November 22, 2002

Walkmen Metaphysics

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I am not hostile and bitter enough to rail against music itself (or rather, I am, but my spite is increasingly myopic). Yet, the music industry is hell-bent on pervading every facet of life with their product. It’s not a question of Art or Drivel. It’s a matter of convincing the global community that everyone’s lives will be submerged in depravity and despair if there is not a constant stream of music at all times. Contrary to the manifestoes of MTV and Clear Chanels, music is not the soundtrack of your life. That’s absurd. If that were true, what would actual soundtracks be? Networks of metasoundtracks? Non-musical music? Regardless, modern science has proved that soundtracks derive meaning from life, not vice versa. American systems of commercial music, the Daily Sun (in all probability) demands you remove your treacherous and linguistically insane brainwashing!

For example, on a recent stroll to Goldwin Smith, I noted that three out of five Cornellians were listening to CD players as they stumbled from class to class (97% error). I felt as though I was living in a Sony ad. All of them glanced blankly at their surroundings, trying to reconcile a reality which in no way resembles a music video with their hope that by staring awkwardly at people (apparently under the assumption that if music is playing, it means you’re either surveying a party or concert) they will be cast as characters in their music video of life. Well, this ranter refuses to participate in that little charade. Just because you stare at me while listening to music doesn’t mean I’m going to bust out my “Thriller” moves. Furthermore, when music is playing you are unconsciously moving to a beat none of us can hear which would typically indicate that you are a psychopath. However, amid the covert camorra that is the Cornell Discman/Freemasons Parade, it resembles some sort of badly choreographed goose-stepping. Speaking of fascism, I find it difficult to ignore my Cold War tendencies enough to trust people with voices that are clandestinely relayed to their ears through miniscule speaker systems. Remind yourself that you are not James Bond.

What kind of people are under the impression that walking has such a penury of entertainment value that additional amusement is needed? It’s walking, a basic function of the mobile biped. Walking is neither boring nor fun. It’s walking. It’s like expressing that “breathing is boring,” a phrase which no one should think of beyond the authors of middle school poetry diaries, Marilyn Manson (excuse the redundancy), and myself (excuse the redundancy). I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be permitted to listen to music. (Actually, they shouldn’t because it’s immoral under certain sections of Deuteronomy, but I mean according to NY state law.) All I’m asking for is a written acknowledgement from the dean’s offices saying that I will no longer be subjected to your hideously glaring, “soundtracked” stare and that the population is composed of fascist automatons.

Archived article by Alex Linhardt