Programming

Quiet, silent, reflective has been my effect mode for the last few. Why? Noise. Chaos because although there is order, I believe it’s the worst type. Mainstream music and media has become so highly programmed as to give one pause and now that pause has even extended to the social media realm, as that arena now seems to be in many quarters nothing more than a mirror of the main thinly disguised as organic. The word lockstep comes to mind.

The phrase “I don’t care” has been batted around my brain a few times during this period because much of what is being presented is not much to care about. Oh certainly there are many issues to worry about, lots of media offerings to be aware of, but my mind turns to what really matters? Have we moved to a world where music and media are more manufactured than created? That matters to me. Why is it always the same voices talking about the same issues and seemingly no resolve? That matters to me as well. All my life I’ve always been about the feels and what it feels like to me right now is it is beneficial for a few folks to get a lot of folks to get with their program. Their program to keep us distracted with a seemingly never ending cycle of media that truly does resemble a circus more than a society.

No, I have not joined the Killjoy Debbie Downer Society of America, but I must question why a majority of what’s magnified is the worst of us. The worst musically, the worst visually, politically, and on and on. This has nothing to do with age, but everything to do with maturity. This has nothing to do with a desire to go back to a particular era (if anyone’s been paying attention to the political arena you know how flawed that line of thinking can be for a myriad of reasons). No what I’m suggesting here is to first bring ourselves into an awareness that there is a programming designed with the ultimate aim being complete cultural divisiveness in full effect. Society resembles the NFL now more than ever with political, religious, and cultural identifiers playing out more like this squad vs. that squad for a playoff berth than the actual humanity that should be extended to all.

Please don’t misconstrue what I am saying here. Whatever team you identify with you should have all of the team spirit you can muster in what you believe as long as it does not seek to demean or destroy someone else. Maybe I’ll get an amen from one, but what I see is the calculated programming to have groups of people destroy themselves by simply offering up a constant barrage of music, messages and visuals that portray the absolute worst of a people. This is not a respectability lecture in the least bit, I’m not so focused on the what it looks like as I am concerned with how folks are treated and the ramifications thereof.

We truly live in an era where “the up is down and the silence is sound…” to quote a phrase. There is great music, media and the like all around us but it has been shut out of reaching the people en masse because if it did it would destroy the status quo. So what we are left with are thousands upon thousands of tributaries working to magnify the great, but somehow we’ve been fooled into believing only the lowest common denominator offering is what works, is what the people “want”. So a steady stream of mediocre musical offerings, videos of violence perpetrated on some of the most vulnerable in our society and political discourse on the level of third graders is what we get. Ooops I forgot one thing that we get a whole lot of these days: hate. It’s all around… from your friendly neighborhood comments section, to the nightly “news”, to your Facebook and Twitter feed. Today’s topic: Hate. What about tomorrow? Yep, same thing.

You want proof? Just listen… that’s all you have to do. Listen to some of the music, listen to the message, look at what people are doing and you will realize that there is no way that much of it comes from a place of love. That’s the program folks: A program of hate. The sad part is how widely accepted and endorsed this program is, so deep that I’m not sure we even know when we’re participating myself included; because you know when I write it is as much for me as anyone else.

Textbook example: This week when the video was being shared far and wide of the mother disciplining her daughter for posting provocative photos on Facebook I was able to catch myself before I started to participate in the reindeer games. No I do not agree at all with disciplining your child in that manner but I’m not going to get on the self-righteous pedestal either. What’s needed in that situation is a whole lot of love and counseling in private, so a family can heal in private. If you were keeping tabs there were many programming issues I identified in that last statement.

For starters, just because you have a tool in your hands to broadcast a message to the whole world doesn’t mean that you need to use it. Just because many of us were raised a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to continue to raise subsequent generations in that manner. Just because someone lied to you and told you that seeking family or any form of mental health counseling made you weak doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Maybe if we called a thing a thing we could get to a better place. Violence is violence folks. I know some of us don’t want to hear that, but it really is… maybe if we truly believed and practiced not “Doing violence to anyone…” we may be able to not only break that chain that bonds us but perhaps move closer to the real movement of love and further away from the programmed confusion.

Do yourself a favor this weekend or perhaps next and take a little time to take a break from it all.

90 END

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.