The BUZZ

A well-pronounced rant (vaguely) on dishonesty in the media…

Posted on: 23/10/2009

By Tim Manton

Don’t let the title fool you. This isn’t at all well-pronounced. I just fancied adding something that’s fun to say (if you say it in a funny voice, anyway), but doesn’t contribute anything at all to the text itself, up in the title. It makes me feel better, in a pathetically goody-goody sort of way.

Anyway, this rant is – as you may have noticed -about being a lying twerp in the media business, specifically when you’re writing a review or article about a new album or piece of music. Those are the times when a negative personal opinion is about as useful as an SAS marksman working in Tesco.

 It’s all about what the public want, and most of the time it wants a positive outcome – regardless, of how skilled you think you are in the noble art of insulting the chosen subject to the very limits of your imagination. My personal opinion on how the new Arctic Monkey’s album sounds, for example, is about as positive as your average nursery rhyme. I loved the first three albums, but if I wrote a review on the new one I’d be fired quicker than a lemming cliff-walking instructor – unless it was a nice one.

The resulting “honest review” would be praising them for the direction they’re taking (away from the sound we loved them for in the first place), admiring the complexity of their material (regardless of the way it now reminds you of a mind-warped maths exam, instead of actual music) and saying at the end of it all that they did a good job and still sound like the Arctic Monkeys.

Admittedly, “Crying Lightning” is a good song, but it doesn’t sound like it’s made by the same guys who wrote “When The Sun Goes Down“.

It’s something I’ve noticed in various radio presenters and people running other popular means of entertainment; the constant awe they seem to hold their music in, regardless of how weird it turns out to be. You probably wouldn’t ever hear someone like Chris Moyle say something along the lines of “The new Dizzy Rascal album – it sounds like a dying guinea pig, so I wouldn’t recommend it” because his boss is paying him to give the public what they want.

It could actually be made up of recordings that sound JUST LIKE a horse farting through its ears into a microphone, but there’s a big chance he’d still say something like “Amazing artist/stunning/alternative at its best/the future of music/absolute genius”, just to keep the public happy. Do that and the job is done, and you can act chummy with the artist in front of the cameras as an added bonus if you’re lucky.

On this note, I’m not necessarily saying that what they’re doing is a bad thing. I mean, if the artist or designer in question did what they thought was right, then someone probably SHOULD say something positive about it. It’s when the same person claims a similar thing for every artist/event/product they review, that you start to find them repetitive and boring.

 (Like listening to a certain Meshuggah song, which showcases their amazing ability to write a “song” featuring one constant wall of sound and very little else…bit too extreme for most people I‘m guessing)

Let’s face it: you can’t write anything personal in media without insulting someone else. I should at this point be apologising to anyone with any possible connection to Dizzy Rascal, Chris Moyle, the Arctic Monkeys, Meshuggah, guinea pigs or for that matter any other name I’ve mentioned in this article.

I usually compare it with a quote from the first Terry Pratchett novel, as insulting anyone in the public eye is similar to “standing on a mountaintop in a thunderstorm wearing a large suit of copper armour and yelling “The gods are b******s!” ”. The last line alone has a high chance of getting me into trouble if so much as one reader misinterprets it, but then that’s the point for anyone who does get it.

Anyways, I’m fairly sure I’ve used up all of my “rant-space” this time around, probably more. It’s fun writing this stuff, and I hope you enjoy reading it – and unless the editor doesn’t, I’ll be writing a lot more so check on the magazine every once in a while.

Readers who have an idea for my next rant can email it to me through the school network, or tell me in person sometime at college. I’ll read everything and answer anything…honest.

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1 Response to "A well-pronounced rant (vaguely) on dishonesty in the media…"

1. this is the arctic monkeys third album, so technically you could only like the first two if you didn’t like this one. you can’t really count ‘who the fu*k are the arctic monkeys’ or ‘five minutes with the arctic monkeys’ because they are LP’s.

2. humbug is awesome. end of. pretty visitors and cornerstone are easily two of their best songs ever written and secret door in my opinion is defiantly in the top 3 of all arctic monkeys songs.

…but maybe that’s just because i’m an arctic monkeys geek.

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