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beyoncé and pepsi and me (on cultural oblivion part 2)

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!

 

 

 

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