THREE DAYS AGO I posted a piece titled “what? me worry? – on cultural oblivion” concerning the perceived obliviousness (by me) of young people to their cultural past and environment. The last paragraph in that piece read, “But what the hey! Those two kids would probably be astounded by my lack of awareness of what’s been happening on the popular music/cultural scene of the past few decades.”
So now I’m back with an addendum piece, subtitled “on cultural oblivion part 2.” Here I turn the table and discuss my real obliviousness to the cultural matrix in which I reside. Earlier today, I received an email from Environmental Action with a link to a page titled “Join us for our Day of Action at Beyoncé’s Concert.” It reads as follows:
“Pepsi’s main celebrity endorser, Beyoncé is performing all over America this month. This is a unique opportunity to educate tens of thousands of her fans about Genetically Modified Organisms-labeling and draw her attention to tell Pepsi to stop blocking GMO labels.
On Tuesday, August 5, Beyoncé will be performing at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Beyoncé is known for how responsive she is to her fans. Our presence will show her the importance of this issue. Join me and other environmental activists as we host our “Day of Action” to catch her attention to the importance of GMO-labeling.
Even though most Americans want to know what’s in their food, giant food companies like Pepsi have spent millions of dollars to block landmark GMO labeling laws in states like Washington and California.
RSVP and let us know you are coming! I’ll be in touch over the next couple of weeks with details on how to get involved. Can’t make it? We can get Beyoncé’s attention right now with thousands of posts on her Facebook and Twitter profiles.”
This link to her Facebook and Twitter profiles take you to a page that reads:
“Beyoncé is a self-described modern-day feminist who has won 17 Grammys and sold over 118,000,000 albums worldwide. Since 2002, Beyoncé has been working alongside Pepsi; in 2012, she even signed a $50,000,000 endorsement deal. At the same time, Beyoncé cares deeply about what is in her food, frequently showing off her vegan diets on the popular social media site Instagram.”
On cultural oblivion part 2
I posted the petition on my ‘Bleeding Heart Liberal Petitions’ page on Facebook with this intro: “Uh, one thing: who’s Beyoncé?” It was, of course, a joke. But it’s not a joke, of course. Apparently, aside from her extraordinary sales (which I would probably call into question if the subject interested me), her staggering wealth, and her healthy diet, (each of which I just learned) this is what I know of Beyoncé: she is a very attractive woman.
I do not believe that I have ever heard a recording by her, so I wouldn’t know her voice if I heard it on the radio right now. So I have absolutely no opinion nor do I have any interest in forming an opinion.
I am one of those Progeny of the Sixties who feels no rapport with most of what has happened to popular music since then—and that includes rock, pop, and what passes for soul/r&b these days. Even country has been taken over by the same histrionic divas that have made a mess of the rest of it.
So call me curmudgeonly!
That said, I was somewhat taken aback that the folk at Environmental Action felt the need to choose Beyoncé for this call to arms. Like so much else I miss with my head buried deep in the cultural wasteland (sic), I was completely unaware that she had been named one of Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014. And while I rarely turn to that hoary publication for guidance, I must be impressed with her selection.
Finally, I copied the last few paragraphs of my original “What—me worry?” post from two days ago and changed the wording: I don’t expect every sixtysomething person in the western world to know every pop artist of the present who are required programming on radio formats we don’t listen to!
But I do think that educated people from a specific town city province state should know a few things of historical, artistic, or social significance from that area. Like I knew who Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Mudhoney were when they were the ones to know (even if I didn’t care for their music).
For example, while I would not be surprised if a 65-year old male from Biloxi, Mississippi, or Darien, Connecticut, did not understand a reference to “Sub Pop grunge,” but I would probably be a blown away if an adult male with a high school education from Seattle, Washington, didn’t get it!