Mudcat Café message #1725300 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90789   Message #1725300
Posted By: JohnInKansas
23-Apr-06 - 10:53 AM
Thread Name: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
I wonder if the real "problem" here is that the real/correct question wasn't asked.

Johnny Cash has been in the business for a long time, and those who have known him for a long time have enjoyed and respected his presence and his music. To us, there's no problem with including him in our roll of "icons" of Country music. Some of us place him pretty high on the list, and others perhaps a little lower.

I can assert that among the mostly non-professional players with whom I play fairly regularly, his songs are prominent on the list of favorites. There should be no problem with people who know him and his music holding him in respect.

Probably almost exclusively because of the recent movie and associated hype, he is being pitched as an icon to a lot of know-nothings who have "suddenly discovered" him, and are willing to buy "anything Johnny" for the moment. Mostly these "targets of commercialism" know nothing of his abilities, of any of his music that wasn't mangled in the movie, or anything of his life and career that wasn't fabricated "to make it more interesting" in the movie.

It's perhaps appropriate to ask why a whole country is subject to suddenly being momentarily obsessed with Johnny. It is not appropriate to question whether the "momentarily commercialized and exploited icon" has some talent, personality or presence to deserve this kind of "idol" status, since the status has nothing to do with the "object of worship." In this case, "idol status" comes from lots of commercial hype, managed publicity, and a lot of customers who are ignorant, vacuous drone-clones, with sufficient cash to buy what the admongers tell them is great.

Forget about it. The large displays in the book and record stores will disappear when the clones get tired, or when the next manufactured/exploited/marketed "personality" comes up. Some of the people who bought "Johnny songs" may play them a year from now, and will be - perhaps - a bit better for having learned something of him and his music. Most will be off on the next fad.

Those of who've known Johnny Cash and his music will continue to play his songs and to respect what he's meant to our music.

If you like him and his music, use the opportunity to pick up a few of the currently available CDs (or even books) now, while they're easy to find. If you've got all you need, just ignore the bubble-heads until this fad passes - and don't worry about it.

John