Ever tried to buy a CD from Wal-Mart that wasn't The Jonas Brothers or Taylor Swift? You can't. Not unless you want the "clean" version and who wants that shit?
Actually, does anybody even buy CD's anymore? I still do. There's something thrilling about ripping off the packaging of a new CD while sitting in your car in the parking lot in front of the store where you just bought the thing, getting pissed off because of the stupid tape they put around the edges of the case and realizing your fingernails won't do shit to unglue it because yesterday you bit the last one completely off over your morning coffee. Still, somehow you manage to get it off and open the case. There's always that smell (distinct like a new car) of printing and cardboard. Before you take the actual CD from its protective little claws, you take a moment to pull out the insert to see if the lyrics will be printed or if there will be any good art in the booklet. Finally, you can't wait a minute longer, so you slide the CD into your player, toss the case on the passenger seat, and put your car in drive. It's like being a kid at Christmas all over again as soon as the first opening notes hit you on your way out of the parking lot.
You just can't get that shit from digital download.
I made the mistake of buying a CD at Wal-Mart not too long ago. It wasn't Taylor Swift or The Jonas Brothers, mind you. I paid for my purchase and did the whole ritual thing out in the parking lot. Not 40 seconds into the first song, I heard this: "you're like a freaking lunatic..." Huh? What the fuck? I know this artist would never substitute "freaking" for "fucking." Why would anybody unless you're in a room full of 5 year-olds or catholic nuns? Seriously, I think us regular folks can handle it. I grabbed the case from the passenger seat and then I saw it. The "Clean" version. Now, typically I look real hard for this shit on the outside of a CD because I want to make sure I'm not getting the clean version. But that day, I was in sort of a hurry what with my dog waiting in the car and trying to get back home. In any event, I put the car back in park, pressed eject, fitted the CD back into the case, found my receipt, and went in to make the exchange.
I explained the situation to Shartreuse at customer service. She looked me over as if I were the proud owner of two heads. She glanced at the CD, looked at her coworker, looked back at me, then shouted to the manager standing out by the bays of cash registers.
"Darnell! This girl want the dirty version of this here CD! She wanna listen to them curse words!"
Darnell came over, took the CD and repeated: "You say you want the dirty version?"
"Well, as I explained to Shartreuse, I would prefer to purchase the explicit version. You know, the one with the "Parental Advisory Warning" on the label? I didn't realize I was purchasing the edited version. Can I exchange them?"
"Naw," Darnell replied. "We don't sell no dirty CD's in Wal-Mart. You ain't gonna find no dirty CD's in any Wal-Mart anywhere. You gon' have to go to the record sto' if you want to buy that stuff and ain't no record sto' round here. You have to drive to Birminham' to get that stuff."
"Okay," I said. "No problem. Can I just return this, then?"
Shartreuse snapped her head around. "Return it? You done opened it. You can't return it."
Darnell agreed. "It's yours now. We can't take it back on account of you don' ripped the tape off and everythang."
I nodded my two heads simultaneously, wiggled my forked tongues at them, and took my no-good, sinnin' ass back to my car with my clean CD.
I actually did listen to the CD on the way home. I got a good laugh out of it, if nothing else. Once I was home, I ejected it, wrapped it back up nice and neat in its case and promptly threw it in the trash.
You can't buy "Explicit Lyric" CD's at Wal-Mart but you can get whole seasons of Family Guy or Sex and the City on DVD. You can only purchase "Clean" versions of music but you can load up your cart with Stephen King's entire library.
How about a "Clean" version of Fight Club to go on the shelves at Wal-Mart? Instead of a "fight club" there could be a "dancing club" where all the men gather in city basements and abandoned warehouses to learn how to do the jig in private. Brad Pitt and Ed Norton could be dance instructors posing as tough guys. Instead of all the self-help meetings Ed attends in the beginning of the movie, he could instead be hard at work canvassing offices and bars for men needing to get in touch with their inner dancer. Ed could then set out creating an underground "Dancers Anonymous" for all men who are finding it harder and harder to control said inner dancer, especially when their wives make them watch Footloose. That goddamn Kevin Bacon. How come it's okay for him to dance but not me? I wish there was someplace I could go and be free. Free to dance. I'm tired of only being able to get my groove on in the crapper." Later, when Brad Pitt enters the scene as Ed's way cooler alter-ego (although, if I were directing the movie, I would reverse the roles so Edward Norton was the cool one because isn't he anyway?), he could take over the Dancers Anonymous and rename it "Dance Club." The first rule of Dance Club, there is no Dance Club. Meanwhile, the men show up at their day jobs after a hard night of dancing, icing their feet, flexing their calves, and curling their lips.
And, sure, Wal-Mart can stock "clean" version of Stephen King novels. Instead of blood and guts being torn from abdomens, they can be replaced with gummy worms and jolly ranchers. Or how about just leaving whole sections of the book blank.
And every time one of those old, nasty whores in Sex and the City makes a sexual pun or talks about her pussy, we'll just fade to black on the screen or bleep it out until all you'll be getting for your purchase of Seasons 1 - 4 is a picture of the New York City skyline and four ugly bitches sitting around a table staring into the camera with vacant, dead eyes.
And Wal-Mart is worried about a fucking CD being clean. Apparently, a "Parental Advisory Warning" doesn't hold the same weight as "Rated R." Why? If you're in the music section with Johnny and he picks up a CD that clearly states "Parental Advisory Warning - Contains Explicit Lyrics" are you going to buy it for him? If you're in the movie section and Johnny picks up a movie that is clearly "Rated R", are you going to throw it in the buggy?
If a movie can sit on a shelf with a rating of R or NC-17 then why can't a CD with a Parental Advisory label?
It's a big, fat double standard.
The reality is, nothing is stopping Johnny from hitching a ride with the 16 year-old brother of your next door neighbor and walking up to the ticket booth with his money in his hand and slapping it down on the counter for the latest version of The Exorcist. Are you relying on the douche bag behind the ticket counter to be your kid's personal cop and request ID? By that logic, you should count on the cashier at Wal-Mart to refuse little Emily her purchase of South Park - The Movie. Because, oh yes, it's okay to stock the shelves with movies, books, video games, fashion, mags, and Barbie dolls. Just not that damn devil noise!
We can't listen to the lyrics but we can watch Lady Gaga being hung from the rafters at the VMA's while a pool of blood forms on her onesie. It's okay to watch Madonna and Britney Spears kiss on live television. It's alright to see female pop stars perform half naked on stage. We can channel surf in the midst of all this and entertain ourselves by watching a bunch of plastic whores desecrate themselves at the feet of a rich bachelor while on another channel a family is being torn apart by divorce at the expense of 8 children. And don't even get me started on Hannah Montana and the vileness that is Miley fucking Cyrus, Whore-In-Training. Kids watch this shit?
Of course they do. And you can bet your ass that Wal-Mart will make a fucking mint this Christmas selling whatever it is that little slut-puppy is peddling this year.
This is all fine and dandy, of course. Just don't listen to the lyrics!
Wake the fuck up.
I could keep going, but what's the point? If you get it, you get it. If you don't, chances are good we can't hang.