Evil, good, and American idols
Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, except that the images pretend to be artists. The industry calls them artists. That's evil. John Sandford is a Jungian therapist who has written extensively, and who wrote a whole book about evil. His definition of evil has been terrifically useful to me: evil is a part pretending to be the whole.
An idol in the Biblical sense is a statue pretending to be a god. In this culture, corporations are organizations put together for the sole purpose of human acquisitiveness aspiring to the status of human beings. When the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as human beings, it was one of the biggest mistakes this country ever made. In this culture, an idol is an image pretending to be an artist.
Human beings create culture. Corporations can only create a distorted version of it based on greed. That's why the best music in this country comes from communities rather than corporations. Historically, corporations have taken the best artists out of communities and enhanced their images, if you will, to call attention to them. This has put artists in a quandary: we all have material needs. But we need to be artists. Corporations, on the other hand, need profits, and to gain profits, they need stars. They need idols.
Partly through the collusion of corrupted artists, people who are seduced into serving the corporations rather than their audiences, the corporations have figured out a way of bypassing art and culture altogether. Just put together a contest based upon what a corporation needs rather than what human beings need. Take the winner and spend millions upon the lie that the winner is an artist, and a good one. Watch the money roll in from the pockets of people too young and/or too dumb to recognize what a real culture is and what a real artist does. An adolescent in love with an image is an important part of the human story. But when a corporation substitutes that part for the whole culture, it's evil.
From my point of view, the harm comes when real artists can't find an audience and/or make a living, say, comparable to that of a firefighter, or even a teacher, because so many people have been distracted and their money sucked away by the corporations. There are consequences for audiences as well. Without a culture based in truth and true imagination, people are more apt to be fooled when politicians start telling them lies. Even the more intelligent among them are more apt to dismiss the entire notion of the truth being sung, and turn to music in other languages, because there, at least, there is some energy, and one doesn't have to waste one's time listening to lame lyrics.
Have you noticed that whenever there is a true revival of great songwriting in the U.S. the industry begins to flood the market with bad songwriters? Imitations pretending to be the real thing. The part pretending to be the whole.
Artists need to keep fighting to remain artists, whether they are on the margins, or among the "lucky" few making compromises with the industry. Artists whose numbers and images are inflated by the industry need to work hard to stay artists, and need to know only enough business to know when they are being seduced. And any businessperson in the music industry with integrity and a concern for truth in culture needs to commit to working with artists rather than idols.
Those of us artists on the margins just need to tell the truth as well and as lovingly as we can to as many folks as we can reach. The pay isn't always great, but it's good work.