Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gorilla Drummer

Tom Ewing, a music critic who writes for Pitchfork Media, my daily stop for a music fix, had an epiphany about an advertisement for a chocolate bar, albeit Cadbury's Dairy Milk. He is referring to the viral youtube video with the gorilla drumming to a Phil Collins' song. It has received millions of hits and spawned a couple of clever knock offs.

"The drum moment in "In the Air Tonight" is, much like a gorilla sitting at a drumkit, incongruous and showy and absurd and powerful and violent and crude and pathetic, all at once. But if you had been a critic, writing about Phil Collins, and had said something like, "He smashes at the drums like an unleashed gorilla," it would not have worked. The reader would only have picked up on one part-- the unleashed-ness or the gorilla-ness (i.e. the power and violence), and ignored the fact that the animal is sitting at a drumkit (i.e. the showiness and absurdity). You could have found words to point out the absurdity, and stressed that it links with the violence rather than detracts from it-- maybe by talking about Collins' usually toxic combination of unpretentiousness and self-importance...but by now you're losing your reader and really, far better to just get someone to dress up as a gorilla and hit a drumkit and then say, "Look! That's what I'm talking about!"


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