March 6, 2009

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely, Wii- Addicted Teenager

The Beatles earned a place in history as the voice of their generation: both voice and generation questioned commonly accepted values-including consumerism and materialism- and exalted creativity, originality, imagination, and individuality. To this day, their music remains emblematic of the dynamic, turbulent period of the 1960s. This, even after Michael Jackson's purchase of the rights to many of their songs, and the subsequent use of those songs to sell expensive electronic devices and- more broadly- maintain our societal mass-deception that consumption provides the key to a satisfying existence. The release of Beatles: Rock Band neatly absolves this tension between the values evoked by the fab four's opus and its contemporary exploitation by corporate America. For a small fee, modern technology can now bring the joy and pleasure of creativity without the hassle of learning an instrument or the risk of originality. We know that it would give John Lennon pleasure to see his life's work put to such great purpose. Next year, Wii will put out a game that simulates taking a principled stand against overwhelming opposition and established authority. It's pretty boring, (a lot of standing resolutely, etc.) but its value as an opiate of the masses is incalculable.