Radiohead and the Easter Bunny: some hard consumer truths

“If you have been rejected many times in your life, then one more rejection isn’t going to make much difference. If you’re rejected, don’t automatically assume it’s your fault. The other person may have several reasons for not doing what you are asking her to do: none of it may have anything to do with you. Perhaps the person is busy or not feeling well or genuinely not interested in spending time with you. Rejections are part of everyday life. Don’t let them bother you. Keep reaching out to others. Keep reaching out to others. When you begin to receive positive responses, then you are on the right track. It’s all a matter of numbers. Count the positive responses and forget about the rejections.”

Great, now you don’t have to consider buying (and I don’t have to feel bad rejecting) “Meeting People is Easy,” a film by Grant Lee about Radiohead. These were the entirety of the liner notes in the DVD — and the only message I could find within the entire hour-and-a-half soup of Radiohead song wreckage and miscoherent film footage. The film focused on the most boring parts of Radiohead’s success, notably the parts when people are talking and the mic doesn’t pick up exactly what they are saying. The film had a disclaimer on the front, stating, “This film contains stroboscopic effects that may adversely affect epilepsy sufferers.” This disclaimer is a classic trick to attract the 12- to 15 year-old male demographic. The film does have fast-changing film clips that lack purpose, which leave viewers in extreme confusion, but not in convulsions.

Let me explain my evening, to place the DVD into context. I knew I was late in writing this review, but my mind raced thinking of the CDs I planned to buy. I had taken them from Spin Magazine’s “Ten Best Records You Didn’t Hear of the Year.” Various Artists’ “Clicks+Cuts” (Mille Plateaux) is an “introduction to the functioning of 21st century minimalism, the collection of schools of sound to come, and schools of life to follow.” Or so says Sascha Kosch, in the liner notes. The Handsome Family’s “In the Air” (Carrot Top) was my second choice, purported to be a macabre sweet semi-bluegrass band, with lyrics resembling 85-word short stories, in the tragic tradition of Appalachian Murder Ballads. It really sounded awesome. Cutler’s had none of these bottom-40 classics, and Kyle, the friendly music magician, suggested I buy Lullaby for the Working Class’s “Song” (Bar/None). Bar/None’s website says this about the band “In a time when most pop music is, metaphorically speaking, delivered with the speed and depth of e-mail, then “Song”, the third album from Lullaby for the Working Class, is like a letter that took a long slow journey from America’s heartland to your door.” I read this now, and really wish I got to hear the album. Oh, I bought it all right, it and the Radiohead film I mentioned briefly at the beginning. Both turned out to screw me over, like those sorority girls in all those Internet stories I write.

Arriving at home with my basket of goodies, I took out my contributions to Consumer Culture. With the flair of a four-year-old on Easter morn, I tore open the packaging of my little gift “Song.” I delicately dirtied my nails in that sticky seal along the edge of the case, which is another part of the package meant solely to prevent the elderly from listening to music. Finally I opened the case, and my eyes welled over with tears. Digression: The tears and Easter reference reminded me of some traumatic events back in the day. Me and the boys used to go around our largely pagan neighborhood and tell the little four year-olds that Easter isn’t about a nonexistent Easter Bunny, but actually about this Middle Eastern guy who rose from his bloody death in the middle of the night. Then we told the kids that the guy would burn them forever unless they gave up all their candy to us. The fools!

Where was I? Yes, the tears. I cried because when I opened the case, there was no CD! Like an oyster without a pearl. I have never heard of such things before. I called Cutler’s, and they told me these things happen sometimes, and that they would give me another copy of the same CD. Unfortunately, I had taken the last one. I was going to return to Cutler’s and buy some Sugarcubes (out of whence came Bjork), but my eyes were all bloodshot, and I didn’t want Kyle to know I had been crying. I know, its silly, but I’m sensitive. So I decided to forge the future by reviewing the DVD that I had bought as well. Big mistake. This DVD made me wish I had just played it safe by buying Radiohead’s music videos, which I know to be incredible. I mean, Radiohead is incredible, and yet this DVD, this perfect example of parasitism in modern media, sucked.

The only good part was when Thom York said of “OK Computer”‘s debut, “The press had their tongues glued to our pants.” Man, that’s ripe.

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