Musicians on Selling Out

Four Bits of Wisdom

  • “Selling out is doing something you don’t really want to do for money. That’s what selling out is.” -Bono-
  • “Most of the people who call me a sell out were 7 when I was face-down in the punk trenches.” -Henry Rollins-
“Accordion Music”
  • “It’s not selling out, it is called making lots of money.” -Mick Jagger-
  • “There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won’t.” -Annie Lennox-

-K-

Selling Out a Friend

Intentions, Outcome, and Regret

We may be the protagonist of our own story but that doesn’t mean we are always the hero. There may be moments when we are not necessarily the villain but our actions and words can be considered questionable. I’ve had my share of these questionable moments throughout the years (moments when I was less than heroic). One such moment found its way into my thoughts while drinking a second cup of coffee the other morning. I got to thinking about an old acquaintance, the moment I sold him out, and regret.

Coffee, cigarettes, memories, and regrets…

Many years ago I inadvertently got mixed up in some workplace politics. The particulars of the event aren’t too important, but it’s important to know that two clear sides were drawn and there was no room for neutral viewpoints. I found this out when I was called to the conference room and found the manager with a representative from the district human resources office. Big Don, the manager, showed me a list of employees who signed a petition stating they refused to work with a man who, at the time, I considered a friend. Hell, at least a half dozen people who signed the petition considered the man a friend. Don informed me that I had to give a formal statement to the HR representative concerning certain rumors I heard. I had every intention of defending my friend but the outcome of the meeting was clear before I started talking. Decisions had been made. My statement was a formality. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was selling out a friend as I gave my statement.

Over twenty years have passed since that day. Now and again I regret how I handled that event. But the regret isn’t that I told Don and the HR representative the truth. I felt bad for my friend and I felt I sold him out, but I never regretted telling the truth. To this day I regret that I remained friends with some of the people who signed the petition.

-K-

Major League Baseball and Selling Out

It’s Been Happening since 1919

Major League Baseball stopped being a game a long time ago (at least one hundred years ago since I’ll be referencing the 1919 World Series). MLB has been in the news of late due to current political issues. I’m not going to address MLB’s decisions and whether they were right of wrong (in any political sense at least). What I want to do is take a moment to look at the movie Eight Men Out and show how that movie can provide a long view of the business that is baseball and how MLB sold out the game.

Eight Men Out

I remember going to the theater way back in 1988 to see this movie. I didn’t know then or now how true and accurate the movie is to the actual events surrounding the 1919 World Series scandal, but the movie has a well written script and is played by an ensemble cast of talented actors. I viewed Eight Men Out as a good movie and an interesting piece of baseball history until 1994 and the MLB strike. The movie took on a different meaning for me after the strike and so did baseball. The idea of what Major League Baseball meant to me and/or could mean to me was lost after the strike (not even W.P. Kinsella could change how I viewed MLB after the strike). The MLB strike put Eight Men Out in perspective. I lost faith in the game and could better see how many lost their faith in the game after 1919. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you (you probably know how it ends) but the last ten minutes can really get you in the feels if you are fan of the game. A close viewing shows how the league treated the players and to some extent the fans. The league was more than willing to sell out eight men, and what has really changed in 100 years?

People still have a fascination with Major League Baseball, a desire to see it through rose colored glasses. It’s a fascination and view that the league banks (specific word choice here) on from the fans. MLB wants fans to think baseball is something more than a game, something other than a business. There was a time when fields and stadiums were compared to cathedrals, when poets referred to them as holy sites. There may have been a time when such views were applicable but those times have long passed. Today, fields and stadiums are nothing more than a variation of a big box retailer looking to take your money in exchange for a so-so product. Don’t be angry with MLB if you think they sold out. Give Eight Men Out a watch and you’ll see the league sold out the game of baseball a century ago.

-K-

Eight Men Out (1988) with John Cusak and Clifton James. Directed by John Sayles.

Some Thoughts on Selling Out

Actions, Opinions, and Judgements

Have you ever sold out? Felt like you sold out? Considered selling out? Been accused of selling out? Hell, have you ever wondered what selling out is? The topic of selling out feels like a natural follow up to the previous topic of unpersoned/canceled. We find ourselves in an emotionally charged time when people are becoming increasingly critical of one another. It seems logical that thoughts, opinions, and accusations concerning selling out will become a common part of our lives.

The symbol of selling out?

I’ve heard varied opinions and definitions concerning the idea of selling out over the years. There have been times when I’ve asked myself: have I sold out, would I sell out, have I been sold out? I want to answer (or at least address) the questions I put forth at the start of the this post and maybe take a closer look at how selling out, in its various forms, has impacted me. How has selling out impacted you?

-K-

Some Final Thoughts on Unpersoning

Lost & Found In the Age of the Internet

When it comes to words we are in an age of forever. Writers used to worry about their books/texts going out of print. This is not the case anymore, post something on the internet and it will never go out of print. I’m going to wrap up (for the time being) the current topic of conversation with a few words concerning the internet.

“Lost and Found”

The internet allows most anybody to have a voice, to post his/her thoughts and feelings. Once posted this information is out in the ether of the interwebs not only for now but forever. Unfortunately, this everlasting nature of information on the internet can become problematic. It is an all too common occurrence to read or hear about a post somebody made, sometimes years ago, and calls for that person’s cancelation/unpersoning because of the content of that post. We’ve moved beyond the simple advice of watching what you say. It is as if we expect individuals to be able to gaze into some sort crystal ball and somehow forsee how their posts will be interpreted in the future. I believe that individuals should be held accountable for both words and actions, but that accountability should also be proportional to those words and actions. Reactionary calls for cancelation/unpersoning may stifle voices.

There was a time when writers were worried that their books/texts would go out of print and be lost. Now writers may fear that old posts may be ‘found’ and used as means to call for their cancelation/unpersoning. So do we second guess ourselves, do we self-censor, or do we continue to write from the heart and share our voices with the world?

-K-

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