Last Saturday, chipmusic was presented in these two ways by Fox News – perhaps the worst news channel in the world? Br1ght Pr1mate performed live and talked about chiptune. Although the music is not my cup of tea, I think the clips are definitely worth watching because the hosts are perfect OMG-WTF-LOL-journalists, with a target audience that think like this. The hosts seem to think that chipmusic is 10 people making music in Pacman, which was fun to laugh at for a decade but is pretty tiresome now, really. Somehow it makes me think of when John Cage appeared on TV in 1960, playing along with the role of being a clown instead of a pretentious composer (like this, hehe?). Br1ght Pr1mate are aware that they take a similar role in the Fox News show.
The thread at chipmusic.org has a discussion about the problems of appearing on Fox News. While Nullsleep points to the political agenda of Fox News, 8bitweapon asks “What evil will come from them performing on fox?”. Obviously the good aspects are that some people will open their eyes to low-tech music, and that Br1ght Pr1mate had a good time. They say that “Whatever politics aside, we can all agree that music should be awesome and fun” and that media are two-way streets that can be used to get your message across.
But I don’t know. Obviously it’s not very useful to have a die-hard 1968-style marxistic outside-of-the-system kind of perspective on the politics of music, since we’re all part of Google World and it’s more or less impossible to be fully non-commercial. It calls for a different kind of political activism, or abstract hacktivism, as done by for example Yes Men or the recently dissolved Piratbyrån. They are prime examples of how large institutions in their obesity, can easily be manipulated or hacked if you are clever enough. From that perspective, if you appear in über-commercial advertisements and motivate it with with situationist rhetorics about subverting the spectacle (eh), it is a bit vague, at best. At worst, it’s just a lame excuse to sell out.
I do not want to diss Br1ght Pr1mate. The point is to ask questions about how one avoids to succumb to a program’s dramaturgy, or a larger media logic, while still being constructive. It’s obviously not easy. But a live broadcast to millions of (conservative?) people is a brilliant opportunity to spread scandalous truths or play pranks that will shake some realities around. I really like how Br1ght Pr1mate ‘publically’ say that the hosts made dick jokes in the commercial breaks and also asked Br1ght Pr1mate for acid. It would’ve been great to have heard about that on the air…