Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Oh My, Look How Creative We Are (not that I'm expressing my personal opinion or anything)

After Extreme Mortman noted that new Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth is the niece of Tina Weymouth, I just had to weigh in:

Don’t heap the praise so quickly.

Within the next couple of years, some big-named columnist at the Post will display his inflated ego and say that he and he alone is responsible for everything that is good at the Post.

As a result of this, the Post will temporarily split into two papers - one edited by the big name columnist with a mysterious English advisor and more esoteric than the original Post, and the other edited by the rest of the columnists and more funky than the original Post.

Eventually the two sides will get together, but things will fall apart and the Washington Times will become the paper of record in the city. (A paper simply named Post, with guest columnists, will appear briefly but will not last.)

In case you have any doubts about which Talking Heads' faction I am in sympathy with, let me annlanders something that I originally wrote in 2003.

On a January day in 1984, Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne was walking down Broadway in Manhattan when he was approached by a group of teenagers. The teenagers were chatting with each other when they noticed Byrne. David, well-known in New York, was not surprised when the youths suddenly hushed, stared in his direction, and ran toward him. However, Byrne was surprised by what happened next.

"Excuse me," asked a girl with a green mohawk. "Are you David Byrne?"

In a friendly manner, David replied, "Yes."

"Wow," said mohawk-girl in awe. "I remember when you were in the Talking Heads."

"Yeah," murmured a boy in agreement.

"Actually, I'm still in the Talking Heads," replied Byrne. "I'm writing some songs right now."

"I remember your show," said the boy. "You guys were really cool."

With a hint of irritation, Byrne turned toward the boy. "We're still busy, working on new things."

"Yeah, but not like Michael Jackson," said mohawk-girl.

Another girl nodded. "Michael Jackson's doing some really trendy stuff. But you guys were good in your day."

"Thank you, I guess," replied David as the group walked away.

David continued to his favorite diner and ran into his good friend Laurie Anderson. Still shaking his head, he described the encounter to her in detail.

"Michael Jackson?" said Anderson in amazement. "What a hack."

"Well, that's what they said," replied Byrne as he shook his head. "I can't believe that they think he's all that creative, though."

"Jackson's been getting a free ride," said Anderson. "He hasn't had to face anyone with real creativity."

"But he does sell a lot of records," mused Byrne. "Success is hotter than creativity any day."

"Maybe," thought Anderson as she sent her vegetarian bacon back to the cook. "But what if several creative people took him on? Thriller Schmiller."

Byrne sat in thought. "We'd need some help."

- - -

Laurie Anderson and David Byrne tried their best. After three months of work, they had recorded seven songs for a planned album called My Oh My, Look How Creative We Are. However, their attempts to assemble an all-star cast proved fruitless, and the seven tracks in fact documented seven rejections from leading music industry names. Here is one of those rejections, set to music by Byrne and Anderson, entitled "Laurie Calls Peter."

BYRNE (spoken) Do you have the number?
ANDERSON (spoken) Yes. I have the number.
BYRNE (sings) Then you'd better do some dialing.
(telephone dialing)
VOICE (spoken) Bloody hell, who is this?
ANDERSON (spoken) Hello. This is Laurie.
VOICE (spoken) It's three a m.
ANDERSON (spoken) It is earlier here. We have a different time.
BYRNE (sings) Time for shouting, time for smiling.
ANDERSON (spoken) Am I speaking to Peter Gabriel?
VOICE (spoken) Not any more. (Hangs up phone.)
BYRNE (sings) He's not a morning person.
ANDERSON (spoken) I guess that you are right.
BYRNE (sings) He's not a morning person.
ANDERSON (spoken) And neither was Elton John.
BYRNE (sings) So I don't know what I will do.
ANDERSON (spoken) You don't know what you will do.
BYRNE (sings) I dont' know what I will do.
ANDERSON (spoken) But you know it will be true.
BYRNE (spoken) What?
ANDERSON (spoken) True.

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