The Great American Music Festival: Coachella, Dubstep, and Epinephrine
“Is it the sixties yet?”
Every year, Coachella Valley in Indio, California is flooded with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the country and around the world. These pilgrims—fans of music, fans of dancing, fans of ecstasy, fans of sweat—come from all over to experience (and that’s really the only verb that can be used) the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, most commonly referred to in totum pro parte as simply Coachella. I use the word experience because although it is, broadly, a music festival, people don’t come simply to hear music. You can listen to music on a gramophone, or an ice cream truck, or even your computer. They come for the spectacle that is the Great American Music Festival.
Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bamboozle, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, and SXSW are all immensely popular festivals in the US and, for the most part, consist of the same basic elements: a requisite handful of impressive headliners, a back-catalog of mid-level and rising (and decidedly-not-rising) artists, several stages, a village of corporate tents, and Stonehenges of supernaturally large speakers. Depending on the festival there are often carnival rides, craftspeople in tents, temporary gardens, mushroom fountains, and a number of other very quirky things. If the traveling
KONY 2012 and Generation Y: Rebels Without A Pause
This Is Your Brain On Melodrama
In the mid 1940’s, Walt Disney produced a number of cartoons, at the request of the United States government. These shorts, given titles like “Der Fuehrer’s Face” and “Commando Duck,” portrayed Germans and Japanese as amoral, corrupt, and uncivilized caricatures. Copies of these propaganda films can be found floating around the internet, but due to their reductive and simplistic portrayal of nuanced and now-familiar subjects, they don’t read the way they used to. It’s a combination of cynicism, embarrassment, and an assumed superiority that leads us to laugh at these images of the three industrious pigs taking on a Nazi wolf—superiority to the dopey inhabitants of America 1945 who swallowed that ridiculously two-dimensional waffle without thinking twice; who blindly supported the endeavors of their government based on a few minutes of carefully scripted media. We snort, we close the tab, we open Facebook, and we all but declare war on a man whose name we just learned in a country we couldn’t point to on a map.
Joseph Kony and Uganda, respectively, in case you’ve been internetting under a rock.
On the continuum between our primate ancestors, from Dryopithecus up to the modern Homo Sapiens, there are fewer steps between us and the sentimental Cleavers of WWII America than we’d like to think. Although plenty of red flags have been raised in the wake of Invisible Children Inc.’s viral KONY 2012 campaign regarding the organization’s motivations, legitimacy, use of funds, etc., this isn’t my concern. One thing of which I’m certain is that they are not “bad guys,”