07 July 2007

My California Whine - Live Earth Excludes Us

In between laundry, a trip to the beach, and various other things, I've been watching Live Earth today. A music nerd, it was fun to learn about a variety of artists I hadn't heard before. But I have a complaint.

For one thing, the United States had two concerts - both on the East Coast. Second, artists who've been activists for decades, artists who've led the charge on issues like alternative energy, were excluded.

My kids are fifth generation Californians, so I know that I suffer from myopia, but I can't think of a state that has been a bigger stage for the development and emergence of pop rock in the last forty years. The Grateful Dead and the Eagles, Jefferson Airplane and Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Little Feat, and Bonnie Raitt are just some of the artists who came to or from California and became music stars. And all have been activists in environmental causes. Even our Republican governor has signed off on environmentally progressive legislation.

I know that Bob Dylan & the Band, the Beatles, & the Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen have done more to define modern pop rock than the above-named groups, but California is still a place of enormous importance for both the environmental movement and the music scene. Certainly more so than D.C. (one concert location today) and New York (another). If D.C. is a music center, than San Diego is a ski resort. California is not just the biggest exporter of agriculture in the U.S. - it is the biggest exporter of pop culture. LA movie and music studios produce a staggering percentage of the world's movies and music. And California has consistently led the U.S. in environmental regulation.

So why would California be ignored as a venue and a source for performers? Probably because the event was organized by Al Gore. American politicians have learned to ignore California; in the last 20 years, Republican presidential candidates have come to believe that they can't win the state and Democratic presidential candidates have come to believe that they can't lose it. The result? The most populous and richest and creative state in the U.S. - the sixth largest economy in the world - is once again ignored.

5 comments:

annie said...

How do we know they were excluded?

Anonymous said...

The whole concept of such a large scale event increasing awareness-- It's like someone throwing a lead life preserver to a drowning man.

They are all jumping on a bandwagon started by other people in order to promote themselves, because it's fashionable on account of certain sacrifices certain people made for years and years. Nothing wrong with self-promotion, but I loathe empty posturing of this nature. I consider it to be theft.

California, I could take it or leave it. There's a cultural aspect to it I could do without. I have tried to address this but evidently my point is not made. Yet.

These people seem more interested in relocating the system, and it's financial rewards, than they do in replacing it with something healthier. And that's because as posers, they don't understand the problems they claim to be supplying remedies for. I just grin and nod and say it's great, and keep on pushing for reform.

Anonymous said...

NY and DC as the only venues in the US are dead giveaways that musical interests have been hijacked by politics.

No different than the Kyoto Accord/Protocol: look at the number of nations and gov't entities signed on - this is about looking like a good global citizen, not about real science correctly applied (want to see the science/fiction ratio of Kyoto? Look for the BBC's 76 min. show "Great Global Warming Swindle" on Google video - want the condensed version: PDFlogic's 10 min. "Data From The Great Global Warming Swindle" on YouTube).

Politics can really stink.

Anonymous said...

Politics, if we look at the definition of the word, are supposed to be all about applied life science. What we are talking about is classic human stupidity.

Ron Davison said...

Annie,
Welcome to R World. I know that the folks mentioned weren't included and can only assume (given their past record of participation in such events) that they would have been glad to participate. Seems safe to assume that they were excluded (as were, to be fair, hundreds and probably thousands of really talented and deserving artists).

Anon,

I saw the BBC special and was surprised that it came from them. I tend to agree with the growing consensus that global warming is real and human activity is a big reason for it.