We are ALL not consumers.

I’ve been getting an unusually high level of linkage to a post I wrote in July, called “I am not a consumer. I am a human being,” after Doc Searls linked it (and my recent rant about the crippling effects of the c-word) on Saturday. The attention is flattering, but I’m not the first person to express this sentiment. In fact, the web is boiling over with it. A brief survey yields these variants:

  • “I am not a consumer. I am a person. Start treating me like one.” — michaelw
  • “I am not a ‘consumer,’ a ‘recipient’ or any other abstraction. I am I. I am a person, I am a self.” — Harold A. Maio
  • “They do not see us as disabled. They see us as able. I am not a consumer who consumes government aid at exorbitant costs and never improves. My crew and I are producers…” — Bruce Ario
  • “To refer to citizens as ‘consumers’ indicates a pro-business bias.” — Christopher Palms (comment to FTC on Do Not Call registry)
  • “…being American means I am NOT a Consumer above all else.” — Roger Born
  • “I am not a ‘consumer’, I am not a number. I am not a walking wallet for companies and government to fight over. To the corporate heads and government rulers I say ‘HEY! You F**kers work for ME! Remember THAT!’” — “Phugedaboudet”
  • “I am not a consumer of your political products, I am a citizen!” — David Weinberger, cited at Blogads and at GreaterDemocracy
  • “I will not spend my money with a company whose CEO thinks I am nothing but a consumer (I despise that word) of useless media crap from Hollywood and the Copyright Cabal. I am not a consumer. I am a customer. And I will not be treated like a criminal.” — Terry Frazier
  • “I am not a consumer but a reader of books…” — Katherine MacNamara

Point? While there is certainly a fair amount of consumer-label-resentment directed towards the broadband providers, the same backlash is appearing against the music industry, the retail industry (through Amazon), Hollywood, marketers (tele- and otherwise), and the political establishment. That’s a lot of minds to start to shift.

So it’s time to start shifting them, to take the power back.

Update: Doc points out that I missed a very important variation on this, from Cluetrain: “we are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. we are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp. deal with it.” Doc: I missed it because that’s written as an image with no alt text, and thus was not turned up in the Google search!!! Irony is alive and well.

ECM hits the iTunes Music Store: go get some Pärt

I thought I was seeing things a few weeks ago when I saw an ECM release in the iTunes Music Store, but no: a bunch of essential ECM classical releases have been added this week, including the Pärt Te Deum. If you haven’t already added this recording to your collection, I highly recommend it. And don’t buy just the tracks; go ahead and get the album so you can get the recording of the “Te Deum.” I remember sitting around in Monroe Hill with fellow Glee Club member Morgan Whitfield listening to this and being in awe back in 1993, and then being just as awed in 2002 when I sang the work with the Cascadian Chorale.

Other Pärt ECM recordings of interest in the iTMS: Tabula Rasa, the Miserere,
Kanon Pokajanen, and the Passio (which, as on the CD, is a single 70 minute long track).

BSO update: A Child of Our Time

My first BSO concert of the season is coming up: a performance of Sir Michael Tippet’s oratorio A Child Of Our Time under the direction of Sir Colin Davis. The work, a response to the Nazi persecution of the Jews, particularly Kristallnacht, in the days leading up to the Second World War, alternates highly chromatic and difficult choral passages with settings of African-American spirituals. While on first blush the description sounds too “high concept” for comfort, the choice of spirituals is appropriate: the texts of the spirituals evoke images from Old Testament (i.e. Jewish) history as a response to slavery, particularly “Go Down Moses” and “Deep River” (“my home is over Jordan”), and the juxtaposition of the spirituals with the texts about persecution brings things full circle.

Rehearsals with the chorus have been good so far. We start orchestra rehearsals next week, and performances are at the end of the month (the Mozart Posthorn Serenade is also on the program), on the 27th, 28th and 29th. I hope some of my Boston area readers can make one of the shows.