There was once a time not that long ago when you could count on artist to be one of the most rebellious groups in society. Such a thing is no new phenomena as artists have always pushed the boundaries and have been a thorn in the side of the establishment for hundreds of years.
But this has been true in modern pop culture as well. Artists, filmmakers, actors, and musicians were almost always anti-establishment. They may not have always been right, but that’s not really the point. The point is that you could count on them to push back against the “official” narratives and get people thinking.
But those days are long gone if you’ve been paying attention to pop culture the last few years. Now, when any actor or musician gets on stage, you can hardly tell the difference between their words and the words of the mainstream media. They spew the exact same talking points and arguments, often with even more passion than the cable pundits they are mimicking.
This is especially true in comedy where late night TV and parody shows bear no resemblance to what they were in the past.
In decades previous, late night TV would lampoon every politician, famous figure, and point of view. Parody shows like Saturday Night Live, while leaning left, would take turns bashing anyone in power and questioning norms. But those days are gone. Now both late night TV and parody shows are completely one-sided, only pushing the obvious mainstream agenda. It’s boring, but worst of all, it’s just not funny anymore as you know what’s coming before you even turn on the TV.
The sad part is, parody and comedy in modern culture was a way to keep society in balance. Whenever one aspect of life was getting out of hand or becoming absurd, comedians would poke fun at it and parody it on TV or in movies. These parodies would make us all question what we were doing. They didn’t tell us what to think, these parodies and comedy shows simply invited us to think. That’s the big difference between the past and now. Every late night comedy show tells us what to think instead of just challenging us to think, which is what parody is designed to do.
Musicians these days are no different. Where music was once the refuge of counter-culture personalities, now it is filled with those parroting the establishment talking points. Young musicians and artists now fawn over 80 and 90 year-old politicians in a grotesque display of cowardice as they sell out to avoid having their careers destroyed for simply stating the obvious and going against the all-powerful media institutions.
It’s all a sad decline from years ago when musicians would happily stand up to any power structure, and even relished in the idea of doing so.
I suppose it all comes down to this. How can you have art when all the artists have become slaves to the establishment? Has art simply become another tool of the establishment and a source of propaganda?
If you’ve been watching for the last few years, it most certainly seems that way.