Monday, December 16, 2013

There is No Pink Floyd

Ben Jacobs has written a sly hit piece on Roger Waters, and even he understands that no one knows who Waters is unless they call attention to the fact that he left Pink Floyd almost 30 years ago.

Rather than debate the merits of what Waters has said, Jacobs goes for clicks and traffic, missing an opportunity to defend Israel's policies. If a country segregates its own population based on their ethnic and religious background, and not based on what they have actually done, is that not a form of Apartheid?

Jacobs fails to acknowledge is that there is no such thing as race anyway. Race is a cultural construct that bears no relation to our biology as humans. His argument is framed thusly:

Waters’ comments are unlikely to shock those who have followed the musician’s recent career where he has often expressed distaste for Israeli policies. Earlier this year, he described Israel as “a functioning theocracy . . . that operates Apartheid.” But, in comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, these comments are by far the most controversial that the musician has made yet on the subject.

When someone makes an over-the-top comparison, call them on it. Waters is wrong to compare any nation/state to Nazi Germany, obviously, but that's merely a function of these modern times. You can't get anyone to pay attention unless you go over the top. There's nothing wrong with that if you're willing to be mocked or called on it. But Jacobs automatically assumes that Israel hasn't done anything wrong, ever.  There are troubling comparisons to Apartheid as a policy in the modern Israeli state.

You can attack the hyperbole in what Waters is saying, but don't include "Pink Floyd" in the discussion; Waters has been out of Pink Floyd longer than they were together. The surviving pair of former members have had almost nothing to do with Waters for decades.

Aside from a brief reunion for charity (Live 8) that yielded almost nothing in terms of a statement of doing something to repair their relationships, there is no Pink Floyd. The last two albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), were David Gilmour solo projects that were designed to provide two live double albums and lucrative tours to fund their retirement. Without looking them up, few people could tell you any of the songs that appeared on those albums. In other words, there is no Pink Floyd and there hasn't been one for almost two decades. Why use the name of the band in this way and taint them? Why mention the term twice before the first sentence of the story is complete?

Ah, because no one would click the link. Now I get it.

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