My iPod, my life, my my…

[24 May 2006]

By Jason Gross

Brian Montopoli’s CBS blog post “I Use The Shuffle Feature Because I Like To Shake Things Up” lampoons the press coverage of the non-story of what’s on a politician’s iPod.  Good for light piece at the end of a news broadcast but not earthshaking stuff for sure.  That is unless you subscribe to the theory that we are what we listen to.

Consider these things:

- What if these politicians really listened to these songs?
- What does it really say about them?
- What does our own music collection say about us?

Cheney listens to Johnny Cash but does does that mean that he supports prisoner’s and Indian’s rights? Hardly. As Montopoli points out, Bush hardly goes along with the politics of the artists that are supposedly on his iPod

Just as with Hollywood celebrities, we’re fascinated by Washington’s elite, wondering what makes them tick and how they think. Obviously, a look into their music selection is a peak into who they are and what they’re about. Even if we take the cynical stance that Montopoli does about how their iPod selection is nothing more than PR meat (which it likely is), the fact of the matter is that these people do have albums that they listen to. And rock critics be damned, they surely do have some guilty pleasures, just like most people- a much more interesting question would be what these were for them. Even a scripted answer to that would be revealing. But truth be known, having good music taste doesn’t necessarily make for a good or bad politician: hell, I happen to like John Fogerty and “My Sharona” but that’s probably all I agree with Dubya about.

If they did pay a little closer attention to their record collection, they might have a little more sympathy for the artists they love. Then ideas like health care programs for musicians or more balanced record contracts or not using out-of-context lyrics for fear-mongering and fines wouldn’t be so far-fetched.

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