The Shine — Two-cent trending

Think you should post your ever-so-nuanced political thoughts online? Think again. The Shine vs. American electoral rhetoric.

Okay, so I’m glad Obama is still the president down there, but it has nothing to do with him being “the hip hop president” or whatever.

Had I been writing this column in 2008, no doubt I’d have entered the fray on Nov. 7 with an air of triumph, misbegotten though it may have been, and attempted to compose some sort of meaningful ode to America’s first black prez. Thank God I wasn’t.

I’m not gonna celebrate “the lesser of two evils” or even try to front like I follow American politics all that closely. Say the word “Republican” to certain types of left-leaning Canucks and soon you’ll be hearing about how there “never even were any twin towers,” or some such rhetoric, but will it be food for thought, or another unwiped opinion?

My concern is not so much with who governs stateside as how that person gets there. Reminder: they didn’t get there because you Tweeted about it or bombed Facebook with loud slogans and funny pictures or made harsh comments to detractors on YouTube. But they sure as hell don’t mind if voters kept themselves distracted that way.

Lots of us embrace the information age for simply being upon us. Yeah, it’s great that we finally have a way to find out what everyone thinks, at any given moment. People who used to sit solitarily and comment out loud about whatever was on their TV now have a wider audience than their dog. But no one is listening.

How many digital threads have you seen that essentially boil down to something like this:
“A woman’s choice is her own #voteobama”
“But what about the job crisis?”
“Fcuk u!”
“FREE coupons, click here.”

This is a far cry from engagement in the democratic process, and if you believe otherwise, no matter what country you vote in or what political stripe you sport — well, I hate this ominous cliché, but “they’ve got you where they want you.”

Now that most of us have adjusted to saying what we think and getting it out there, filters be damned, it doesn’t suffice to simply transfer over the same bickering aggression you share with friends and loved ones to the greater public.

You still aren’t changing minds or ideas. If anything, and of course this is speculative, all it does is widen the divide. “This fuck thinks this way because he is this and that and this….this bitch is crazy because tick-tack-tock….I’m with so-and-so, except that idea is fucking stupid…”

As an opinionated writer, I can definitely turn a dark shade of glib when I watch someone else flap their lips without thinking it through. It’s not because we aren’t all entitled to our opinions, or that I think mine are sharper. It just burns my ass when I see firy denouncements pass as legitimate observations. Yes, you can sum up your thoughts in 140 characters, but don’t feel so obligated.

“Think twice, post later” may be the new “measure twice, cut once.”

Social media is a poor substitute for discourse. It’s more equivalent to yelling in a padded room, whatever the topic. Discourse requires engagement, not estrangement. Maybe that’s a mindset we all still need to mature into.

The following parties require varying levels of maturity:

Thursday – Local songstresses Krystale, Cora Lim and their respective trios got the jazz over at le Bleury-Bar à Vinyl. Both ladies keep it silky smooth, so act the grown-up.

Up at la Sala Rossa, meanwhile, Howl! Arts Collective brings dup poet young anitafrika to town, with Kalmunity and guest poets and artists. Don’t think you’ll spot too many Bieber t-shirts here.

Friday – Honestly, there is too much to do tonight. Like a child with too many toys, lemme throw a few at you:

Poirier and Ghostbeard bring a taste of their May-September Sud-West follies uptown to the Belmont for a few extra autumn hours of riddims.

Out west, Ottawa hip hoppers Philly Moves hit Macallan’s in Dorval with Tyco, TB1, Clarity and Goliathpaw.

Shimmy over to the SAT to dance yrself clean to the DJ stylings of ex-LCD Soundsystem Oz-figure and pre-eminent scarf-wearer James Murphy.

Or, finally, get thyself to Underworld for the Masonic intrigue of the Hiram Key Project with headliner UrbN LogiX and guest California Ghost King alongside a strong lineup of local rap talent. Mature? Maybe not. But thought-provoking? Quite possibly.

Saturday – A free 3 p.m. Bad Weather show at the BBAM! Gallery sounds like a good opportunity to learn something about responsibility and see a show sober. Or whatever, go for drunch first.

Later that night, local soul man Wayne Tennant makes a rare headlining appearance backed by several fine funkateers at le Piano Rouge.

Check back Friday for my interview with New York golden digger Paul Nice, who hits up le Belmont on the invite of Scott C and Lexis.

Sunday – This weekend I’ll be publishing a special Shine supplement commemorating Dutch Garner on the anniversary of his untimely passing. But, as noted last week, a very special tribute in his honour takes place at le Belmont, one year to the day of his death. If ever Montreal’s scene felt like it had to grow up fast, this was the year. ■

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