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July 8, 2011 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Comedian Louis CK on the Opie and Anthony radio show discussing consumers and commercialism: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3).

This is a thirty minute interview-slash-discussion where Louis CK and company talk about the role of the consumer in the rise of box stores and the closing of mom'n'pop shops. They also discuss online shopping, the erosion of community values, the modern obsession with low prices and convenience, the social aspect of shopping, and changes in everything from car repair to movie video distribution to paying to listen to the radio (this discussion, incidentally, aired February 2011 on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio).

* WARNING: NSFW language, YouTube audio links, Opie & Anthony
posted by spoobnooble (35 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Haven't listened to it all, but I think it's more than a little ironic that Opie and Anthony are decrying Blockbuster and Walmart for shutting down all the local mom'n'pops, on a satellite radio station, bent on destroying all the local radio stations.
posted by crunchland at 11:05 AM on July 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


Didn't Clear Channel already destroy all the local radio stations?
posted by scrowdid at 11:11 AM on July 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, NPR was pretty much safe from Clear Channel, but the House Republicans are bent on dealing them a killing blow.
posted by crunchland at 11:22 AM on July 8, 2011


Didn't the local radio stations already destroy themselves?
(half joking, really)

The ones where i lived before were pretty awful, then got worse and unlistenable when they hired local "comedians" that where god awful. Basically became bad like how mtv stopped showing videos. After that the only 'radio' i listened to became NPR types, and with the hills and valleys i would lose them mile after mile. I love my Sirius radio, especially for long trips. (for the record, long road trips radio is useless, as soon as you find a good station, it's gone not long after. Not to mention the square states where there is nothing and the scan just keeps going and going)

About the subject, i used to love mom and pop stores, but then repeatedly got treated like shit at them, so i don't miss most of them. Complain to "management" that an employee called me a "fucking fag"? It was management. You have no higher up to go to and basically just have to shop elsewhere. It's the same reasons i've not stepped foot in a music store in close to a decade (mocking, ignoring, elitism, etc). Living now in smaller town, my choices are limited if i can't or won't go half an hour by car, so when employees start using the N word while talking about Obama, they lose my business, and i hope even more.
posted by usagizero at 11:22 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well said, Louis CK.
posted by nickyskye at 11:24 AM on July 8, 2011


He makes a lot of good points. Even the usual crap-fest of YouTube comments seem to be in general agreement with him.
posted by codacorolla at 11:46 AM on July 8, 2011


They have some good points, but the level of over-romanticization (is that a word?) is inredible.
posted by kyp at 12:01 PM on July 8, 2011


Yeah, I don't really care about losing music stores. The internet lets you sample any music on the planet and get recommendations from whoever you like. It's a golden age aside from the piracy issues.

Same thing with books. The limited, curated selection at a small store is cool in a way but I much prefer the Amazon model of "we have nearly every book on the planet, get your recommendations from wherever you want."

Of course, my town still has a record store, an old school movie theatre, local coffee shops, a cigar parlor, etc.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2011


this video of Louis CK bombarding Donald Rumsfeld with questions about him being a lizard person is even better.
posted by any major dude at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


As a side note: Coffee Connection did rock. The guy signed an Non-Competition contract that prevented him from doing anything with coffee for a good number of years, and for not opening a coffee shop for even longer. After the first part of the NC was up, he started a micro-roaster. And basically, in my world, he fell off the planet.

Fast-forward 10 years later, I'm living just outside Ball square in Somerville, and a small coffee shop (True Grounds) opens up across from SoundBites. The cup of coffee at the time was really familiar tasting. It turned out it was from that micro-roaster. I hadn't had a Coffee Connection cup of coffee in 10 years and yes - I swear to god - I could taste it.

So, point being... If you are in Boston and you like coffee: get a bike and get to ball square or take a bus. It is worth the trip if even to say: "Damn, some people on the internet don't know a good cup of coffee from the hole in the ground that that cup of coffee made me have to crap in."
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Louie C.K. is a true patriot but seconding that I don't miss the disappearance of local radio stations.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2011


There's a lot of false nostalgia going on in this video. Louis' amazing tv show, for instance, could never exist in whatever era he wants to take us back to. But because a huge corporation (owned by Rupert Murdoch) can get a profit from a niche cable channel, Louis gets to create it.

Also, Opie(?) complaining about lack of bootlegs in the Internet age is hilarious. If anything, it would be nice if more people put their recording devices away during concerts.
posted by Gary at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. O&A are awful, but they did namedrop "Hamburger Choo-Choo", a highlight of my childhood, so they can't be all bad.
posted by JBennett at 12:59 PM on July 8, 2011


usagizero: And good luck returning anything at a mom & pop store. Or even using a coupon, sometimes.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:07 PM on July 8, 2011


I like his points about self-surveillance on Facebook and I think his heart is in the right place, but I could do without the rest of it. He complains about the loss of civil society as if that reflects the people's moral failing, but it happened because of capitalism, and all the things that civil society was supposed to do was to protect the people against the worst excesses of capitalism. Basically he's blaming the victim here.

His views about corporate homogenization make it seem like he just stepped out of the 50s. If anything, we've seen an unprecedented level of customization, personalization and through the internet, access to a huge diversity of consumer products. And from what I can tell, the "locally owned" movement is only gaining steam. The problem is that these business are local in only the most superficial and romantic sense: the employees are friendly with neighborhood locals, they have a billboard for groups and events in the community and sponsor some of them, and so on. They still rely on large banks and a supply chain network that spans the globe to be competitive - they have the same underlying infrastructure as any corporate chain.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:16 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]




I love Louie, but he has no idea what he's talking about with music.
The internet didnt kill the fringe. The fringe is all over the place now.

Shit, there's probably some kid in North Platte, Nebraska listening to Man Man and James Blake and shit now and that never would have happened in the heydey of his Iggy Pop anecdote.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:41 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Cue some insecure knob pedanting as hard as he can about how Man Man and Blake arent really that "fringe")
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:41 PM on July 8, 2011


(Cue some insecure knob pedanting as hard as he can about how Man Man and Blake arent really that "fringe")

Well...I've never heard of them. TODAY THAT INSECURE KNOB WILL NOT BE ME.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:10 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Haven't listened to it all, but I think it's more than a little ironic that Opie and Anthony are decrying Blockbuster and Walmart for shutting down all the local mom'n'pops, on a satellite radio station, bent on destroying all the local radio stations.

Satellite radio isn't going to take out local radio any time soon. People still don't want to pay for radio. IMHO, if I didn't have to pay for satellite radio I'd take it any day of the week. Having worked for them you come to realize that the audience of satellite radio in the US is a weird demographic. Having dealt with literally tens of thousands of accounts we could classify 95%+ into seven groups:

People who got satellite radio free with their car and don't renew
People who live in very rural areas
People with way too much money that will buy anything
People who listen to Howard Stern religiously
Truckers
Boaters/sailors that get the maps and weather updates
Business that got pissed off at Muzak

Local radio tends to suck except for a handful of stations as it is all the same. When is the last time you heard a classic rock station play anything new in the last five years? Surely the catalog should grow as time moves on. Maybe even an occasional B-side? Nope. Same old shit duplicated in hundreds of stations across the country thanks to Clear Channel. At least with satellite or the rare "good station" you might get something you've never heard before.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:49 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regardless of your anecdotal demographics, and even the intentions of the owners of Sirius/XM, I suspect that anyone who has a satellite radio does not listen to local radio, does not listen to local advertising, for local businesses, and therefore, Sirius/XM is designed to perpetuate the destruction of local businesses, by hook or by crook.
posted by crunchland at 4:00 PM on July 8, 2011


If a paid service is driving your free service out of business, there might be a problem with the business model.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:10 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ugh, fuck O&A. Is there a transcript somewhere, or maybe a nice edit with all the O&A chopped out?
posted by CommonSense at 4:21 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regardless of your anecdotal demographics, and even the intentions of the owners of Sirius/XM, I suspect that anyone who has a satellite radio does not listen to local radio, does not listen to local advertising, for local businesses, and therefore, Sirius/XM is designed to perpetuate the destruction of local businesses, by hook or by crook.

I would strongly disagree that satellite radio was "designed to perpetuate the destruction of local businesses." That's hyperbole and you know it. Satellite radio was created during the satellite launching boom to make a premium radio service and get a profit. Maybe you forgot that the 100 or so music stations on satellite radio are commercial free, no national commercials or local commercials.

And it's not as if local radio stations are owned locally. Clear channel owns 17% of the radio stations in the US. Yes, the companies Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP scream "local" to me. The only thing local businesses "lose out" on is being able to slap ads on radio stations. They still have local papers, billboards, TV, etc. The same local businesses aren't advertising on anyone's (insert mp3 playing device here) either, so do you contend that iPods were also "designed to perpetuate the destruction of the local businesses"?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:28 PM on July 8, 2011


Irony appreciated. That said - Local radio still exists; your local college runs it.

Of course, for news, you might still want to tune to NPR, because the college radio DJs, despite (presumably) having a HS diploma and a high enough SAT score to make it into at least a state school, seem completely incapable of reading even the most basic of printed English-language writing. ;)

Unusually enough, I consider myself fortunate to have not just one, not two, not even three, but four independent local radio stations One NPR-like station (except they play music that doesn't suck on occasion), one owned by a local wealthy author who doesn't give a damn about it making money, and two college stations (one alt/rock, one techno/industrial).
posted by pla at 5:11 PM on July 8, 2011


For my money, Louis CK is, as usual, more right than wrong here. FWIW, I think the people here complaining about the medium are agreeing with him, even if they don't know it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:58 PM on July 8, 2011


O&A very much suck without Jimmy Norton. Jimmy is O&A. (IMHO).
posted by Dean_Paxton at 9:13 PM on July 8, 2011


I haven't listened to the whole interview but so far it seems like they are trying to address an issue without having the right conceptual vocabulary. (e.g. they are just employing vague notions of "progress" or anecdotes about family businesses) Obviously this is talk radio, not an academic conference, but still.

Barry Lynn's Cornered frames the issue as a question of efficiency, and claims that basically until Reagan's adoption of Chicago School economic logic, "efficiency" was basically a dirty word because it was understood as concentration of economic power in a few producers. Chicago School economics reframed efficiency in terms of consumers, i.e. reducing production costs as much as possible.

Relaxing monopolization laws led to economies of scale in some instances, but in allowing concentrated economic power it had two effects (among others): it meant that the supply side could actually get more "efficient" (i.e. lower cost to consumers) by introducing larger retailers, which through volume and having fewer stakeholders could afford to undercut smaller businesses. Second, it also allowed the supply side to introduce a whole slew of anticompetitive practices (e.g. Wal-Mart's mandates to its suppliers).

I don't think Lynn's argument is the whole story but it's definitely an interesting take. Take-away points:

* We used to have laws against Barnes and Nobles and Wal-Marts (and technically we still do but we stopped enforcing them)
* Progress is better understood as efficiency and you need to ask "efficient for who"?
* You can't understand consumers simply as consumers; they are also necessarily producers because they have to get their money somewhere.
posted by ropeladder at 10:07 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is any of this really news to anybody, or did everyone just turn 16?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:10 PM on July 8, 2011


Is any of this really news to anybody, or did everyone just turn 16?

I wouldn't say it's news, but it is being framed by Louis, who's phrasing it in a way that people can relate to in a way that they probably wouldn't be able to relate to more abstract versions. Louis is basically making the case for American labor rights in a way that hasn't been done (in my opinion) effectively recently. I think if you played this for a talk-radio listening truck driver he'd probably agree with most of it.
posted by codacorolla at 10:26 PM on July 8, 2011


Louis would have his own chain store if he could.
posted by flabdablet at 12:56 AM on July 9, 2011


I wouldn't say it's news, but it is being framed by Louis, who's phrasing it in a way that people can relate to in a way that they probably wouldn't be able to relate to more abstract versions

This doesn't change the fact that it's anecdotal and it lacks rigour. I agree with some of what he's saying, but he's really cherry-picking various idealized memories to make a rambling, poorly-defined rant against globalism convincing only because he's Louis CK. I'm a huge fan, but he's ultimately a comedian and looks at things through that lens.

If you're blaming the consumer for attempting to maximize utility, you're blaming the wrong mechanism. Ultimately government legislation should play a role in the regulation things such as land uses and monopolies; the failure to do so is a failure of government at all levels.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:14 AM on July 9, 2011


but the House Republicans are bent on dealing them a killing blow

Is there ANYTHING that House Republicans AREN'T bent on killing!?
posted by Fizz at 11:18 AM on July 9, 2011


Is there ANYTHING that House Republicans AREN'T bent on killing!?

Terry Schiavo?

(Why didn't you ask that question a few years ago, man?! I would've been RIGHT ON THAT SHIT)
posted by waxbanks at 1:39 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


When you're a kid and you're not allowed to swear, you fantasize about someday getting to talk like these guys on the radio. This is why you should allow your children to swear.
posted by shushufindi at 12:33 AM on July 10, 2011


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