Jumping What

I like games. Because I like a lot of things. I also like music. A lot. Enough to say that I’m passionate about it. I like a lot of things, but I’m much more selective about what I’m passionate about. I like games. I’m passionate about music.

So when I read the news, I read about world politics, technology, good good things, human interest stuff, entertainment news, and other stuff. I nearly always spend too much time in the music section.

The hard news about music is the most interesting, in my not so humble opinion. However, the gossip and blogged jibes generate the most interest on a social scale. I think it’s because one sounds like a technical manual come to life while the other reads more personal like. When someone writes like they’re talking to you, it’s much easier to read.

Or is it? You tell me…

Anyway, the point I’m slowly and steadily going to win my way to has to do with music. But, more importantly I think it has to do with the entertainment industry as a whole. That, and the idea of celebrity. And the twenty-first century, the news media, the spread of information, and personal feelings.

Actually, I think it mostly has to do with personal feelings.

I was reading a fun blog. Something fun to spend ten minutes reading. Sadly, I spent fifteen, because I decided to play the “read the comments” game. Sometimes people leave insightful comments that I find as enjoyable or as useful as the original article. Most of the time, comments suck.

As an aside, I wonder if anyone has done a study on the relationship between the contents of the average content on a site and the IQ, maturity level, actual age and typical hobbies of the site’s reader. That would be a neat project. That would require some neat software. Software I can’t make.

Anyway, I was reading the comments until I was stopped. I had only gotten to number eleven. Just to make your life easier, I’ll reprint it here so you don’t have to go there to read it. It’s ok to be lazy, just don’t make a habit of it.

11. jdibella@sbcglobal.net – Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:09am PST
What, no Metallica? The band that became famous for suing fans doing exactly what they admitted doing (albeit, back then they were making cassette copies of friends’ records), and the band who catapulted to fame for doing exactly what they said they’d NEVER do (release an MTV video)? They jumped the shark when Cliff died.

Now, I don’t disagree with a lot of this. I’m a little bitter at Metallica myself. A long time ago I was a huge Metallica fan. Then the black album came out. I’m not a Metallica fan anymore, but I did take the time to watch the one movie where they all act like they need a good smack in the face and a healthy dose of remembering their roots.

But to say they jumped the shark when Cliff died? That’s just cold.

I’m going to guess that nobody in the band will ever read that comment, or ever read this comment on that comment. But, one day Lars may be trolling across the internet as bored as anyone else and come across it. And because of that, I can guess that he’ll never come across it because, if he’s smart, he’s learned to avoid running into that kind of thing.

But why should he have to?

I was brought up being told not to say something about someone unless I’m willing to say it when they’re standing in front of me. I don’t think that celebrities should be omitted from that rule.

And why would you say that to someone?

After Cliff Burton passed away, the surviving members of Metallica had a lot to go through. Besides finding a new bass player, putting the band back in the studio for a new album, and trying to get back on tour in order to make money (which, regardless of what anyone argues, you need to make money with your art to continue making it – or get a job and make art nobody sees) they had to mourn the loss of a dear friend and longtime band mate.

They jumped the proverbial shark quite a bit later in their career, and whether or not Cliff’s death had anything to do with it is a moot point. If it should be discussed, it should be discussed with some class. Not Crass. Not Clash. Class.

I pulled out the above comment not because of its particular rudeness – I’ve seen much, much ruder – but because of its flippant mention of a tragedy. And because it inspired this post.

Jumping the shark refers to a media spectacle that causes a once respected individual or group to become something of a joke. They become a dancing bear. A flea circus. An infomercial.

Real life tragedy should never be related to jumping a shark or anything as demeaning. Regardless of how it’s handled. And at the time, I think Metallica handled itself splendidly. What they did later cannot and will not ever change that.

Maybe I’m just too nice.

That’s all.


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