Saturday, March 18, 2006

Hypocrite Of The Month / Hero Of The Month

My pick for Hypocrite of The Month is an easy one - it's Isaac Hayes. He has quit his job of voicing Chef on "South Park"after the show did an episode mocking Scientology. Creator Matt Stone said it best,

“This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology ... He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.”

This episode has caused quite a stir among Scientologists. Tom Cruise allegedly threatened to cease promotion of Mission Impossible: 3 unless Comedy Central (owned by the same company that made the movie) agreed to stop re-airing the episode.

Tom Cruise's actions don't surprise me - he's a very talented actor who's many times shown himself to be completely humorless and well out of touch with reality. I'm disappointed that Comedy Central didn't stand up to their parent company, but somehow I'm even more disappointed in Hayes, who looks like a "dish it but can't take it" kind of guy here. I'm sending back all of his albums - as soon as I find one in my collection.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I just read an article about an artist who I am completely unfamiliar with, but who I already hold a great deal of respect for, based on a quote of hers.

Jenny Lewis, who is in an indie-rock band called Rilo Kiley that I've never heard of, is releasing an album with a group called the Watson Twins, who I've also never heard of, called Rabbit Fur Coat. The music on the album is being described as "countrified," "twangy," and "faux-gospel," which is apparently a departure from their indie-rock roots. There is a cover of the Travelling Wilbury's "Handle With Care," on the album, which I think is really cool, but that's not why I am already in love with Lewis, without ever hearing a note from her. It's this statement, about making a different kind of album:

"If some people like it, that's great," says Lewis, on the line from a tour stop in Seattle. "But it's also kind of satisfying to know that some people will totally hate it, because that's a part of expanding your audience."

Brilliant. Just brilliant. It reminds me of a quote made by Tom Petty a few months ago:

Q: Do you think [The Last DJ] did not do well because it was not what people expect from Tom Petty?

A: Well, too bad, you're going to have to take what he gives you. I don't give a damn what you want.

Q: Yes, you do. You have just spent hours talking about the respect you have for your audience.

A: Yes, well, that is respecting them. If I disrespected them, I would pander to them, but I don't. I never have, and I'm never going to. If you just think I'm going to sing "Refugee" every time, I'm not going to do it. I'm too old for that now.

Q: What do you want to do?

A: I'm more interested in what I'm going to leave behind me now than in making a big hit record. I've refined what I do for a long time. If getting better at it means it goes over the heads of those who only wanted to party, then so be it.

Respect for your audience, and respect for your craft. Imagine that. I'm putting Rabbit Fur Coat on my wish list, and so should you.

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