As those who read the comments will have spotted, Brian Mayes, the promoter behind ‘Christian Music Makeover‘ commented on my post on the subject and offered to discuss it with me. To that end, I have emailed him the following message. I will endeavour to keep this blog up to date as the conversation unfolds. And do comment if you have any thoughts on the subject.
Thanks for commenting on my blog entry and for offering to discuss this campaign with me.
As you’ll probably have gathered from my blog entry I find the description of the campaign contained in the press release offensive. While it’s true that ‘reality tv’ has been immensely successful, its productions have often been in poor taste, and those of its offspring that seek to promote music have usually been unduly focussed on the surface aspects of the industry (physical appearance, pandering to particular markets) rather than the promotion of anything that strives to be good on any artistic basis.
I am a firm believer in the importance of Christian engagement with popular culture, but I believe that within that engagement we should be seeking to promote that which is excellent (beautiful, true, etc) rather than simply picking up on the marketing techniques utilized by a mainstream media that has managed to largely drain the popular sphere of music that seeks to create for the sake of fostering conversation or producing something beautiful.
My initial concern with the press release was that it made no mention of the band’s music. If someone is seeking a career in the music industry then surely music should be the prime criterion. Popular music is far too controlled by the ability of certain parties to market a particular look or other aesthetic rather than encouraging people to engage with the quality of writing and performance, and it is my hope that as Christians we can work towards rectifying that. I would be interested to hear how you would respond to this and how this promotion will engage with this issue.
Probably more fundamentally I objected to the fact that the press release seemed to suggest that spirituality is something that can be ‘judged’ or that audience participation is a good way of ‘improving’ a band’s spirituality. This implication was very clear, but if it is the result of poor choice of words, please correct me. If not, I must say that I think that this is a very dangerous way to discuss spirituality and a bad message to be communicating to often impressionable fans. Spirituality is an issue that must be worked out in community, but a community of deep relationships rather than one of mass media. How do you intend to ensure the band’s relationship with God is worked out with fear and trembling before God and primarily amongst those who really know them, while they are engaged in this promotion?
Thank you again for agreeing to discuss this with me. Since the discussion began so publicly, I intend to post this letter on my blog and you are welcome to reply by email or on that blog. If you do reply by email and would rather that I not reprint your words verbatim on the blog please let me know that explicitly.