Monday, July 25, 2011

The Boise Music Fest

Before we get started, for full disclosure: I love Rock n’ Roll. (And I also love Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, who were the best part of the day Saturday). I even used to be a drummer, and on more than one occasion, and in more than one local band. I have played on the stage at what used to be the Big Easy here in Boise. So I know a little about the local music scene. That’s what I believe lends credibility to what follows.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people, who are sometimes stupid, get even worse when one adds alcohol. And the crowd dynamic. When the Idaho Statesman reported that the Boise Music Festival would be, ahem, “improved” this year by the addition of more opportunities for people to buy and consume beer, I resolved to avoid it. More on why I in fact did not avoid it later.

Listen: I’m not against people having a right to drink (however absurd that may sound in a nation where our unwanted children don’t even have a right to live), however, rights are endowed by our Creator and come with equal and opposing duties. If, for instance, one has a right to drink beer, however ridiculous the idea may be, then that person also has a duty toward restraint. So, on the subject of alcohol: when a society and culture has cast off almost all restraint, it has therefore surrendered its duties toward responsible action, and also whatever rights it may have had as part of the bargain.

Pythagoras said it best: “As soon as laws are necessary for men, they are no longer fit for freedom.” But we no longer show the slightest interest in policing ourselves.

So here’s why I went to the Boise Music Fest: because that’s what my lovely wife wanted to do on her birthday. I love her, so even though large crowds are not my thing, and the music culture of late is growing more and more abhorrent to me as the days go by, I went, making a decision to make the best of it. And I succeeded, but I couldn’t help noticing a few things.

Never mind that the local acts weren’t even local, okay? I don’t know what geniuses decided to cut the local acts out of the action this year, and in favor of really bad regional “talent” besides, but that was a decision almost as ill-advised as having more beer on hand. But you know what, we don’t have much in the way of leadership anymore, at least insofar as it can be considered intelligent or responsible. So I’m not really surprised.

What got under my skin the most is that, once again, our popular culture just keeps on continuing to demonstrate its penchant for excess, instant gratification, irresponsibility, and just straight up partytime central. I wasn’t at the Boise Music Fest for very long—maybe five or six hours—but in that time I saw several drunken brawls, one of which I helped to break up because the idiots were threatening to spill into the area where my group was standing. I watched a girl walk by me with a child that couldn’t have been more than a few months old, which was altogether a bad decision, but what did she care about the baby? She was going to see the free show, by God, babysitter or no. I watched a woman walk out of the crowd, obviously drunk or high, and begin to dance seductively for a man directly in front of me, who was there with his girlfriend. I walked straight past the booth that was advertising for signatures on the petition for the Idaho Medical Choice Act, which was decorated with renderings of cannabis leaves in green marker; that was hilarious. I can always tell when something is supported by liberals: its name is always the exact opposite of its effect. I walked by some ardent supporters of the measure later, who had mobbed over to a distant corner of the park to toke about it, he he he. There's no mistaking that particular aroma. It’s all fun and games, isn’t it? And can someone explain to me how M.C. Hammer singing about a woman’s ass somehow speaks to the dignity of the human spirit? How is that even art, never mind entertainment? I thought, surely, after singing a song like that, he won’t try to preach from the stage about his relationship with Jesus. But he did anyway, and it makes a mockery of the gospel of Christ. Too bad, and so very sad.

I’m all about allowing people to choose for themselves and reap either reward or consequence. Hell, I do that every day myself. But I’m dismayed at the decay of our youth culture, of which music culture has been and is still such a large part. It bums me out that so many of us still haven’t grown up, and refuse to do so, even at forty, fifty plus years of age. So many of us are still living for the next party, the next drunken binge, the next opportunity to worm our way into the VIP area, go to the afterparty and get laid or whatever, and for what? It’s so been done before. What, did that fulfill you last time you tried it? Yeah. I didn’t think so.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Boise Music Fest is that it brings out the worst in us. I know I saw plenty on Saturday, and I still wonder: why are so many of us content to exist in the slums of life? Why are so many of us so damn stupid?