Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Power of Television At Radiology Oncology

Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 - Hector Villa-Lobos

I'm one of the many musicians who play music in hospitals for the organization "Body & Soul, The Art of Healing." So I walk into the Radiology Oncology building say hi to the visible staff and get to playing music. I start with a somber piece "Bachianas Brazileiras No.5, by Hector Villa-Lobos"
All is going well, the people smile, I like it. An elder couple walks in sits and listens as they wait. The woman seems pleased with the music as I continue playing. Then this man comes in and changes the channel on the television from some Country Crock commercial to FOX News. No big deal this happens all the time here... Suddenly a man standing at the front desk holding a Zip-Lock bag full of pill bottles says "Woah! What happened?" as he gawks at the television. I look over at the TV and the elder couple excitedly get up and they fumble over each other (I thought they were going to trip over one another) to get a closer look at the grainy footage of a kid beating the crap out of another kid on a school bus. So I decided to take a photo of this precious moment.

"Uh-oh" I think to myself. "Here we go." Glancing back and forth from my beautifully hand crafted guitar neck to the T.V. I proceed to watch the video of this school bus beating. They play it, and play it again. Then a panel of three well dressed News anchors comment on it. I can't make out what they're saying as my guitar is much louder on my side of the room. Then they go back to the beating. I decide to play a little Flamenco in the spirit of this fiery moment. Then the billion dollar network switches back to the anchors who comment some more, but now they're playing the footage in slow motion as I improvise over E Major and F Major. They kept repeating the video over and over again, "And now lets watch it, but backwards and in slow motion". I wanted to stop playing and loudly ask "And what are we supposed to do about this? I think we should turn the TV off." But, I'm sure that would be quite offensive to the staff and waiting patients in the ironic light of some kid getting his face pummeled.

Violence happens to people every day, I don't see the point in repeating stuff like this over and over again. Should this be an epidemic, a sudden outbreak where every 20th school bus across the nation was having a beating in it. Then I'd say that's news worthy of a billion dollar network. Otherwise this News belongs only in the community in which it happened, as we can't do anything from here but gawk, and it isn't showing us how awful the world is. It's merely showing us how awful THAT school bus was (but television makes the world right?). So I continued providing soundtrack music to the re-play, and slow motion re-play of the video until it came time for me to leave.