Over pricing mediocre talent
I remember the first time I heard that Cristiano Ronaldo had become the world’s most expensive player. Bought from Manchester United by Real Madrid for a hefty price tag of 93.5 million Euros. the Portuguese playmaker was now worth more than the Euro zone GDP. My immediate reaction was disappointment as he had topped Zinedine Zidane’s record. that reaction was quickly followed up by me thinking well he was worth it. Any man that strikes more than 45 goals whilst playing in one of Europe’s most competitive leagues is worth that and perhaps even more.
Unfortunately Cristiano is the exception to the rule. In pursuit of the next big thing the whole affair of investing in people and ideas has gone on a tangent. In a bid to find the next breakout superstar the entertainment and sports industries are now more than willing to put a high price on mediocre talent. As Kevin Space would say “mediocrity is the elephant in the room, mediocrity runs in your family”.
The current generation of gate keepers is more concerned with creating money then creating movements. That is the reason why we have not been protected from people like Justin Beiber. The trouble is that with the multilayered media campaigns and the so called globalization era. it is much easier to be popular then to be talented. That is why I am often disgusted when I watch YouTube videos and I see wanna-be artists posting comment requesting that we watch their videos. They need “just 100,000 views” to get that record deal and make their dreams come true. And unfortunately once an “amateur artist” gets these types of figures record companies do genuinely start taking more notice and at times even sign these artists for an album. It has become a conveyor belt of second hand entertainment.
That is why shows like American Idols, So You Think You Can Dance and the like have been so successful. All that’s left is for us to see infomercials that actually sell these artists. Trust me nothing is beneath them. The markets are so saturated with bad products that some of us have decided to hang on to past glory and have given up on these modern times. Can anyone say Kurt Cobain? The biggest shame of this whole affair however is the fact that young children are falling victim to an epidemic of digi-age paedophiles’who are not out to rape them but rather are solemnly hell bent of molesting their sense of genius.
That’s why I almost cried when Andrew Johnston got eliminated from Brits Got Talent. Simply because he was a boy with a genuine self taught talent. His voice had the range of Pavarotti but with a laymen familiarity that could have Patrizio Buane shaking in his boots. But when it came to votes he was eliminated. A clear indication that we cannot trust the public with these sort of decisions, because these decisions are too important. What if that boy decided that he will never sing again, surely the world would be less better for it. Perhaps because he was not slim and handsome he did not exactly fit the description of ideal child prodigy.
We would much rather listen to Vanessa Hudgens and be done with it. because taking the moral high ground and listening to Adele is such an inconvenience when Hudgens is being played across fifty stations. I have always felt that the whole business of child stars is quite overrated. As Fran Lebowits would say “very few people are great when they are young and great, great, great all along”. That is why I am not surprised by many of the young people who have to bare the tag of “one hit wonder” before they have even had their 18th birthday.
The industry advocates for childhood harvesting as opposed to childhood development. I am sure that many of those one hit wonder teens could have been great had they been given the chance to hone their skills and perfect their craft. But because we live in a world that wants Cinderella stories and wants them now, we compromise on the development part, put you in the can and send you on your way, and unfortunately for many, their genius will not survive the strain. But this is not merely limited to the music business even a somewhat respectable industry like acting has also somewhat been guilty of harvesting talent too soon. A case in point would be that of Justin Henry, he was an Oscar award nominee at the age of 8 for his role with Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman in Kramer Vs Kramer, he has not done anything of any significance since.
And really if there is anyone who benefits, it’s the agents. It is so much better for the bottom-line to have five artists with a shelf life of 2 years then to have two artists that will be great in the next ten. Maybe a re-adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play would be appropriate. I think I will call it Death By Salesmen. Even in Mzansi there has been a steady decline in the standards of well pretty much everything. Ten years ago some of us who still had black and white television sets were not at all deterred from turning in to watch a standard of programming that was at least masked as original. Now every Friday I have to turn on my TV set and listen to local spinoffs of American public figures. I couldn’t tell whether I was in South Africa or New York when I heard phrases like “It’s Your Girl B” and “I’m Minnie Minaj.” I swear if originality was a human being he would never stop throwing up.
In our local situation we always seemed to be faced with the trouble of the pack mentality. Its apparent in the recent trend on local TV, all of a sudden we have all those comedians gracing the small screen. David Kau, Loyiso Gola and Trevor Noah have all added TV shows to their resumes. And even the likes of Kagiso Lediga are now appearing in adverts. Who would have thought? Of course the aforementioned guys are anything but mediocre. They have been doing a lot of spade work over the years. I am sure many of us still remember the Pure Monate Show. But it is not by chance that they are able to do what they do now and do it to a relative degree of success. They waited until the time was right and capitalised on their status and did not rush themselves in an egotistical bid to be the next nationally loved past time. Rather as a friend of mine recently pointed out they waited for the power of celebrity to get them when they wanted to be when they needed to be there. But for them I hope no one dies broke, otherwise the joke would be on all of us.