15 May 2013


Wednesday Night Promo: "They're back!"

So did you guess correctly???

As hard as it may be to believe, there is an inner logic to my blogging madness this May. My interest in the ITV2 Reality show The Big Reunion happens to be rooted in a current theme in my life--one which is bigger than, and you might say gave birth to, the May I Have Some Music? motif for the month.

Last Sunday, I explained what selling records has to do with my word-resolution for 2013, which is CLOSE, but this post can be traced further back to 2009, when running into a mega shark in the Catholic blogo-sea convinced me not to swim in those waters any longer.  

For someone like me, what better way to come to terms with the convert-driven Catholic apologetics industry (the challenge-within-a-challenge of my first post of the month) than to reflect on the pop music industry? Everything one professional apologist told me about his livelihood could have been said by a member of a manufactured boyband. Which, now that I realise it, raises my estimation of professional apologists.

And there is even a connection to the Starship Troopers readalong, the final meeting for which was opened just yesterday. The only difference between Basic training at Camp Currie and "celebrity bootcamp" is what the recruits in each group are expected to do afterwards. There really are deep psychological effects from this sort of thing that you cannot just walk away from after you must rejoin civilian society.

Fourthly, and incidentally, there is also music. So let me tell you more about the show . . .

Recognise anyone?

Early this year, ITV 2 reunited the members of six musical groups from the 1990s (or thereabouts), and filmed their efforts to patch up frayed wounds and put together a one-off show. It was as eye-opening as it was nostalgic. Despite not having been a fan of any of the acts, I found myself riveted.

Not that it told me anything I didn't already know. By this point in history, we're all "cynics" when it comes to the music industry. We know that rising too fast, too soon can be devastating to psyches still too young--and that fans who are there for the highs will be merciless during the lows. We're fully aware that the real creative forces behind a lot of pop acts are the moguls who put them together and orchestrate their every move. We understand that little of it is about the music--and that much of it is about the money. What The Big Reunion does is acknowledge that all of that is true . . . and say that it isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Think about it . . . The music industry is a business, just like any other, albeit one with huge potential to cause collateral damage to the culture. But we can say the exact same thing about convert publishing! There is a sense in which "pop star" and "professional convert" are just jobs: that they must be done in the public eye does not damn them anymore than crab fishing is damned by being done in the Bering Sea. Work hazards, you know. 

In short, the more I dedicate myself to closing at my own job, the more I respect anyone who gets that if he doesn't close, he can't work. And whether you work at putting on shows or publishing tracts, there happens to be a reason other than money, sex, or fame for wanting to stay in business. 

Let's talk more during Friday's live blog, okay? 

Image Source: The Big Reunion cast


Entropy said...

There is a lot of interesting stuff the documentary called "The Other F Word" which follows the lead singer from the punk band Pennywise, and documents how he balances (or doesn't) the demands of Family with the opposite ideals and virtues of the punk scene. It addresses the fact that in order to provide for his family he has to CLOSE, which means--you guessed it--record sales and
live shows.

There are also interviews with members of other punk groups who have families as well: Blink-182, Flea from RHCP, etc.

Enbrethiliel said...


That's a great comment! Thanks for the recommendation. Although I'm not a fan of any of the bands you mention, I think I'd like watching The Other F Word. =)

(Incidentally, one line that I edited out of this post at the last minute was: "If I learned anything from following Westlife's fourteen-year career, it is that being a pop star is a great way to support a family.")

The premise of The Other F Word is also making me think of how the tone of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies changed after one of the "Elm Street kids" joined the ranks of the previously demonised "Elm Street parents." This example is is artistic (I use the term loosely! LOL!) rather than documentary, but it also suggests that there may be more to maturity than just outgrowing of something.

Entropy said...

there may be more to maturity than just outgrowing of something.

You are right on. I think all of the interviewed persons mention something about how making a living from being anti-establishment made them feel phony but they gotta eat and mom and dad weren't footing the bill anymore.

Real life.

Jonette said...

Thanks for sharing this with me last night. The next big question for these pop stars and professional apologists is: after this thing, what next?

For pop stars, I guess this is why they start their own ventures that could turn into passive income while they, er, be pop stars (restaurants, talent schools, small businesses, etc.) But what about apologists?

Enbrethiliel said...


Entropy -- I am so embarrassed by all the typos in my first reply to you! Can you tell it was written at nearly 3:00 am? LOL!

Jonette -- You're welcome! =) I have no practical suggestions for the convert apologists, but I feel I understand them better. If you were trained to write doctrinal literature and to give talks about on same, and that was all you did to earn money for several years, then you have a finely developed skill set that is even more specialised than that of a boyband member. Skills which can be near-impossible to market when you're no longer a member of your old church.

I also wonder whether, for some people, there is no "next." The converts, in particular, are coming from a unique place: the pop stars presumably sensed they weren't going to be young and hot forever and were just in denial, but the converts can be forgiven for assuming they'd be members of the same church until death. After that blew up in their faces (without killing them!) what did they have left?

Your question actually got me to rewrite the ending of my Friday Night Live Blog. =) So let's continue the discussion there, aye?

Jonette said...

Yes, let's! And this makes me think Justin Bieber better watch out if that's the case. He's just turned 19, I think.