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Cognitive Dissonance as Usual

From a Wired News article:

Seventies rockers and enemies of Jeffrey Lebowski The Eagles announced last month that their latest album, "Long Road Out of Eden," would be exclusively available at Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and the company's online properties, thanks to a deal that gives the band a higher-than-normal cut of each sale and includes them in a $40 million ad campaign.
And from the lyrics to a song on Long Road out of Eden, "Business as Usual":
Look at the weather, look at the news
Look at all the people in denial
We're running time, leaving grace
Still we worship at the marketplace
While common sense is goin' out of style
I thought that I would be above it all by now
In some country garden in the shade

But it's business as usual
Day after day
Business as usual
Just grinding away
You try to be righteous
You try to do good
But business as usual
Turns your heart into wood

You've just cut an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart that's made your album number one in the country and brought you millions of dollars? Good for you. You want to write songs decrying "worship at the marketplace"? Fine, though that's not my cup of tea. But as someone once wrote, "Some things? Just don't belong together."


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Perhaps they are really mourning their own inability to break the cycle.

"I thought that I would be above it all by now...but it's business as usual."

Regardless, while they are mourning their own worship at the marketplace tendencies, they can join Garth Brooks and mourn the loss of my consumer dollar, because I'm not buying anything thats exclusively marketed by WalMart.

I'm sure Don Henley sees his lyrics the way you do. And it's a reasonable interpretation. But forgive me if I can't sympathize with him. He's already rich, and then writes, "Boy, you can't go surfing in Century City / Yeah, them sharks out there are lurking beneath the curb / Yeah, they rob you blind, chew you up, and it ain't pretty". I'm sure the independent music retailers whom he and his bandmates cut out feel that way about The Eagles.

Really, as a distribution and marketing play, I think what The Eagles did was clever, and good for them. And I'm not opposed to the lyrics on their own. It's just the juxtaposition of the two. And sure, they're mourning their own inability to break the cycle. But how hard would it have been for them to say, "We're not going to distribute exclusively through Wal-Mart. We're not going to cut out other chains and small retailers just to enrich ourselves." I don't think it would have been hard at all. I think it would have been simply them saying "No" when their talent management raised the idea.

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