Every summer has its Big Story This year, it's the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an ecological and financial disaster that is quickly reaching such staggering proportions that the human mind can't comprehend it. It's like trying to count grains of sand on a beach — or in this case grains of sand on the beach that still resemble sand and not glops of dysenteric bear poo.
Except for a New Orleans benefit concert in May featuring Lenny Kravitz and raising about $300,000 for the Gulf region's seafood industry and wetlands restoration, there's been nary a peep. And that silence hasn't gone unnoticed, especially after efforts to help earthquake-ravaged Haiti and flood-ravaged Nashville. Some suggest that man-made, corporate disasters aren't as big a deal when those at fault are saying they'll be picking up the tab for the damages. (Hey, Alaska, how long did it take you to receive payment for the Exxon Valdez spill?) Could be.
1. Summer concert season
Bonnaroo ended this weekend, and Lilith, Pitchfork and Lollapalooza are lurking in the wings. Artists are expending a lot of petrol in order to arrive at these events, and because we live in America, all musicians aren't forced to subscribe to Cloud Cult's hippy-drippy green philosophy. A benefit effort for the wildlife and people affected by the spill would just be gauche. If anything, proceeds should go to BP to make sure this disaster doesn't force them to drive up oil prices.
This is just simple math. You can tell because I used the greater-than symbol. You can't argue with math. And neither can pop stars.
4. Escalation of Lady Gaga-Katy Perry feud
It's a fool's bet if you think Russell Brand can keep the peace in this beef. Eventually, an innocent bystander is going to be torched by a flame-throwing bra, or someone is going to pull in M.I.A., and redheads and unlisted cell phone numbers are going to be in jeopardy. Musicians are keeping some cash handy to help the relief effort for this ugly fight's aftermath.
Hurricanes winds blow shit over. Earthquakes knock shit around. An oil pipeline leak just spews shit into the water. From below, which means no big splashes or waves or bubbles (…except for that first brief explosion). Just a bunch of floating shit. A good, benefit-worthy disaster can't coast on a label. It needs to make an effort to be entertaining.
This is a hard pill to swallow, and the the music industry–nay, the entire entertainment industry–is too classy to say it out loud. That's why I have to. It breaks down like this: