I just read that the lovely little quartet that performed “Air and Simple Gifts” at Barack Obama’s inauguration faked it. You watched the lovely musicians, elegant, focused, rising to the occasion– you thought. But the music you heard came from a recording that had been made a few days earlier. They finger-synched. They had ear-pieces so they could hear the recording, and then they put on a performance, but the performance was not musical: it was acting.
I am always amazed at the rationales given for cheating. The Chinese said that the little singer was not pretty enough to dance and the Olympics were too important to allow ugliness into the stadium. The people in charge of the inauguration said it was too cold to play, and too important an event to take a chance something going wrong, and allow any musical ugliness’s into the mall.
Even Pavarotti, at a performance in Italy a few years ago, cheated because he had a cold and didn’t want to disappoint his fans. Never mind the people who were disappointed to find out that even Pavarotti is a fake.
I hope most people immediately see through these lies. When we watch a brilliant musician perform, we are impressed precisely because it is difficult to do, and because of the dynamic connection between performer and audience responding to each other in the moment. So someone who successfully performs, live, deserves our respect. Others only want you to believe that they performed live. They want the same applause and respect. They bow and bow and bow– what’s the matter with you? What do you mean “cheating”? I just didn’t want to disappoint my fans. I say, fuck you.
If it wasn’t fakery of the highest order, why were they trying to make it look like they were performing live? Why not just stand there and bow?
And why on earth, if they were so concerned about the cold, didn’t they just perform live in the White House — in the Oval Office– and then broadcast it to the huge screens on the mall? At a moment of crisis and change, demanding the highest level of inspiration for the American people, Obama’s people cheated. They pretended they could do something they didn’t believe they could really do.
They put on a show loaded with symbolism meaning nothing.
Well, I refuse to give in to this bullshit that someone it is reasonable and good and fair to cheat in public performances. It is absolutely possible to perform live or to simply do something else if you don’t want to be honest.
[2022-05-09: they did for music what Obama did for progressive politics — faked it.]
The faked musical performance music wasn’t the only thing about the inauguration I didn’t like. The rows of guards dressed in grey overcoats lining the streets called to mind nothing so much as a police state. Rick Warren was boring. Obama’s speech was disappointing– merely “very good” instead of great. The poet played it entirely, decisively, antiseptically safe.
Diane Feinstein was good. She looked like she was having fun up there. I have never liked patriotic hymns of any sort, so Aretha Franklin’s song didn’t move me. The only other part of the inauguration I really liked was the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lawry, who at least put on a little funk and passion and sounded cheerfully unceremonious.
More Fakes: 2011-04
Did you like the tap-dancing in “Riverdance”? The sound was faked. The producers triumphantly chortled: nobody cares.
Turns out that Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) is also a fake, according to “60 Minutes”. The stories he tells in his books and repeats in person, about getting lost on K2, and being kidnapped by the Taliban. False.
If you check the James Dobson website, you’ll find that there are at least a few patriotic bible-believing Americans who are so bitter and self-serving that they are unwilling to acknowledge, even on inauguration day, the historic importance of America’s first black president.
Dobson’s proxies, instead, attacked Obama for employing several Clinton-era appointees.
Why on earth choose John Williams, most famous for the theme of “Star Wars”, to compose a piece for this historic inauguration? In his favor, he is American, living, and successful. But were the best parts of the composition the pieces he lifted from Aaron Copland? I would have preferred Tom Waits myself, but that’s just me.