I’m about to complain about the Internet.
Putting it in print on this site will force me to minimize social media use for a couple of days. I need a mental vacation.
So there’s the death of XXXtentacion. As a crotchety old rap fan, I didn’t know much about him other than his history of violent crime. Still, when I saw that he passed, I thought “Damn.” People don’t deserve to die, no matter how I feel about them. (Refer to the collection of anti- death penalty papers I wrote in college). Grief and honesty about the deceased can–and should–co-exist. My father abandoned me the minute I was born and died seven years ago. Death did not make his neglect any less harmful. Nor do I have to spin him into a better person to justify my occasional struggle to say “My father is dead” out loud. I say all this to say: people can do terrible things, die, and leave behind people affected by the loss.
What else? The Carters.
I don’t think I’ll listen to Everything is Love. 4:44–brilliant as it was– was like watching Professor X inject himself with the mutant cure. I prefer my superstars distant and regal. Furthermore, don’t want to hear Jay try to ride trap beats in 2018. He’s given me 20 years of music to rock forevermore. I’m good.
The reactions to the album were my “The Dark, The Messy, & The Ugly” post come alive. I HATE “stanning” and “faves” SO VERY much (enough to defy writing rules with the redundant “so” and “very”). Even at the height of my intense fandoms (Jay-Z and early Wale come to mind), I was more geek than “stan.” I’ll immerse myself in song catalogs and interviews, but never with the idea that artists owe me anything. They don’t, after all, belong to me. And this is my biggest beef with “stans”: the audacity of thinking fans’ whims matter more than artists’ humanity.
What else is chapping my ass right now?
Ah, yes. Music streaming wars. This isn’t a real war, by the way. It’s a thing happening in my overactive mind now that Google Play Music will disappear at an undefined future date. I’ve sampled Tidal, Spotify, and the new YouTube Music. All are more aesthetically pleasing than Google Play. None fit my needs. I am an active participant in my musical choices. I make my own playlists, have a collection of rare mp3s not published on streaming sites (like the Aaliyah catalog), and don’t need apps to anticipate my mood based on location. I just want to control my own shit within an app that understands my music tastes. Why can’t Google leave well enough alone? Such a stupid first world problem.
Finally, the world is falling apart. I have to figure out where to lend my efforts. I contact my congressional representatives on matters that concern me, I’ve voted in every local election since November 2016, but that doesn’t feel like enough. I need to engage beyond “amplifying” and stern letters and $15 here or there, which means stepping from behind screens and engaging in the physical world.
Now to figure out where to start.
[*] Catch that reference, Orwell readers?