So apparently at some point it became acceptable to throw a music video together for a pop artist's latest single consisting of 1. Thirty, one-second clips of person singing, 2. thirty five second clips of people breakdancing.
The genius of this is in its simplicity. From the director's standpoint, you strike a homerun because you don't have to teach a singer how to act or dance. Anyone can look like they are singing their guts out when they only have to do it 1 in every 6 seconds. Then, you cut to a shot of a circle of teens having a great time with one teen moving into the middle of the circle. This establishes that it is a breakdance contest. Then, flash back to another 1-second clip of the singer. Then, show some dancer doing a crazy move. Repeat.
The clever thing about this is that you subconsciously associate the breakdancers to the song and the singer.
The really clever thing is that the singer never technically has to interact with anyone but the camera, and usually you can get what you want in 1 or 2 takes. Costume changes complicate this so they are often left out.
Breakdancing in music videos started with Buffalo Gals, a 1982 song by Malcolm McLaren. But it didn't really burst into mainstream popularity until Run DMC's "It's like that" in 1997. Since then, it's been a steady stream of the same, the same, the same.
It really shouldn't suprise, however, that music videos are just recycling themselves...that's what the singers are doing. The number of cover songs in the Billboard Top 100 per week has gone up 32% in the last 5 years.
I point, as I always do, to overpopulation.
So last night after the finale of the DNC all the politicians and lobbyists rich enough to afford their own plane flew home. Early unofficial records show that this was one of the busiest evenings/next days in the history of the Denver Airport.
My mentor in hyperlogic, Gregg Easterbrook, has come up with a term that fits here: Hummer Years." The definition of a "Hummer Year" is the amount of carbon emissions produced by a Hummer in a year.
So since Al Gore was at the DNC this week, I feel it my patriotic duty to rail on his hypocrisy. As some might know, Al Gore was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his "work" on environmental awareness.
Gore wasn't the first quack to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and history suggests he will not be the last. Gore spent eight years in the White House, and in that time took no meaningful action regarding greenhouse gases. The Clinton-Gore administration did not raise fuel economy standards for cars and trucks or propose domestic carbon trading. Though Clinton and Gore made a great show of praising the Kyoto Protocol, they refused even to submit the treaty to the Senate for consideration, let alone push for ratification. During his 2000 run for the presidency, Gore said little about climate change or binding global-warming reforms. In the White House and during his presidential campaign, Gore advocated no consequential action regarding greenhouse gases; then, there was a political cost attached. Once Gore was out of power and global-warming proposals no longer carried a political cost -- indeed, could be used for self-promotion -- suddenly Gore discovered his intense desire to demand that other leaders do what he had not! It is a triumph of postmodernism that Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for no specific accomplishment other than making a movie of self-praise. Gore caused no peace nor led any reconciliation of belligerent parties nor performed any service to the dispossessed, the achievements the Peace Prize was created to honor. All Gore did was promote himself from Hollywood, and for this, he gets a Nobel. Very postmodern.
An astonishing measure of how out-of-touch the Norwegian Nobel Committee seems is that it gave a prize to Gore for hectoring others about energy consumption in the same year it was revealed that Gore, at his home, uses 20 times the national power average. Gore's extraordinary power waste equates to about 377,000 pounds of greenhouse gases annually, or about 20 Hummer Years worth of global warming pollution. When his utility bill made the news -- though apparently not in Oslo -- Gore responded by saying he buys carbon offsets. That takes you back to the offset problem: All offsets do is prevent greenhouse gas accumulation from increasing. If you really believe there will be a global calamity unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced 80 percent, as Gore told the Live Earth crowd, you would buy offsets and cut your own energy use. Instead, Gore flies around in fossil-fuel-intensive jet aircraft telling others: Do as I say, not as I do!
After news of Gore's personal energy consumption broke, Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider told The Associated Press the utility bill was justified because "Al and Tipper both work out of their home." This raises the question -- what kind of work are they doing? Perhaps reanimating Frankenstein; in Frankenstein movies, there is always a lot of electricity crackling wastefully about. Here are other possible reasons the Gores' home requires so much energy:
• The former vice president is doing everything he personally can to cause global warming, so he can claim his predictions came true.
• Gore is growing marijuana in his basement.
• Members of Gore's species require high power levels to maintain human form.
• Al and Tipper don't just leave the lights on when they make out, they leave the lights on all over the house.And speaking of the Live Earth festival...in July 2007, numerous pop musicians and celebrities flew in private jets, then rode limos to the Live Earth concerts, where they demanded that others conserve. Some 150 acts performed at the event's various venues. Suppose half the acts flew commercial, half aboard private jets. Flying a private jet a transcontinental distance generates greenhouse gases equivalent to driving a Hummer for a year. So that's 75 Hummer Years of greenhouse gases caused by the Live Earth acts that arrived by private jet.
If the other acts flew commercial, assuming the average act has five performers and crew and flies a medium distance, that would translate to about 550 tons of greenhouse gases, which is another 60 Hummer Years of global-warming emissions. Now factor in all the spectators and staff attending the various Live Earth concerts. John Buckley of Carbonfootprint.com estimated that around 35,000 tons of greenhouse gases were caused by spectators and logistical support for Live Earth -- converted into HYs, that's about the same as driving a Hummer for 4,000 years. Four thousand years' worth of Hummer emissions for an event demanding conservation! And we're just talking about one day of screeching guitars and slurred lyrics, not about the many pop stars who live the private jet lifestyle the year long. As Marina Hyde of London's Guardian newspaper pointed out, Sting's wife recently charted a helicopter to fly her to an environmental meeting.