Unless You're a Reptilian
People still expect big change to happen even when everything has spun so far out of control. Little differences are made each day, but it’s a snail’s pace towards things not mattering at all. Our history is filled with powerful groups who have shaped the way we live and made sure that society stays on a hamster wheel.
I am reminded of this when there is an online boycott to make a change. People totally understand their power and what they have to do. The problem is getting enough people to sacrifice long enough to do any of it. Much like those annual boycotts where the meme spreads that “everyone” should not shop at a big box retail store for one whole week. Would it work? It probably would be quite a big deal! Will anyone remember to stay home when they need to go buy groceries? Probably not.
Musicians are pulling their music from Spotify to teach it a lesson about teaming up with Joe Rogan. Spotify responded about increasing their information warnings and blah blah blah. We all know that Joe Rogan made millions of dollars from his move to Spotify. If so, then how much do you think Spotify must have made? Probably enough to ignore all the people pulling their music catalogs.
I think that canceling Spotify because of Joe Rogan only hurts the people. The tech bros have made most music ever produced available for $10 a month (or free with ads)! There are endless arguments to how this is really amazing and an absolutely terrible idea all rolled into one. On one positive side, kids who couldn’t afford to buy the music can now find a lot of it. Do you know how thrilled I would have been when I was a kid if I could have found that obscure underground track I needed to satisfy my soul?
The problem is that we are now afraid that people can’t judge for themselves and believe what is being said at face value. Do you remember Art Bell? The host of a late night call-in show called Coast to Coast where people would tell us quite seriously that their wife was abducted and impregnated by Lizard People. Art usually humored all the callers and spoke to similarly bizarre guests at length about “the facts” as they believed them to be. (Facts about Lizard People.) We didn’t boycott Art Bell off of the air to protect people we may have deemed as morons. It was just expected that rational human beings would not believe stories about Lizard People and start an underground movement to target and destroy all Reptilians.
They argue that Joe Rogan is killing people with his misinformation. Couldn’t we argue the same about some television networks on either side of the political spectrum? Couldn’t the same be said about countless politicians throughout history? At the same time we’re going through this “Spotify thing” we’re (once again) discussing banned books and how bad that is. I don’t see much difference from reading any book and making your own decision, compared to listening to a podcast and making your own decision.
I hadn’t even finished writing this article before Whoopi Goldberg was temporarily “canceled” and suspended for two weeks. I can’t believe that someone who was discussing the horrors of the holocaust and the pure evil in people’s hearts gets suspended for ending that with a misinformed comment. A comment that literally followed her saying how evil the Nazis were. If you listen to the entire discussion it’s pretty clear what she was trying to point out from her own experiences, but instead of putting ourselves in someone’s shoes our society kicks them to the curb.
When it comes to free speech, we need to be very careful. Publish the facts against whatever anyone is misstating in their broadcasts. Inform the world of the science and all the data. But banning people? Silencing people. While there are so many other people? Other people who haven’t made the same mistake yet, but eventually will. That sounds like a problem.
The problem, as usual, isn’t the actual thing people are freaking out about. It’s the tip of an iceberg that hardly makes a difference. You’re clipping the plastic rings of a six-pack so a dolphin doesn’t suffocate, but you forgot about the oil spilling barrel after barrel into the ocean. You didn’t notice that the landfills were overflowing with returned Christmas gifts and uneaten buffet food. You haven’t yet learned about the groups of politicians pondering which natural habitat would be best to store the nation’s nuclear waste in. You haven’t read up on what governments have done to marginalized people throughout history.
People are dreaming if they think that they’ve won the day with a few music catalogs disappearing from Spotify. Posting triumphantly on Facebook that you’ve canceled your Spotify account and are now moving to YouTube or iTunes is hardly the “own” they may think. It’s proclaiming victory from one corporate giant while you sign the paperwork for replacement services from the other corporate giant. I have more respect for those brave souls who move to Linux-based operating systems and open source software. But the majority won’t do that because it’s hard, it’s inconvenient, it doesn’t sync right with all the other corporate hardware and software they’re also using.
It’s good that people do what little they can, because we’d be in an even more unstable and sad world if we didn’t. I’m not saying that people should not do what they’re doing in protest, but damn I wish we all could get our stuff together to do it better! At this scatterbrained point we can only continue to inspire big steps while achieving small successes. Maybe one day the small steps will turn into much more meaningful ones. If only all those good people saw the big picture and started paying attention to the roots instead of the branches.