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Humanity's love of violence?

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Comment by Geoff on January 1, 2014 at 10:04pm

Central Park is not an especially scary or violent place. In 2013 (as of mid-December) there have been six rapes or attempted rapes. In 2012 there was one.

No one is gonna argue that New York is as safe as nap time at a buddhist nursery school, but for an American city it's pretty safe.

The murder rate in 2012 was about the same as Anchorage Alaska's; less than a quarter of Cleveland, Ohio, a little more than half of Omaha, Nebraska, less than a tenth of Detroit, Michigan.

In 2013 the murder rate dropped a further 20% (333 in this past year) lower than it's ever been since accurate records began to be kept in 1963 (548 murders that year).

Comment by Diesel Bodine on January 1, 2014 at 10:13pm

Why so literal? It's just a song.

Comment by Geoff on January 1, 2014 at 10:44pm

I understood that you were just playing the 'character' of socially conscious songwriter without any real commitment to your lyrics. But you were perpetuating an untrue and unpleasant stereotype of New York and someone might have taken you seriously.

Comment by Diesel Bodine on January 1, 2014 at 10:57pm

There was a Bernie Goetz, albeit targeting the subways I believe. Exaggeration has long been part of the story-telling process... an inherently human phenomenon to sometimes spice up a tale. Even some of the events of history can be perceived as somewhat questionable based on who is retelling the events, what their perception is, and what motivation they have to steer a story a certain way whether they're aware that their doing it or not.

Comment by Geoff on January 2, 2014 at 12:02am

Scott, I have no problem with your playing with different musical genres and poses. You've got a lot of range. You can write a song like a guy on songwriter's row in Nashville and sing it with a credible country twang (to my northern ears).

Posing as the angry social critic (low calorie Jello Biafra?) involves slightly different expectations and responsibilities. Lots of people actually believe America is getting more and more dangerous year by year, especially big cities. Some folks call it the "mean world syndrome" and it especially afflicts people who watch a lot of television.

American cities on the whole (of course there are exceptions) are a lot safer than they were a couple of decades ago. In the early nineties New York had over 2,000 murders a year. My city, Boston, was up around 200. The number of murders this past year was 333 and 58 respectively.

It's interesting to think about why these sorts of improvements haven't sunk in. Possibly--I suspect this is the main answer but I don't know--the reason why so many people are growing increasingly fearful at the same time they are growing objectively safer is because the media they watch and listen to has become more violent. And the media violence has become more graphic and realistic. On some level we believe the rising body counts on our screens reflects what is happening in our real world.

This isn't necessarily as silly as it sounds. The make-believe violence on television certainly feels more compelling than it used to. I don't think I saw even a drop of fake blood in all the hours of Bonanza and Gunsmoke I saw as a kid.

Like I said, Scott, I've got no problem with your playing with different song styles and different personas as a performer. You say "It's just a song" and I do believe that is your attitude and it's a fair one.

Comment by Diesel Bodine on January 2, 2014 at 12:41am

I do like trying a variety of styles in music. As someone who typically doesn't gravitate to violent TV programs or movies (my cable's been disconnected for 14 years), I'm actually disgusted with the public's acceptance of and indulgence in violent entertainment. This tune actually is part mockery of the violent lifestyle as glorified by the entertainment business as much as it points to violence in the "real world." It's about lethal weapons. I have none. It's about vengeance, a pastime I've not been a participant in let alone excelled at. I wrote and recorded this tune nearly 20 years ago. Listening to several old recordings a few days ago that I haven't heard almost since I recorded them, I decided this tune lent itself to making a video that could capture illustratively the mood of the music and lyrics. I doubt at my current age I could create or even want to a similar fiasco of sound, screaming and juvenile angst.  8-)

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