Throwing Muses
Kristin Hersh
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"So what would happen to god if all the televangelists disappeared?" by Kristin Hersh, June 28 2008 (originally published on

Only a couple of generations ago, we the people sang the songs and told the stories and generated our culture from the bottom up. But now, more and more of our culture is spoon-fed to us top-down by corporations, TV networks and ad agencies. We must reclaim our culture. Start telling our own stories again. Singing our own songs. Producing our own meaning. Creating our own cool. — Adbusters

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“So what would happen to god if all the televangelists disappeared?” we asked ourselves in the cereal aisle at Trader Joe’s, music and commerce having mixed us up pretty bad in the last year. Surely, people’ll start looking for a better passport to the spirit world than what the bloated corporate corpse** offered. Just about anything’d be better than continuing to throw money at cartoon characters.

Billy picked up a box of raisin bran and read the ingredients.

“Or else we’re all so messed up by the business of selling music that we don’t know what to look for anymore. ”

I picked up my own box of cereal to read, then put it back.

“But music just is.”

Billy tossed the raisin bran into the cart and started walking slowly down the aisle. “Most people don’t think that. Most people think music is the recording industry, just like they think religion is god.” We paused in produce to let the misters spritz us (it was a hot day). “You never belonged in the recording industry anyway; you’re a musician.” He held up a loaf of bread. “Do we need bread?”

“I’ll bake some.”

“No you won’t.”

“Then we need bread,” I said. “But good music matters.”

He thought. “To a select few, maybe. Lots of people don’t know the difference.” We lingered in frozen foods (hot day). “But it doesn’t matter who hears the music,” he said. “If it’s played at all, we win.”