Sunday, November 21, 2004:

Milgram and Muddy Water

Muddy Waters -- I Can't Be Satisfied
You ever see that show You've Got a Friend? It's a show about someone who agrees to pretend an actor is his/her new best friend, and for 48 hours has to convince friends, family, and loved ones that that's the case; the prize is $15,000. The catch is that the victim (I almost wrote "contestant," but really "victim" is better) has to do whatever the actor says, and the actor is a complete jackass, doing things like coming on to all the person's friends in public, making up lies about orgiastic cheating, convincing the person to shoplift.... It passes itself off as a "prank show," but it was so cruel and asinine that I started trying to "figure it out"--as if there were anything about it to figure out. Maybe it made sense as a cautionary tale? Was it intended as a bit of reverse psychology? Layers and layers of irony that I got lost in? No, the producers thought it was a comedy, but it was just witless, petty, vicious, and despicable. Next season: snuff films.

And then, this morning, I figured out why I hated it so much. It's the kind of show you get from people who think the Milgram experiment could have been a hit if they'd just filmed it. No, sorry, not amused. (update: Alex informs me that the Milgram experiment was indeed filmed, a fact that someone's added to the wikipedia article since last I read it. I should have known better than to link without rereading it first--that's how wikipedia grows, typically: factoids at a time; and it's better to link to a specific version than to the current one, which might be vandalised.)

Anyway. I guess I'm hard to satisfy.

This track is from Muddy Waters' kicking 1977 comeback album Hard Again. Gritty electric blues, as if he's saying "listen up, Zep, here's how it's done, this whole wailing blues-rock business."

And I was about a hair's breadth from posting Vini and the Demons' cover of the song when I remembered a brief exchange I'd had with Vini just before recording them, in IIRC 2000: he'd let me record the show if I promised not to sell it or put it on the internet. At the time I'd assumed he meant Napster or whatever was certain to take its place; mp3 blogs were unheard of, maybe undreamed-of; weblogs were very new. So I agreed. Well, I don't consider mp3 blogs to be like p2p apps: you go to Limewire to find exactly what you're looking for; you go to mp3 blogs just trusting the author to play something you expect to be cool, and if the author doesn't meet your needs, you quit going. Much like a radio station, but with more stations, fewer commercials, and much less crap. Bloggers do it for love, not pay, so they post things they genuinely get a kick out of. Though sometimes they do still ramble a bit.

Right. If you're ever in Chicago, go check out Vini and the Demons; their concerts are well worth the dime.
[]: Muddy Waters -- Hard Again
Vini and the Demons' fairly unassuming home page.

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