Yes, today’s post title is the name of a long-running daytime drama, AKA soap opera, that aired on CBS for 54 seasons and nearly 14,000 episodes. The show also has some personal significance as my marvelous mom was watching it, as usual, on November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was killed. As I have written in at least one previous post, even though I was just 3 1/2 years old at the time, I remember that day.
As it turns out, since neither ABC nor NBC aired programming in that time slot then (1:30-2:00 PM Eastern), As The World Turns was the last regular U.S. network program broadcast for the next four days. The show was one of the first two serial dramas to be 30 minutes in length as previous soap operas were just 15 minutes.
Anyway…the reason I used As The World Turns as today’s post title doesn’t really have anything to do with the show. Last night, my wonderful wife and I watched a program on the Smithsonian Channel about the 2018 eruptions of Kilauea in Hawaii and Fuego in Guatemala. This morning, I learned about today’s severe earthquake that affected southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, causing thousands of deaths.
Terra Firma (solid earth in Latin) is actually nothing of the sort. I am not a geologist, but I understand that the earth’s crust on which eight billion humans live is like the skin on old-fashioned pudding. The USGS and NEIC record about 20,000 earthquakes every year around the world. According to the Global Volcanism Program, the usual number of volcanoes around the world considered to have continuing eruptions is 40-50. Of course, and although it is extremely unlikely this will occur in my lifetime, I live in a region that would probably be wiped out when the next eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano occurs.
It’s time for links to Why Evolution Is True. Please indulge me as I intend to quote long passages from two specific posts.
From this post:
Here’s the ending of Andrew Sullivan’s latest piece on the tendency of the American Mainstream Media to force every story into a preexisting ideologican narrative. I summarized his piece in the Nooz yesterday, but couldn’t resist adding his conclusion:
We live in the freest, most multiracial democracy in the history of the planet. Of course traditional prejudices linger, ebb and flow, and the past has helped define the present. But they do not come near to definitively describing the infinitely fascinating interactions between all of us, in every possible combination, our shared humanity, the cross-racial friendships and marriages, our individual personalities, our different upbringings. They cannot account for the extraordinary changes since the 1960s. The transcendence of race and sex and orientation happens all around us every day — and reducing our entire world to these allegedly irreconcilable abstractions of “hate” is a pathological distraction from reality. [emphasis mine]
And reality is so much more interesting than the dogma the MSM now brings to almost every story, almost every time. You don’t have to ignore racism’s enduring effect in society. But you can see the world in a lens other than the neo-Marxist vision of permanent, zero-sum group-warfare in which some groups are always the oppressor and some the oppressed.
Journalists used to do this — searching for truth rather than enforcing pre-existing narratives, alert to the surprising “specific” more than the predictable “structural” and “systemic”; and be alert to the twists and turns of this diverse culture, rather than constantly returning to history to insist it’s always repeating itself. And you know what? Readers were interested, rather than bored, engaged rather than condescended to — and the press thrived.
Now look at it. The US media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — of 46 nations, according to a 2022 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. And “moral clarity” journalists seem intent on driving it even lower.
“But you can see the world in a lens other than the neo-Marxist vision of permanent, zero-sum group-warfare in which some groups are always the oppressor and some the oppressed.” Sadly, way too many people can’t or won’t see the world any other way. They act like it’s 1823 or 1923 instead of 2023. Of course, the piece is a strong indictment of the US “news business” as well.
In a related vein, here is a remark by comedian/political commentator Bill Maher as quoted in this post. “The problem with communism – and with some very recent ideologies here at home – is that they think you can change reality by screaming at it.” Yes, I realize that using boldface is often interpreted as virtual screaming.
Switching gears, here is the link to a Why Evolution Is True post titled, “What’s killing new music? Old music!” The post refers to an article by Ted Gioia, an American jazz critic and music historian. This passage was both informative and uplifting to me.
“Old songs now represent 70 percent of the U.S. music market, according to the latest numbers from MRC Data, a music-analytics firm. Those who make a living from new music—especially that endangered species known as the working musician—should look at these figures with fear and trembling. But the news gets worse: The new-music market is actually shrinking. All the growth in the market is coming from old songs.
The 200 most popular new tracks now regularly account for less than 5 percent of total streams. That rate was twice as high just three years ago. The mix of songs actually purchased by consumers is even more tilted toward older music. The current list of most-downloaded tracks on iTunes is filled with the names of bands from the previous century, such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Police.
. . .Never before in history have new tracks attained hit status while generating so little cultural impact. In fact, the audience seems to be embracing the hits of decades past instead. Success was always short-lived in the music business, but now even new songs that become bona fide hits can pass unnoticed by much of the population.
Only songs released in the past 18 months get classified as “new” in the MRC database, so people could conceivably be listening to a lot of two-year-old songs, rather than 60-year-old ones. But I doubt these old playlists consist of songs from the year before last. Even if they did, that fact would still represent a repudiation of the pop-culture industry, which is almost entirely focused on what’s happening right now.”
Jerry Coyne notes that the audience for the Grammy Awards has declined by 75% in the last nine years. As I have written, I strongly believe that the phrase “American music” is an oxymoron.
I’ll finish with what I call the Unitas photo from The Concours In The Hills this past Saturday. By that I mean it’s the 19th (and probably last) photo I will publish from the event. In case you don’t know, or even if you do, the legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback wore number 19. Thanks for reading.
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6 thoughts on “As The World Turns”
“but now even new songs that become bona fide hits can pass unnoticed by much of the population”
I will cheerfully admit to being part of that population. I couldn’t tell you hardly any popular artists or songs I’ve listened to in many years. One that DOES come to mind is Mumford and Son. That said, I have listened to a good bit of music from current artists but they are so far from the mainstream that sunlight has to be piped in. These are all actual musicians who actually play the instruments and have actual lyrics instead of hooting, grunting and yelling. My tastes tend to run to string instrument ensembles, mainly acoustic. Because of their style, they tend to be grouped as “country,” but are so far from the dreck that’s popular country music it’s like comparing an apple to a french fry.
(still working on getting all my old vinyl converted to digital)
“but are so far from the dreck that’s popular country music it’s like comparing an apple to a french fry.” LOVED this description.
If I send you my old vinyl records will you convert them to digital? I have a really eclectic collection. Way too many Ventures, Beach Boys and Don Francisco. Just kidding.
More than 20 years ago, before turntables built expressly for the purpose of converting vinyl to digital existed, I figured out how to do so using my turntable, a pre-amp, a basic computer sound card and some free software.
First, there was something seismic about that day, as it is one of my first memories. I can remember being on the floor in front of the TV with a toy truck. Maybe the fact that 3 year olds of a certain mental capacity can appreciate the gravity of the moments in which they live earlier than most.
Second, a local podcaster and national sports personality Mr. Tony recently did a show on the very subject of new music. It seems as if music and musicians suffer from the same fate as ice cream lovers at Baskin Robbins: too many choices and too many outlets. Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, TicTok etc have all diluted the pool. Add in Sirius XM and IHeart radio and unlike the Ed Sullivan show where 30 million people can hear the Jackson 5, 50,000 streams of a new artist’s product is a lot. In fact, Mr. T on his podcast has taken to featuring music by new artists and is credited with providing a significant amount of exposure to said artists.
Besides, what’s better than “School Days” these days?
Many thanks for sharing, Doc.
I remember a most incongruous event: Al DiMeola appearing and performing on Squawk Box on CNBC. Turns out that Joe Kernen is a huge fan of his music. DiMeola railed against streaming music services saying that except for the .1% at the top, professional musicians are making very little money compared to pre-streaming days.
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