Hodgy Beats, Fracking And Other Aspects of the Information Age
While we are ceaselessly entertained today, there are still a few gaps in the flow of some kinds of information.
Written by Duane Bradford. Last updated Thursday September 8th, 2011
By DUANE BRADFORD
A caption of a photograph reproduced in a New York Times Arts section (C-1, July 19) displayed the backside of an energized young guy in shorts, stocking cap, black camisa, socks and tennis shoes, extending his arms to the obvious delight of a large crowd below the stage on which he stood.
It read, really:
“The rapper Hodgy Beats of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park in Chicago on Sunday, the final day of the three-day event.”
After reading this caption, I decided that my utter failure to comprehend Hodgy Beats of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All forced me to read the story. After all Hodgy Beats might have escaped and is still on the loose. I scanned the first two paragraphs:
“I just want to say one word to you. Are you listening?” read the first paragraph.
This had the desired effect of compelling me to read the next paragraph for a clearer understanding of Hodgy Beats. So I dropped down and read the next paragraph:
Why didn’t I think of that? Hodgy Beats plays a flute. I should have guessed that by reading the story’s headline, “Back to the ‘90s, Tootling a Flute.”
Since I had invested perhaps only a minute reading and attempting to digest this information, I wondered if that required me to spend more time here in the Arts section on this spread. After all, even though I am a lifelong lover of most all music (a trumpeter at age nine), I am now 82, and the passage of time takes on a new meaning. So after my wandering eye caught the name of Battles and Gang Gang Dance (one of the performers), I decided I would probably be better off spending my valuable time trying to understand how the Halliburton Loophole figures in hydrofracking or why various religions of the world seem to be associated - directly or indirectly - with some horrible crime. (See various Crusades, ethnic cleansing of Smyrna and many other places, witches burned alive.)
What am I trying to say? I’m not sure - except I am becoming a solid member of the community of thought that we may be drowning in our glut of information. Or else we are being entertained so much that, lost in a fog of joy, we do not recognize (or even desire to learn or do anything about):
• What to do about an absolutely, positively dysfunctional Congress? (Nay even government in general if you wish to include Florida and Wisconsin.) Can we send them to their rooms without supper?
• A president who has run out of cheeks to turn and must rely on a Jimmy Hoffa to rally his troops?
• An army of lunatic politicians, fueled by television (in quest of ratings and commercial dollars) to display their craziest utterings?
• Firearms. The United States has the highest rates of firearm-related deaths (including homicide, suicide, and unintentional deaths) among industrialized countries.
• Guns and kids. The overall rate of firearm-related deaths for US children younger than 15 years of age is nearly 12 times greater than that found for 25 other industrialized countries, and the rate of firearm-related homicide is nearly 16 times higher than that in all the other countries combined.
No disrespect to Hodgy Beats or Gang Gang Dance, but my cup is running over with entertainment information. That’s part of why I have taken my laptop computer out here to our big front porch and decided to write to you. The mini-cold front overhead has brought happy tears to our eyes here in the 2011 ovens of north Florida. So it is nice to sit here in a pleasant afternoon breeze and write. No TV, no Hodgy Beats story in my morning newspaper.
Yet. And yet. Maybe I speak hastily.
News of that the Manning fella not being at the helm of the Indianapolis Colts football team for a while caused me to rethink my rant about entertainment glut. So, not so fast. I cannot count the hours, you see, that I have sat mesmerized before my TV watching college and professional football players try to mutilate each other. (I rationalize this is a holdover from one year I went out for high school football and ended up on the B squad so the big guys could crush me, a 150-pound guard.)
But even considering that warm feeling for watching a defensive back devise the proper geometric angle to collide head-on with a stretched-out receiver, sports entertainment is losing me. Too much dancing in the end zone, banging chests in a way any ape would be proud to see, and making the event a religious experience by thrusting an index finger skyward.
Years ago, Luis Alicea, the former All-American Florida State University baseball second baseman whose professional year included contracts with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox, tried to enlighten my thinking about his game. “It isn’t a sport; it’s an entertainment business,” he told me. I had inwardly come to that conclusion, but his words certainly corroded my once lofty thinking of the national pastime.
It’s that business of athletes becoming millionaires; for coaches to cobble together winning teams so they, too, become millionaires instead of being fired; for TV businesses to command scheduling each year so as to assure the steady flow - shall we say a billion or so? - of dollars for themselves; for university athletic directors and university presidents to look the other way so those millions of dollars in television revenues will continue trickling down to their organization - to justify their seven- and eight digit salaries.
While I am brimful of information, I’m still awaiting a few more pieces of information.
1. I’d sure like to know where the sports department of the Miami Herald has been for the last 10 years -- read that decade -- during which some members of the University of Miami football team were wallowing in sin.
2. And I need word from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the police squad for collegiate athletics, which likes to use the phrase “student athletes.” They’ll clean it up. Right now, though, judging from their television commercials, they are occupied more with explaining what they do with all the gazillions of television dollars they are awash in thanks to the sweat and pains of thousands of unpaid collegiate athletes.
They’ll get things straight. Wink-wink.