Read This Column (Pt. 1)

Sadly, no blood was shed during debate on cutting the University Programs fee at ASG’s March 14 meeting, and this Friday it looks as if all the good, the bad and the ugly of proposed increases to student fees and tuition will pass without a hitch. All is quiet on the southern front. For now.

At the ASG meeting the argument was that UP has done a poor job of representing student entertainment interests and a portion of the student fees they receive should go toward the proposed Concert Committee in order to make up for UP’s musical incompetence. There was also a worry the newly created committee would not get the seal approval by the Board of Trustees because it is already worried about keeping increases to a minimum. But that fear is only slightly real as the proposed committee will be presented as a separate increase requested by students and, thus, easily approved.

But this doesn’t address the issue of UP’s impotence in the area of getting quality music acts for UA students. The result has been bad, uninspired music, a stampede of adolescences on the campus, and most importantly, the waste of thousands of dollars.

UP argues that it provides many students with numerous events throughout the year, which is true.

But with its biggest events, centered on music, UP has proved unable to satisfy the tastes of 17,000 university students.

To wit, last year UP paid about $10,500 just to bring The Bravery to the UA. This doesn’t include extra costs included in the event that brought the bill to about 20 Gs. True, The Bravery packed the house, but with whom? The entire Greek Theater was over run by little punks whose gonads had not yet dropped and tiny tweens who think a period only comes at the end of a sentence.

With any free concert it’s hard to judge how many people attended, and that goes double for how many attendees are actual students. UP said the attendance of The Bravery show was 3,500 but my money’s on about 75 actual students. 15 or so who had to work the concert, 25 misled people who like “punk-rock” and 25 poor souls who fell into the teen gauntlet out of curiosity.

Last year’s Hogstock was honored with the presence of Chevelle and Dark New Day. It was another no talent act with too much mascara, too small pants and a rabid fan base of girls and boys who are too “grunge” and “hardcore” to drool over Jessica Simpson or Jason Mraz. The fee for that little foray into those immature musical tastes costs $5,500 just for the bands’ fees.

The list of poor musical choices and costs, includes the sad case of Ryanhood, in which UP paid $16,000 to have two white guys come to the UA with matching ties to swoon a crowd of 150 with what is gruesomely advertised as “acoustic rock,” meaning they never learned any more chords than what Dave Matthews taught them.

This year Hogstock will be graced with Jason Mraz. He’s cute and his songs are just that, so harassing him with vulgar slander like “You’re nothing but John Mayer’s half-witted cousin” is not necessary at this juncture. But the odds are good that at least one pedophile will be on hand like a fox in a chicken coop.

Despite arguments of Mraz’s talent, it should be objectively noted that he received a one and a half out of five star rating by Rolling Stone magazine, a publication that in the last decade hasn’t been known to promote the most intelligent music. It gave Ashlee Simpson the same rating and a group of five prepubescent girls redoing Devo songs a better score.

The total cost of these artistically soulless musical acts brought to campus to ream our eardrums is about $42,000 dollars over the past four semesters. And that’s a conservative calculation.

While every party involved in the budget approval seems to be getting what they want – including a requested fee increase by UP – the hammer will eventually fall. The first budget-cutting will happen with programs the trustees might deem unnecessary, like the concert committee or the readership fee.

To prevent this, you should write vigilantly to the Board of Trustees. They are the only ones who can cut UP funds. UP might complain that they won’t have enough to operate, but by creating a committee to bring decent bands, UP won’t need to squander the 5 percent of our student fees just to pay for the benefit of poor taste. Rise up. Write.

[Original piece available here.]


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