally troubled or the way pimps look for teenage runaways at the bus station (or at least they used to — the movie “Little Ladies Of The Night” with Linda Purl and David Soul was very educational).
Should the audience attending Siren be insulted, offended, etc. that the Armed Forces would like them to enlist? That’s for each person to answer for themselves. Should the bands playing the event feel conflicted about taking the Army dough and/or serving as shills for the Army? Once again, that’s for each of them to decide for themselves. I don’t think we can assume that every rock’n’roll band in 2005 feels some sort of responsibility to stand in opposition to the war — some of ’em might support it.
There are some larger questions to think about, too. Assuming we need some kind of defense in the USA (and with a space alien invasion more likely than ever, I think we do), where is it supposed to come from without conscription? Is it any less offensive that the Army uses arena football games and skate parks as recruiting venues, and if not, why not?
That the US Army would seek to be associated with an event headlined by Spoon, Dungen, etc., says to me that any belief that what we might loosely call “alternative rock” automatically = a counter-culture, is more antiquated than Julio Franco. Part of the price you pay for infiltrating the mainstream is that you come into contact with people who have thoughts and opinions other than your own. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think. I mean, if the Army is still sponsoring Siren and the gig comes and goes without any comment from the artists or the fans in attendence, that would be a lost opportunity.