Thursday, May 5, 2016

Self Pity Unleashed, Palestinian Style

Through a link at Buzzflash, which has become increasingly anti-Semitic over the last year or so, this ludicrous article bemoaning the fate of two "musicians" from Gaza, Mohammed and Osama Alsusi, who just aren't rising to the success of, say, Kanye West, all of which, in the end, is the fault of (whom else) Israel.

Now, I must say that my wife has a band that plays all originals, and which has, over the last couple of years, played at the House of Blues, the Viper Room and other major L.A. clubs.  One of my sons is also in a band that gigs about 75 times a year, up and down the West Coast, and has a recording contract with a small record label.  So, I've had a chance to see what the music business is like today, not at the end of the musical universe, but right in one of its world capitals.  That's my perspective.   Anyway, here is some of what this guy had to say:

"I’m a 23-year-old rapper, music producer and filmmaker living in the world’s largest open air prison."

That would be Gaza, the only open air prison on earth to have its own inmate-run army, representation at the United Nations and fifty miles of Mediterranean beach property.

"I’m also a multimedia student at university. I’ve worked with many other young artists on creative projects, but unfortunately these projects never see the light of day, because no matter how hard we try, our dreams are constantly crushed by the tyranny of the limitations we face."

This has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the quality of this guy's music, film making and "multimedia production," whatever that is.  Because we know how many 23 year old students produce anything worth listening to.  And by the way, several of their projects have seen the "light of day," the same way that music from a hundred thousand other bands around the world do- online, where anyone on earth is free to listen to them. And here it is, just in case you are interested/masochistic enough to give it a try:

The first one is a live performance featuring the two brothers which, let's just cut to the chase here, is dreadful.  The second is one of a number of things they have managed to crank out on a computer, which I have selected because it has English subtitles available, which is so mediocre that it is hard to listen to more than a minute of it.

"Of the many barriers artists and performers in Gaza face, the biggest of all is Israel’s ongoing siege and repeated wars and bombing raids. But we face many other challenges from the ground up."

Of course, the quality of their work is not a barrier, despite the fact that they have managed to record and place online many music videos just like any other band on earth.  In fact, let's get things straight right now:  These guys' songs feature third rate knockoffs of music that was dated fifteen years ago, coupled with tenth rate ravings about Palestinian suffering that were stale before they were born.  Not designed to win listeners, but it is all someone else's fault.

"In Gaza, there are no music production companies that nurture and help developing artists. What we have right now are various commercial production companies that focus on marketing and advertising in order to make a profit.

These companies have the equipment that is needed for filming and recording, and so with no other spaces available, artists often find themselves forced to work with them. As a result, they become shackled by their corporate rules and regulations, especially the golden rule of never offending any customers.

And so desperate artists go against the grain of their freedom of expression and self-censor their work at a great cost to the quality of their art."

Ha ha.  It is only in Gaza where people who start record companies do it to make a living, apparently. And the companies have all the equipment, but cruelly won't turn it over to guys like Mohammed and Osama, because they just don't care to devote themselves to promoting essentially worthless music.  And let's just be up front here:  everyone knows exactly who they are talking about when they refer to "production companies."  Yes, the fact that they don't have a multimillion dollar record contract is just one more oppression by you-know-who.

"Independent artists who believe that art must be a free form of expression, a vehicle for dissent and a conduit of change, find themselves standing alone, unsupported and unfunded.

We desperately need to establish independent institutions to support the arts in Gaza, institutions that will reach all young people. The problem is always how to get there."

I.e. it is the responsibility of someone else to make these guys into stars.

Listen, Mohammed, let me tell you something from my own family's experience, and from what everyone else in the world of music knows:  If you want to play only what you want, you can't demonize your audience because they are not interested.  That's the price you must be willing to pay to play avant garde music.  The audience owes you nothing.  And the producers follow the audience, because they do not want to work damned hard only to live in poverty, helping some jumped up loser play out his dreams.

So, try listening to more of what is going on in the music world, which is full of great things, and try practicing your art until you are worthy of our attention.  Here's a place to start:

And don't blame the Jews for your lack of dedication to your art.


Lev said...

"That would be Gaza, the only open air prison on earth to have its own inmate-run army,"

Armies fight other armies. Gazans don't fight armies, they just shoot rockets to kill innocent Israeli children and exterminate the Jews. Call it an inmate-run mass-murder gang, but don't you dare dignify those two-legged "Palestinian" vermin by calling their genocidal maniacs an army.

They should also be kicked out of the U.N. The Nazis don't have a seat at the U.N., neither should those murderous Hamas rats. But that's par for the course, the Arabs in Yeretz Israel blame the Jews for everything, even though we let some of them vote. We shouldn't; what Muslim swine would ever vote for Jews?

Thank you for revealing those "Palestinians" for being the no-good jerks they are.

Green Eagle said...

Because I know how hard it is to make a living in the dysfunctional music world these days, I was particularly offended by these losers, who can do nothing but blame someone else because their music is not viable. There is only one answer for musicians- to make yourself better. With the internet, these guys are on an equal footing with practically every band on earth. Their failure is not caused by Jews.

Zog said...

Two things.

(1) Lev, you have produced some of the most disgusting rants I have ever come across, and, if you knew the right-wing white supremacists I run into at family reunions, that's saying something. You refer to the entire Palestinian population as "two-legged vermin", which was a phrase often used by editorial staff of Der Stürmer to refer to another ethnic group. You have called for making the Gaza Strip Arab-free in the past, which would fall under the definition of genocide. Your gross generalizations of Israel's Arab citizens are disgusting.

Furthermore, you write, "we let some of them vote." Lev, who is this "we" you talk about? You said that you live in the United States, and the only thing that keeps you from leaving is your young age. Lev, you are not an Israeli.

One of the things I hate is the confusion between ethnic groups, a country, a country's government, and political groups. Hamas and the Palestinian people are not identical, and Hamas is not the same as the Palestinian Authority (which is under the de facto control of Fatah).

(2) This is related to my peeve, but technically, the authors of the linked article aren't blaming the Jews; they are saying that Israel is part of the problem (and not the whole problem). Saying they can't get a break because the Jews who control all the major record companies won't give them a chance is anti-Semitic; saying that Israeli occupation is one factor among many that hampers Gazan artists in general is not necessarily so.

Since the authors of the article also condemn Gazan artistic institutions that "promote factional political agendas and produce art that is somewhat, if not entirely, propaganda driven," it isn't just Israel; Hamas and Fatah, although unnamed, get some of their blame as well. In the case of Hamas, they deserve it.

Green Eagle said...

Zog, it is my opinion that, when people blame owners of media entities for their problems, they are blaming Jews, as surely as if they blamed rootless cosmopolitans. We certainly have nearly a hundred years in which this has been standard practice, and it is sufficiently common that I believe that is what is happening here.

And I certainly want to say that I have no desire to depopulate the Gaza strip or the West Bank of Arabs, and I do not believe the great majority of Israeli Jews do either. The Jews of Israel have provided its minority Arab population with a life which, while not free of discrimination, is immensely better, both economically and politically, that that provided to any minority in any Arab country, or in parts of the United States I have been to (e.g. the Mississippi Delta.) This is not the behavior of potential genocidal killers. Most Israelis on both sides, in my experience, just want to live in peace. This is not true of the two battling governments of the Palestinians, sorry to say.

Anyway, this post was really intended to be about the Palestinians' love of playing the victim, to a responsive world wide audience. This game has gotten them nowhere, and never will. And pretending that, as in this case, the exact same problems that face young musicians all over the world are somehow a sign that they are being abused, is not going to lead them anywhere.