Although I love some of her early singles, I am not what one would consider a Madonna fan. However, the above article is something I find troubling. Apparently the BBC have declined to play her latest single due to that fact that her and her audience are too old.
First of all this is completely senseless. When I was thirteen I remember listening to the Doors, a band from my parents generation. Even now many of my favorite artists are decades older than me. This wasn’t just true of me, but all my friends. I remember parties in highschool listening to classic rock and early 80’s post punk, despite the fact that even the early 80’s stuff came out when I was a couple years old. (I was born in 1978.)
People like what they are exposed to. If you are a kid and you hear something you like, you are going to listen to it if you have any sense of self. If you don’t hear it, at any age, you aren’t going to like it. Plain and simple.
Age, like sex, race, and sexual orientation, is just another way to divide people.
Here is what I find particularly troubling about this: When it comes to a pop artist, although it is still senseless and wrong, it does not necessarily affect the world in any major way. However, there are a lot of older artists that are effective at critiquing society, that speak truth to power. Jackson Browne, Morrissey, Springsteen, Chuck D, and on and on have been effective chroniclers of what is going on in society. They are all in their 50’s and 60’s at this point. It is not hard to see someone in power using age to not play music, something that is not always thought of as political, in order to effectively silence political dissent. “Oh we are not going to play anything off of Jackson Browne’s Standing in the Breach because we don’t play music by older artists.” This is when Jackson Browne released one of the most intelligent albums of last year, which was also highly political on certain tracks. The same goes for the rest of that list.
Divide and conquer. This is another fictitious way of dividing people, who may have similar beliefs, interests, and passions, in a way that is currently possible without looking like censorship. Chuck D is much older than most pop stars, but he is the one bringing the thunder, preaching change, speaking truth to power. A disenchanted kid, if they were to discover him, might be inclined to listen to him over the other music choices they are currently being presented with. That isn’t to say that kids aren’t smart enough to find and seek things out on their own, but they have a better chance of finding someone like Chuck D the more exposure he gets. Age is one of the last ways you can openly discredit someone without looking like a neanderthal.