lunarmoth wrote:I just want to add: this is not about Cohen-bashing. It's about deepening our understanding of what the pop music industry is doing with our minds, and what it's actually about.
#1 making money off youth
#2 channeling thoughts and energy
#3 controlling rebellion, manufacturing consent
#4 creating idols who manipulate the public while in turn being manipulated through contracts, blackmail, extortion, drugs, mind control etc.
It's highly organized and its run by gangsters. Nobody survives for long who doesn't play by the gangsters' rules.
So think about that. Imagine you were Leonard Cohen and Columbia Records just cancelled your record contract. Where would you go looking for money to continue to tour?
There's no doubt there are all kinds of gangsters involved in the music business. I was watching a Genesis documentary (I think Sum of the Parts) and Peter Gabriel was saying the first Genesis reunion happened because his first WOMAD festival tanked (World Music wasn't really on people's radar then) so bad that he was getting threats against him and his family from the people who fronted the money for the festival and so reached out to his former band mates who basically did it as charity gig for him.
But that I think that is more of the money side of things, the same could happen in the hot dog business. It seems more sinister in the music business because the product is a person and so the "management of a person" carries all kinds of sinister implications and potentials for abuse. But this exploitation can come from anywhere, the artist's husband, wife, manager, creditor, therapist, agent, lawyer, guru, drug dealer, etc when they have or try to take over production of the product. With Cohen, it is more about how does he supposedly fit into the Mighty Wurlitizer of media and cultural manipulation? A producer, composer, band leader, a session musician, errand boy who gets the sandwiches, etc? I'm a third of the way into I'm Your Man, and so far, I'm not seeing anything conclusive, or really explicitly suggestive, just a lot of creepy foreshadowing (its early of course).
And as far as thought control and the rest. This has been going on for millennia. Humans have been bound to myths, superstitions, magical thinking, through their stories and songs (probably even just percussion) since cave man days. There is probably less uniform thought control now as far as ideology (but maybe not content delivery) just because of the internet. If you wanted to you could spend the rest of your life listening to bird sounds if you wanted at home, work, in the car, jogging, etc And there is a large part of personal responsibility that goes with not becoming a automaton in any culture. I'm mean you have to do some active work just to counteract all the influences you are raised with. Do you really need to MKULTRA someone to make them a touring machine when you can basically raise them like the Osmonds/Jacksons/Beach Boys instead? (It would be hilarious, akin to the "failure to launch theory" though, if Cohen was a failed, unmarketable tool of the TPB. "Sorry, Leonard, we had to activate Neil Diamond to super star status instead".)
Any who, if you read up on a lot of bands/artists histories you see how someone usually had a concept that they wanted to create with a band, and went looking for the band later. Cohen's un pop oeuvre and message, spotty acclaim, branding, and bank-ability, (although last tour wise he made serious bank) would seem to preclude him from having much of an successful hand in any conceptual agenda. No one puts on a Leonard Cohen record to get laid, fight the man, or feel like a bad ass and if a teenager wants to feel morose they'd put on Morrissey or the Cure or their derivatives. Cohen, was a sad old man from the beginning and that is a hard sell to the pop and rock world. Conceptually, Ricky Martin has probably been more of a force on the hearts and minds of people globally.
I think it is hard to tease out high level manipulation and the plain old selling the package manipulation to. Obviously the Beatles and The Rolling Stones started out singing in uniforms, but if I recall correctly, even Iggy Pop and the Stooges management (Michael Fields?) wanted to create a more uniform sound and look, which he was able to do more successfully with The Ramones. And the Sex Pistols were basically The Monkees for Malcolm Mclaren's aesthetic. The promise of fame, money, power, freedom have always been pretty good unhidden persuaders. The producers want it, the deliverers of the message want it, the buyers of the messages want it, everyone is pretty much on the same page with the agenda of the illusion.
Note to self: I'm spending too much time on this.
If I knew all mysteries and all knowledge, and have not charity, I am nothing. St. Paul
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer