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I’m With Stupid – February 26, 2016

STOP IRRITATING OTHERS WITH YOUR CRAPPY MUSIC
by Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley-smallSome of you may not know this — and to be honest, it’s barely true — but I’m a DJ. Every other Friday I host a two-hour show on KDNK Community Radio in Carbondale. (Membership drive going on right now! Please help keep us on the air.) The name of the show is “KaDuNKafunk” (get it?), and as that name implies, I play mostly funk music. That’s my favorite genre, and if other people like it, great; if not, tough noogies.

So I get it. I understand that everyone likes to listen to their own tunes, and to some extent you have to not worry too much about what other people think of your musical tastes. But if you’re in a public place, you should at least try to be considerate of other people who may happen to be there. Basically, what I’m saying is: Don’t be a douchebag with your music just to prove to everyone how hip you are.

I’ll give you a recent experience I had as an example. I was at a kid’s birthday party at the base of West Buttermilk, a popular spot for local kids’ birthday parties and other get-togethers in the spring. In addition to my son and the other 9-year-olds at the party, there were two or three other groups of youngsters. In total, there were maybe 20 kids coming and going as they skied throughout the day.

A group of young adults showed up, and this one dude busted out a couple of big speakers, and the moment he did I thought to myself, “Oh no.” Sure enough, the guy had brought along his turntables and was going to DJ. I know I’m a crotchety old man, but there are few things I dislike more.

He assured us parents that he liked old-school music, and at first his choices were fine. He played some Eric Clapton, a bunch of Bob Marley, some dopey dance remixes of Beatles songs. I went off to ski a few runs with my son while Marley’s “One Love” was playing and a harmonious vibe filled the air.

When we got back about 40 minutes later, reggae had given way to rap, and “One Love” had been replaced by some horrible song in which every other word was the N-word or the F-word. It couldn’t have been less appropriate for the setting. As a result, the once-harmonious vibe had been replaced by the unvoiced anger of a bunch of parents who didn’t appreciate some thoughtless DJ filling the air with curse words.

Even worse than the language, though, is that it was just godawful crap. Seriously, how the hell did music devolve to that? I used to like hip-hop back in the days of De La Soul and Public Enemy, but now I consider it unlistenable. Obviously, I’m old and tragically unhip, but the little bit of rap I hear these days is horrific.

But that’s not the point. The point is: When did everything involving three or more millenials start requiring a freaking DJ? Why does some dweeb working the white man’s overbite while one hand cups a headphone to one ear always have to try to turn the party out? It’s so annoying. Please stop.

You’re like the jackass back in the day who brought his guitar to every party and played the same stupid song over and over thinking it might help him with the ladies. The only real difference is that he at least put in the time to learn how to play a guitar and make his own sounds.

Look, everyone likes music, and much of the time a little music will be appreciated in a group setting. But remember that everyone doesn’t like every kind of music, and understand that to most people, music that they consider bad is so much worse than no music at all.

I would never presume to be an arbiter of what music is considered appropriate. I would be the biggest hypocrite ever if I did. But on some level, you have to recognize that when it comes to irritating innocent bystanders, some genres of music are more likely to do it than others.

If you want to hear that kind of music in public, please leave the turntables and big speakers at home. Trust me: No one’s impressed by the size of your equipment anyway. Just bring your phone and a little speaker instead so that only your group has to listen to your tunes. You’ll be doing everyone else a favor.

Todd Hartley was an S1W for Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet” tour.

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