Selling out

There are loads of things I have to blog about (such as the weekend's race) but that can wait till tomorrow. Today has been an ugly day, but it's made me think. I've been re-reading The Scum Also Rises, an interesting article about publicity and integrity. The writer, a musician, talks about a fan they met while playing a corporate event:

"He gave me this regretful look as he explained that he was a longtime
fan, he'd seen us play many times in smoky downtown clubs that smelled
of bleach and shattered dreams, and, although he was psyched that we
played his company party, he was also disappointed in us for being such
corporate whores. I quizzed him a little bit on what exactly he meant,
trying to discern whether he was hip to the irony of his disappointment
in us, and he revealed a familiar self-rationalization. He was only
working for this company until his band got signed, or his novel was
published, or whatever, but he would have expected better from us.

I'm pretty scornful about bands and writers who sell-out (and that includes you, Mr. Burroughs and Mr. Sinclair). So why don't I hold myself to the same standards in my own life?

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2 thoughts on “Selling out”

  1. Because living is not about puritanical dedication to some ideal, it’s about living the best life you can. That involves compromise. It involves choices where there is no clear best path. It involves leaps of faith and taking risks.
    If you want a proscribed, ethically pure existence, there are many variations on monks and nuns, of many different dogmas. But unless you are prepared to subscribe solely to a dogma, then by all means aspire to high ideals, but give yourself a break if you do not always attain them.
    Living isn’t about reaching some perfect ethical Nirvana. It’s not a race to see who can get the best report card from God/Yarweh/Bill Hicks. It’s about the journey. It’s about the mistakes and lessons learned. It’s about finding your own path and your own balance.
    If you do not bend with the wind of your life, you might find that it breaks you. Give yourself permission to let that halo slip once in a while. Maybe even forgive others their slips too?
    — Oprah

  2. Dave,
    I agree with you a degree of compromise is needed; and I agree with you that choices aren’t always clear. There’s always a certain friction between ideals and reality. But too much friction, too much compromise, is a bad thing.
    Take Burroughs: he wrote some great works, some of which contained attacks on corporations, and they were published by corporations. That I can understand. Shilling for Nike is hard to defend.
    Deep down inside, there’s a voice which can tell us which side of right or wrong we’re on.

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