7.19.2009

on pirating music

When I was in grade school, there was this girl in my class whose last name was “Hickey”. I thought she was cute and secretly liked her, but no one else did and so people made fun of her and I remained neutral, the Switzerland of second grade. One day, in the midst of particularly merciless teasing, she blurted out that she was moving away soon and so we all ought to be nice or else we’d be sorry when she was gone. This, of course, made my classmates shout out how happy they were that she was leaving. I never did stick up for her, let alone tell her that I sort of liked her. I do think I saw her with her family later on Family Feud, however, and that somehow felt to me like a little bit of revenge for her.

That leads me (via the weakest link possible) to the oddity of “normal” people, or at least people who aren’t actors, being on television. I think that reality tv shows are our modern gladiator tournaments. We take “normal” people, put them in bizarre contrived situations, and let the strong among them devour the weak for our amusement. The special twist comes in celebrity reality shows, where producers seem to select only the weak among the celebrities, the old and crippled among the herd . Then we pit them, the weak and the weaker, against each other. Still, sometimes, a Maximus emerges (I’m looking at you, Flavor Flav), and uses it all to his or her advantage.

All this to say I propose a new celebrity survival show, to include some real classy folks, like Rod Blagojevich and others, but also to include the Somali pirate who was taken into custody several months ago. I, somewhere in my heart, feel bad for the guy (was I born to be a defense attorney?), and I think he could be the next Maximus. Let the guy go, and if he comes out on top, which I imagine he would, consider his time served. With any luck, he can spin it into an entire career. He can take up rapping, since nothing says street cred like being a former Somali pirate captured off the Horn of Africa. Maybe start a clothing line, to include massive pirate-themed bling. His belt can be held up by a diamond-encrusted skull-and-crossbones “Swashbuckle” that he flashes in his music videos, much like T.I. twirling his hanky or Nelly and his (now defunct) adhesive bandage. So let’s give the guy a break, or at least a chance. Plus, if we do, I sense we’ll have minutes of entertainment to come.

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