Darrell Vickers: A Tale of Two Shities

darrell-vickersCorporate greed can be a very comical thing at times.  Not when these soulless, maniacal money whores’ allow their unquenchable lust for gold to transmogrify into evil incarnate, of course.   Certainly not when these insatiable, insensate, vulturine feeding machines get so avariciously engorged that all bonds of human decency snap like Walmart chair legs and they vomit blood and misery over everyone in their path.  Recent history is replete with insidious incidences of these greenback gorgons happily committing acts of unmitigated commercial barbarism for the sake of expediency.

bp oil spillThese are the very same sweethearts who gave us BP in the Gulf, Bhopal, LoveCanal, every coal mine in the Appalachians and that fertilizer factory turned megaton bomb in Texas. In their world, death and destruction translate into Ka-chinngggg, so bring it on!   I wouldn’t be surprised to hear they were secretly campaigning to have the mercury they dump in our water supply designated a vitamin so they can start charging us all for drinking it.

But there is a softer side to these Ringwraiths of high finance.  And it’s only when their myopic, cancerous cupidity is merely self-defeating and risibly stupid instead of psychotically homicidal that one can feel at liberty to heartily chortle at their blithering and petty shortsightedness.

At this very second, L.A. is being rent asunder by two massive lamebrain media giants who are locked in a titanic struggle to see who can be the biggest asshole.  It’s been a savagely contested jerk-off bloodbath so far and the combatants in question are renowned worldwide for the size of their rectal orifices.

Asshole Contender No. 1: CBS. 

cbsA company that only starts entertaining people when they are scant minutes from the grave.  The network’s average demographic is so old; you can buy souvenir CBS medic alert bracelets at their gift store. One of the first signs of the onset of senility is if you can identify at least three cast members from HOW I MET YOUR MOTHERCSI.  In senior homes, “How I Met Your Mother” has become to the “go to” reward for shitting into your bedpan.

The core of this epic dispute, which is denying these poor toothless and brittle people their evening’s divertissement?  The Columbia Broadcasting System wants a far more generous slice of the Cable-TV doubloon pie.  Now, this hardball negotiating style might seem a somewhat reasonable and savvy business decision if it weren’t for one inescapable fact.  This programming they are asking a king’s ransom for?  They’re already child drawing to help winky dinkgiving it away…for FREEEEEE!  You can get it on that ancient television you have in the garage that’s so old it has a crayon bridge drawn on the screen at the behest of Winky Dink.

Asshole Contender No. 2: Time/Warner Cable

The owners of my original cable company are now in jail for massive fraud and embezzlement.  If incompetence and bad service were also viewed as felonious in the eyes of the law, my current cable executives OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwould be hanging from gibbets all over the Inland Empire.  Consider this:  Hong Kong gets an average download speed of 54.1 MBS.  Latvia has 37.2 MBS.  Even a little shit stain of a country like Bulgaria averages 32.1 Megabits per second.  I’m in Los-fucking-Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world and I average about 5!  TW also severely limits the amount you can download and is 7th in Netflix connection speed.

happy bulgariansNow, I realize that it’s nigh-on impossible for a miniscule mom and pop organization like Time/Warner to compete with uber-global mega-powers like Bulgaria and Latvia but you’d think they’d put up a modicum of effort.  You know, like you’d see on The Amazing Race…oh that’s right, I don’t get that show anymore.

So what is a fellow to do?  A network I almost never watch (perhaps the odd football game) is being kept from me by a cable provider I wish I didn’t have.  It reminds me of the old joke.  Two Jews are sitting, eating in a rather dowdy restaurant and one disgruntled old gentleman says old guys eatingto the other, “Oi, this food is absolutely horrible.” And the other nods in agreement and replies, “And such small portions!”

But these kind of despicable acts of selfish-immolation are in no way unique or an outlier.  Nobody at CNBC is scratching their finely-coifed head and saying, “Man this is a fucking weird one!”  Alas, it is all too common.  Which brings us to…

Asshole No. 3:

KardashiansAh yes, our inglorious friends in the music industry.  Their profits have been dropping like the breasts on the Kardashian sisters since we were in that other millennium.  The “Big Three” (formerly six) have tried every tactic imaginable to reverse this upsetting trend except for putting out a better product.  During the CD era, they did manage to temporarily buoy their sales by reissuing their old product in a shiny new format.   Indeed, they’re still flogging various “new improved” editions of these old and beloved musical chestnuts.  While this course of action produces some fiscal satisfaction in the short run, those rewards come in ever-shrinking increments with each iteration.   It’s like digging up your old dead girlfriend every time they invent a new type of makeup and whisking her off to the Poconos.

They have also been hell-bent on collecting every nickel that is owed to their artists.  Now, they have no intention of actually paying that naptstermoney out to the artists in question, but they collect it nonetheless.  When Napster was the undisputed king of peer-to-peer, the RIAA had a clear decision to make. The music industry could take the flexible, nimble-witted approach and adapt to a new technological world order or they could favor a dim-witted, immoderately greedy and predictably disastrous plan of attack.  True to form, they gleefully embraced the latter.  The RIAA went after peer-to-peer sites and downloaders with a fury and ferocity usually reserved for street mimes and oh the public-relations coups these benevolent patrons of the arts scored while dragging 75 year-old grandmothers into court because she’d let young Bobby or Sue play on her computer between cookies and ice cream.  The real problem of course, is they were killing the solution.

The History

microwave-poodleLet’s look at what was going on at the time.  CD sales are starting to wane at the very same moment that the internet is exploding like a poodle in a microwave.  Up springs this site that has millions of avid and young music collectors flocking to it every day.  Yes, these online opportunists were sharing music without permission but these were the same people, when they liked something, who would go out and buy the official release.  Plus, if they wanted to get it for free….recordable CDs were only 20-30 cents apiece.  It was the wave of the future.  (As a rule, stupid greedy idiots absolute abhor waves of the future.)  There was genuine panic in the halls of The Grubby Little Bastards Association.  Up until now, they had held all the grubby little cards.  Physical product is an absolute fucking nightmare.  You need big factories to produce it in.  You need big expensive stores to sell it in and you need huge fucking trucks to get it from hither to yon.  If people started listening to music on their computers and getting it online, there’d be no need for factories or stores.  Gasp!  Musicians might be able to sell this shit to customers all over the world, by themselves.  It was a nightmare.  Here was a free OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdistribution system that didn’t require huge fucking trucks!  Yikes!  Everything that had enabled Mr. Music Executive to become an insufferable scumbag asshole was about to come crumbling down around his insufferable scumbag ears and there was nothing he could do to stop it.  So, he quite shrewdly put every resource he had into trying to stop it.

alternate uiverse-type shotIn an Alternate Universe:

But suppose the inconceivable happened and these geld gobbling ghouls had chosen a different, “smarter” path.  One that didn’t flush their entire future down the rusty toilet bowl of history.  Suppose they had jumped onto this thundering bandwagon instead of putting their head under the front tire.  Allow this new medium to stay in business in return for Naptster including links to their commercial product, posting as many free ads as the Big Six (now three) wanted to put up and even use it to sell concert tickets.  They could have even offered to sell advance copies of albums in MP3 format on Napster.  Imagine!  They could have beaten Apple to the internet-music-distribution punch by four years and made billions… but nooooo.  Garnisheeing granny’s pension was definitely the far more profitable way to go.

This wasn’t even a pyrrhic victory.  It was a staggering pyrrhic defeat. Imagine the British at Dunkirk turning their guns around and firing at the ships that were coming to rescue them.  That’s how dumb this was.  They didn’t stamp out free music sharing.  They didn’t even slow it NoDickheadsdown.  Today, you can get any album, TV show, movie or sporting event you want, absolutely for free online.   To almost quote Dr. Seuss, “They hadn’t stopped the future from coming.  It came.  Somehow or other, it came just the same.”  Congatu-fucking-lations dickheads.

The Epilogue:

One day soon, CBS will to return to that big, thick coaxial wire that sticks into the back of my flatscreen, thus guaranteeing I’ll have something to watch when I look as old as David the-hunger-07Bowie in The Hunger.  And while these two righteous behemoths of bubble-headedness bitch-slap each other all over the airwaves, Time Warner actually wants me to bundle my phone service with them.  As if I wasn’t already envious enough of Bulgaria!

And Now Some Music!

Whilst pumping out my daily music mailer (which you can receive by writing to me at radiovickers1@gmail.com , I come across some pretty choice tuneage.  Below are a few this month’s fine examples.

Scouting for Girls – She’s So Lovely – a band that is far bigger in England than here.  Once again, they have better taste than we do.

Laura Jansen – The Lighthouse – one of those great pop songs.  You start questioning whether you should like it because it’s so catchy and then you decide to take off your musical crown and just enjoy it.  At least, I did.

Patricia Vonne – Traeme PazThe video is a little silly but a nice tune and a good voice.

=DV=

Darrell Vickers appears here every 4th Monday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.co

DBAWIS ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com .

One Response to “Darrell Vickers: A Tale of Two Shities”

  1. I like your double edged sword of attack on BOTH sides of the CBS/TW battle. I was on the side of CBS when it all began, but I see a little clearer now that they’re both ruinous createns.
    Please pardon my spelling.
    Or should I say Spelling.

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