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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #396
David Gunn

As a rule--and well-nigh by most definitions--mothers are a nurturing lot. They represent the creative power of nature, the process of fecundity, the periodic renewal of life by promoting and sustaining its growth and development. Their life forces are typically positive ones. However, these affirming energies take on even more puissance when deliberately directed towards negative issues. Case in point: MADD, or, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Founded in 1980 by a small group of angry mas whose progeny were creamed by tipsy motorists, it has grown into one of the largest monosyllabic crime victims organizations in the world that is not headquartered in Antarctica. Or MAMA, Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, which formed two years later to address issues of recreational chemical molestation. Another MAMA, Mothers Against Munchausen (Syndrome By Proxy) Allegations, started in response to the burgeoning number of false allegations in which parents were accused of impersonating an 18th century German soldier and raconteur. Mothers Against Fathers In Arrears, or MAFIA, is for custodial moms who are owed child support and aren't afraid to resort to loan-sharking, prostitution and murder to get it. MAdGE, Mothers Against Genetic Engineering, is a network that resists the use of genetically engineered organisms, such as certain species of over-the-counter bean burritos. Members of MAVAV, Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence, often follow Carry Nation's example by destroying Sony Playstations and Pong gear with axes and land mines. Mothers Against Circumcision was formed to prevent physicians from throwing away perfectly good prepuce. And the goal of MAPSU, or Mothers Against Peeing Standing Up, is to "transform the way the world goes to the bathroom." By studying the lavatorial habits of laboratory rats, MAPSU determined that "Fragmentation of the urine stream causes particles of urine to dissipate." No matter how much control a guy lays claim to, says MAPSU, a stand-up bladder evacuation will treat the exterior of a toilet to a golden shower. Where will all of this distaff anti-sentiment stop? Certainly not at the front door of new music, for, just last month, a pack of sonically astute harridans who were incensed over the increasingly inharmonious racket being fobbed off as contemporary classical music conceived MADMAN, Mothers Against Dissonant Music And Noise.

Not willing to allow an acoustic event to turn into a musical one if the former is the least bit cacophonous, members of MADMAN have been known to attack a piece while in progress, disposing of the music and, in dire circumstances, the hapless musicians, too. The group claims that the world is a much too strident place already, so why muck it up with even more rumpus? MADMAN, though, does have its critics. Even people who quail at the sound of parallel tritones are quick to point out that the appreciation of music is, by and large, subjective: one person's chaos is another's harmony.

To prove this, a few of the more militant members of PWQASPT (People who quail at the sound of parallel tritones) recently abducted two of MADMAN's executive council, strapped them into matching davenports and, employing the archives of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, a radiophonic entity frequently at or near the top of MADMAN's greatest hit list, subjected them to 12 uninterrupted hours of contemporary music. From Andriessen to Berio, Cage to Dinescu, Erb to Feldman, Glass to Holmboe, even from Kalvos to Damian, the selections represented some of the more atypically composed music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. And while both MADwomen generally reacted as if their ears were being swabbed out with glass shards, some music did indeed elicit different responses from them. Nigel Osborne's "The Black Leg Miner" sent the woman on the left into paroxysms of distress, while the woman on the right merely knitted her brows into a kind of furrowy antimacassar. On the other hand, the woman on the right loudly equated Marek Kopelent's "A Few Minutes with an Oboist" with a year of hard labor at a penal colony, while the woman on the left relaxed and actually dozed off during an extended cadenza.

Afterwards, the two MADMAN did concede that they had experienced different reactions to the music, but instead of taking this opportunity to reexamine their subjective view of dissonance versus consonance, they bit the PWQASPTs and disappeared in a puff of magnetic resonance.

No matter we know we've been targeted--a disturbing note left in our mailbox signed MAKADAMIAN, or Mothers Against Kalvos And DAMIAN, has increased our vigilance to our CD collection--this 396th episode will, like all the others, disseminate musical events that we think are important to the auditory equilibrium of mothers and fathers, gramps and grannies, and even Damian and Kalvos.