Dumbing down is a deliberate diminution of the intellectual level of education, literature, cinema, news and culture. The term “dumbing down” originated in 1933 as movie-business slang, used by motion picture screenplay writers, meaning:”to revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence.”
We’ve all seen or heard about it, the media dumbing down in the “reality” shows we see, the “hot” headlines on magazines and news papers and of course the “winners” or what being a “baller” is all about, that you don’t have to have much talent nor education to be one. You can see this in the award shows too… well maybe in award shows it’s not about dumbing down in its textbook sense but watering down music with substance, yes, I’m saying it, the media has slowly and effectively removed the substance from music by glorifying all those party jams about twerking and turning up whilst turning it’s back on music that sets to influence the world in a more constructive way. That’s just the beginning. If you listen closely you’ll hear the silent screams of some genres being killed off by the media, you’ll see awards being given to pop artists who were nominated in (say) a rock category whilst the most authentic alternative/ rock artists are being sidelined.
Approaching the MTV MAMAs which will be hosted tonight, you’ll find that the same culture is carried through. For instance, a particular category caught my attention where for best alternative video “Doors” by Prime Circle is nominated alongside other African greats… It’s not Prime Circle I have a problem with, in fact, they’re one of my favourites, I just feel that there were better candidates for the nomination including their very own “Gone”. Yes, the Gone video is taking things back to basics. In it is a good ol’ band passionately doing their thing, plus, they’re standing in a circle whilst playing the song which could be taken as a play on their name, especially because they’ve been in their Prime for a while now. See what I did there? Well, instead a video that’s about a failed/fake trip to Mars was nominated.
Life is short, too short to waste on the silliness we drench our minds in, too short to spend our time deciding if it’s worth our time or not, so we follow the masses. Safety in numbers keeps us going, we follow the in. Safely in numbers we’re a crowd waiting for our own moments, to make it, to be seen. Playing it safe, we take the route that’s being taken by others. Like everyday robots we are programmed to be alike, like everyday robots we forget what being human means, what it’s all about, ready to stare holes at anyone who dares to drift away from the herd, at anyone who dares to make a mistake, at anyone who dares to be a person. Without a helping hand, too preoccupied with ourselves. We WATCH.
“Budapest” by George Ezra is a sweet love number about the will to give up everything for a loved one. The video tells a different yet as intriguing story which through my eyes is an illustration of society as we know it today. There are various places the world over where you can find people from different walks of life cluttered in one space, it could be in a bus, a cafe or something even bigger, Grand Central Station.
The setup of the video shows how small the world really is, how we as individuals have our own personal journeys and likes yet easily influence each other without knowing it because we’re so fixated on ourselves we’re not really paying attention to what’s happening around us. Together we’re a body of a perfectly oiled machine, conscious of the part we are, unconscious of the body we form.
In this post I’ve held high too great videos, one local, the other international, here’s the third and last. “Something” by Monark is a ridiculously good number, the video that comes with it is yet another Ryan Kruger directed piece, it’s basically a combination of what we see in George Ezra’s “Budapest” video along with what we see in “Gone” by Prime Circle, this in my books makes it one of the top “Alternative” videos if not the best African alternative video we’ve seen all year.
In closing, a lot of these award shows are hard to take seriously mostly because nominations seem to be based on popularity or what the media has brainwashed the masses to like rather than the actual art and work invested in a song or video. To those who are going (to the MAMAs), find a good outfit and party your head(s) off at the show, to those who’ll be watching from home, get drinks and snacks and hope that someone slips on stage and falls on their face… or cries or wets their pants… anything, that’s all we want to see right? What music? Cheers.