A few weeks ago I went to a party. Actually, this is highly newsworthy all in itself and I half-expect it to be panelized and editorialized. No, I jest, I jest. Seriously though, I was at a party. Proved all the naysayers wrong, didn’t I?
This was a pretty typical college party: slippery dance floor, frat boys who don’t know how to drink, and girls who don’t recognize me from this primo column space and therefore react negatively when I ask them what they think of my column. Oh, and of course there was a DJ, to spin the hottest tunes.
Anyway, some girl actually did recognize me and wanted to dance. So we danced, damnit. And sometime between tripping over drunk frat boys (seriously, your three years of shotgunning beers and spilling half of them don’t hold a candle to my three years of drinking by myself in the middle of the night, under my table. You pass out because your BAC is too high and your nervous system shuts down? I fall asleep because I get tired of drinking beer for hours on end) and her going to the bathroom to freshen up I got the idea that things were actually going great.
That is, until she told me that she wanted to go dance with the DJ. She said it in such a way that made it sound like I would regret not dancing with the DJ for the rest of my life. I simply had to dance with this DJ, as if it were imperative to my success as a human being. “You HAVE to dance with this DJ,” she said. I explained to her that I wasn’t into dancing with some other dude, no matter how eclectic his musical selection is. Unfortunately, the DJ was spinning the tunes too loud, too fast, and all she probably heard was “AWESOME IDEA,” because her next move was to drag me across the dance floor to the table where the DJ had set up his laptop and was doing his thing. Then she got on his table and started flailing around wildly while motioning for me to get up there with her. I realized that this was what she meant by dancing with the DJ. I also realized that she was pretty drunk. By this point I had already been at the party for at least ten minutes, which is way longer than I typically stay for, so I figured it was as good a time as any to head home and drink some beer under my table.
I also decided never to go to another party again, just in case another DJ shows up. But later that week I went to a University-sponsored dinner where I spotted the DJ again. I could not escape him. There were also some guard rails set up around the DJ table. Whether they were supposed to direct the line or to guard the DJ from would-be dancers, I do not know. But some questions started to run through my head. Why was this guy playing music at a dinner? Does someone have to invite him or does he just decide where the music needs to be and then brings it there? Were we actually paying him? And — most importantly — what is it that a DJ does exactly, besides making iTunes playlists and battling other DJs? Is it now illegal to play music at an official event without a DJ present? I mean, someone has to hit the play button, right? Otherwise it might get out of hand and a little rowdy.
You know, I’m actually spinning some hot tracks (read: Led Zep) on my decks (read: three year-old laptop with four keys missing) as I write this. Am I a DJ? Of course not, that’s ridiculous. But if I were to play a rap song by Jay-Z and a Beatles classic at the same time, would I be a DJ? No. I would be an artist. I would have created a “mashup” (which is actually short for “masterpiece”). This is because when you take two good songs and play them at the same time with a time delay, you’ve actually made a song twice as good and completely out of key.
How are we to get away from people who call themselves “DJ Overdrive” and “RJD2” when the Cornell Concert Commission does us the great favor of bringing them to our campus? And why should we distance ourselves from DJs?
Having trouble finding a convocation speaker? We don’t need one, just get us a convocation DJ. Faculty retiring too fast and not enough money in the budget to get new professors? Find out what DJ SoundByte is doing next semester. Actually, maybe you should just fire someone from the college’s stable of DJs. And if there’s no DJ currently present wherever you’re reading this, you should take the matter into your own hands and become one by turning your volume up. Trust me, everybody loves a DJ.
Look, I’m not bemoaning the fall of MTV or a lack of good music these days. First, I don’t really like music that much anyway. Second, this isn’t the Arts section. I’m just confused by this musical obsession which has penetrated every facet of campus life. I’m just scared of people who think their favorite DJ is a reflection of their personality. It’s gotten to a point where we need a DJ to play music for us, otherwise it’s not authentic enough. It’s gotten to a point where Ivy League boys think they can rap and that being a producer is a viable career. It’s gotten to a point where I’m writing a column about Ludacris and GZA instead of the economy and the Gaza strip. It’s gotten to a point where we’re getting some guy named “Girl Talk” to come to our University and play music other people made on his laptop instead of inviting B.B. King back for Slope Day. All I’m saying is maybe we don’t need a DJ at every event, lest we become Ithaca College.