I’ve been doing all the traditional Thanksgiving things today, especially leaving sarcastic Facebook messages. The warmth of the holidays is a great time to get together with the whole social network of Facebook friends I mostly have never met and share status updates. It began with this one:
Thanks given for social networking. Apparently the first pilgrims to social networking had to manually “type” in status updates so others would know what they were thinking. This was during the dark age before real time brain mapping and quantum computing allowed the global telepathic web to bring us joyously together on InnerHeadBook.
Rhett, a philosophy professor I know who lives in the UK commented:
Warning: Level III chronosequence disruption will result in account suspension. Please maintain an orderly separation of future and present or your wave function will be collapse disadvantageously. Thank You.
Having hit a wall on the four hour writing session that began around 4 AM, my wave function continued collapsing disadvantageously or otherwise into Facebook holiday spirit. It was quiet in my house, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse as my fingers darted nervously around my track pad searching for holiday cheer amidst the stream of status updates scrolling down my screen. Freddy set me off into full holiday sarcasm mode when I found that he was still updating about Roger Water’s The Wall which we had just seen at the Pepsi Center with several other friends. The show was fine, but not the religious, ultimate, greatest-rock-concert-of-all-time experience that Freddy had hyped it as, and I didn’t feel it was even close to worth my $255. investment in a lousy seat and venue parking. I was persuaded to go mostly due to Freddy’s eloquence (he had already flown to NYC to see the show at Madison Square Garden or “MSG” as Freddy called it in his heavy Brooklyn accent) that this was a once in a lifetime experience, etc. For me, the movie, The Wall, had a far greater impact as a telling of the mythic depths of the story. The stage show often seemed mechanical and lifeless. There were long stretches where nobody was on the stage, the session musicians were behind the curtain and Waters was off somewhere, perhaps talking to his accountant. You couldn’t tell if it was a recording. The session musicians were highly competent and did most of the musical work. There were backup vocalists, and the contribution of Roger’s bass playing and vocals was fairly minimal. At 67 he had the aura of an aged wizard, but his movements were arthritic and he seemed more like the impresario or MC while the show rolled along on its well-oiled tracks around him. It felt like he could have taken the night off without changing much. I was not impressed with the projections. The best ones were right out of the movie. I had terrible seats and behind me were trailer park types who might as well have been at a hockey game emitting ear-splitting whistles and screeches at inopportune moments as if Roger had just scored a goal, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I worship Pink Floyd, and The Wall is a great achievement, but the meaning of The Wall had already been seared in my mind by my many midnight showings ofThe Wall at the St. Mark’s movie theater in the East Village 1983-84 under the intense influence of various substances and during a dark, glamorous death energy, Twilight Zone like phase of my life, and the road show reprisal added nothing new or better as far as I was concerned.
Freddy, pontificating to friends gathered at the end of the concert, had heads nodding in assent on what a revelation the show was of how we are deceived by the military/industrial complex and how dark and corrupt things were. Wow, what a revelation, never would have guessed at any of that without Roger Waters and the Wall road show. I tried unsuccessfully to remain silently sarcastic (but I’m not very good at that, the silent part I mean) so, of course, I had to diss the show a bit, even though my friends had tears of religious ecstasy in their eyes— Anything we just spent that much money on just had to be great right? Or so said my dissonant, sarcastic thoughts. In actuality a couple of them are highly accomplished musicians and their opinion of the show is no doubt better informed than mine.
The greatest impact of the show I felt was damage to my hearing and a sore throat from all the second hand smoke.
Freddie, who is like a Pink Floyd historian, aficionado and connoisseur (of the sort who can tell you in centimeters the exact dimensions of every helium-inflated giant pig Pink Floyd and Waters ever launched) tried to debate the whole drive home why this show was the greatest artistic triumph of all time, etc. There was nothing horrendously wrong with it, but it was in no way, no way worth what I spent on it.
I felt that there was so much more magic for me in my own creativity, and also as a consumer of culture in home theater experiences. I feel that the money spent on home theater equipment was far, far more worth it. Having just seen the new Harry Potter (strangely somber and despondent like Harry Prozac and the Depressed Hallows) on the big screen, I found that the sounds of people devouring trans-fatty popcorn and the endless guffaws of explosive cackling at every unfunny cue—competed with the power of the big screen. I’ve had many much more powerful experiences, and without all the toxic elements, distractions and absurd expense, watching blu ray movies at home.
Although in good spirits after a high energy writing session, I found Facebook and something about the holiday tempting me toward sarcasm like a red-eyed Santa offering me a crack pipe. That’s when I noticed Freddy’s new status updates:
Fred Strong The Wall was even better the second time. Our seats were killer, I got great pictures… Roger Waters is a genius of such rare caliber.
I hear that the next version will be called Wallmart and Platinum Preferred seating will start at $1800 a ticket. Is that true?
Every gun that’s made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense, a theft, from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed… Dwight D. Eisenhower
Wow, how many people could I feed with a $240. concert ticket?
Another brick in the wall….
Still not satisfied I added additional comments:
Roger Waters, interviewed on his Leer Jet as he flew back from his latest Wall tour that netted him a neat $500,000,000, pressed pause on the remote of his 52″ Plasma monitor on which he was watching footage of his last performance, and remarked: “Yeah man, I hope people get the message that consumerism and money lust are just more bricks on the wall. That’s why I knew I needed a $40,000,000 high tech stage show version of the Wall, because people could never otherwise figure out on their own how like dark, corrupt and materialistic everything is. We just got to bring down that wall.”
Waters continued: “Look man, John Q Public American concert goer just doesn’t get it, they’re like sheeple mesmerized by the military/industrial/consumerism complex that’s killing the planet. That’s why I knew I had to come down from the castle [Water’s 72 room 18th Century castle overlooking the French Rivera] and put all their materialism right in their face. Given how comfortably numb these yankee materialists are I knew that the only way I could get my point across is with 100 foot tall puppets and 200,000 watts of Dolby surround sound.”
At that point we were interrupted by an attractive stewardess bearing a tray of dry martinis.
“Thanks laddie,” Waters quipped, “I’m feeling as dry as a funeral drum.” The stewardess carefully placed our drinks on cocktail napkins embossed with the name of Water’s Leer Jet: “Goodbye Cruel World.” After his second martini Waters grew expansive,
“At the end of a hard, thankless concert tour like this you just wonder if it’s worth all the trouble you’ve gone to bringing the message to the masses. Once I’m off the stage I know they’re just going to go right back to their dense, materialistic lives skating on the thin ice of modern life. All I can say is don’t blame Waters and The Wall tour when a crack in the ice appears under your feet.”
Waters sighed, kicked off his handmade Italian loafers and lay back on his cashmere-upholstered sofa closing his heavy-lidded eyes. “Goodbye cruel world.” He muttered drowsily, signaling that the interview was over.
Anyway, that’s how I spent my Thanksgiving morning. I hope yours was less sarcastic. Best wishes to you and your whole social network during this special time.