Monday, March 30, 2015

Rant: Is it fact or is it mindlessness?

Develop your own character in your creation...
~ paraphrased from Jimmy Page's 2014 Berklee commencement ceremony speech

I do a good amount of research for my writing, and one of the biggest frustrations I have is sorting facts from most of the crap that's out there in the world.  It is my aim to convey my own conclusions rather than regurgitate someone else's when I write, so when I read articles like I can't help but grind my teeth at yet another article written by someone who apparently has no thoughts of his own and therefore dares not actually write about anything useful. Jeff Giles' piece is an example of what makes me crazy about media these days.

I call it mindless pap. It's the kind of media output that does not require the engagement of brain cells.

In this article, Mr. Giles describes how "Zeppelin’s backstage behavior painted them as profligate prima donnas", yet the only backstage behavior he describes is that of "the manager", who is never named.  That aside, if the article was about how poorly behaved the band was wouldn't it have been more to the point to talk about the band itself? Were any of the four musicians actually in the room when the unnamed manager had his tantrum?  If we only had Mr. Giles' article to learn from, we'd never know, would we?  If any of the band members -- the prima donnas -- were present, wouldn't their response to the champagne throwing (not spilling, I'd say) be more to the point of the article than what Peter Grant was doing? Didn't even one of the supposed prima donnas snag a bottle to drink for himself?  It boggles the mind to think they were all standing around not noticing what was going on.

Mr. Giles never did come up with any example of the band's alleged prima donna behavior.  In fact, Mr. Giles only describes the band's onstage behavior -- which he presents in a manner that leans more towards level-headedness than anything else, not to mention the quite realistic acknowledgement by Jimmy Page of the source of the money that was paying for everything: the fans.  

I don't mean to imply that I think that Led Zeppelin were saints because would be absurd. My beef is that an article about Led Zeppelin as prima donnas would have been interesting -- but that's not what this one was about. And thus my teeth gnashing: As with so much these days that passes for news or factually based infomation, what we get is little more than mindless copy-and-paste of other mindless non-information.

As basic reporting, the article sucks. As research, it sucks, too. Even as fiction it sucks. Not that I have a strong opinion about it, mind you.

Now I'm going to go back to listening to music. I'll feel better in a moment, thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment