Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Idiocracy: The Musical

Joseph Allen
Taki's Magazine -

Last year I toured with the Black Eyed Peas on their Japan/Australia run. It was dubbed The E.N.D. - World Tour, which was appropriate. The production is a dazzling metaphor for the end of civilization.

As I get older, I frequently find myself forced to compromise my principles—-whether ethical or aesthetic—-for a higher standard of living. My job is to fly lights, sound, and video—-not to judge the artists. My crew chief said this a dozen times. After all, I was paid well, enjoyed fine meals and plush hotel rooms, had fantastic adventures on the streets of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Melbourne, and Auckland, and I only had to wear a BEP t-shirt one time—-when my laundry was dirty. Still, the damage is evident.

I began to absorb the insidious beats and lobotomizing lyrics through constant exposure. To make matters worse, I was born with a hyperactive cerebral sequencer that will sample and loop any catchy tune within a 100-degree radius. You hear about nuclear lab technicians who glow green when the lights go out. Well, for months after I came home you could hear “Boom Boom Pow” playing from my head in a quiet room. Just another occupational hazard.

The other roadies exhibited similar symptoms of BEP Syndrome. We made a psychological game of it. (Example: A laser tech walks by, and I croon: “I gotta feeling…” For the next hour, he will be plagued by the song. The only known cure is cranial bludgeoning.)

Of course, the crew had mixed reactions to The E.N.D. of civilization, ranging from head-bobbing compliance to blank-faced indifference. Plenty of them detested the sound, coping in the same fashion that a grease-saturated McDonald’s worker does: with a stoic smile and a puff of smoke. Unfortunately, I never developed the perceptual filters necessary to block out the soundtrack—-and I may never recover.

The show opens with “Let’s Get Retarded In Here.” Seriously. That’s the hook. It was like Idiocracy: the Musical, with the crowd as extras. But hey, at least these guys are honest about their agenda. Having seen the children of the world transformed into a tone-deaf choir of space monkeys dancing for a Spring Break webcam—-I can assure you that the plan is working.

Read it all.