Last night, in the midst of folding an eternity of laundry, I happened to catch an old episode of South Park I hadn't seen. Basically, Kyle and Stan buy Guitar Hero and after nearly breaking a million points get picked up by an agent who wants them to perform live and make the million points. Like most tales of rock stardom, all is well at first until one member must betray another in order to achieve greatness. Jealousy and rage ensue as one Stan gets a new partner while Kyle becomes reclusive and starts playing Guitar Hero at dives like the bowling alley. Eventually, stardom gets to be too much for Stan and he picks up a bad habit: playing Heroin Hero, a game in which you literally endlessly chase a dragon (while shooting up, of course.) Eventually, Stan is a mess and can't perform and goes crawling back to Kyle, just like the ending of most VH1's Behind the Music episodes. The duo finally get back together and get back to playing and finally reach the goal - the one million point mark.
I wasn't really planning on going in depth with the whole episode, but I guess what I found most interesting was the very beginning of the episode, wherein Stan's dad attempts to impress the boys by playing on a real guitar, rather than Guitar Hero, at which point the boys just find him lame and go back to their game. It was a re-realization about the way kids are growing up now versus how they were maybe 20 or 30 or 50 years ago. Technology has been great in many aspects, but it's also begun to create a new breed of ultimately lazy, incredibly impatient children who don't see the point in learning how to use or make something if there's a faster, easier way to do it at the push of a button. Many kids nowadays react the way that Stan and Kyle did when they saw Stan's dad playing a guitar. It's too complicated. It's not as fun because it's not in front of a tv screen. Where's the fake audience?? What can this mean for the youth of today? Is this the end of real musicians?
I realize that many kids still do keep the dream alive, by going to piano and guitar lessons, or by getting their parents to buy them that drum set or that violin, and practicing all hours of the day and night until they get it rights. But are things like Guitar Hero seriously damaging and actually stunting the potential that many kids might have (namely those who would reach a tremendously high score on GH?) Maybe the next Bach or Beethoven is being swept under the colorful keys of the Guitar Hero controller?
Or maybe this is just another way of evolving? I hate to think that this is the next step in music, but maybe this is how people felt with the introduction of the electric guitar and the keyboard. The purists probably said that these new fangled instruments would end music all together, but instead they revolutionized sound.
...Alright. So maybe Guitar Hero won't do THAT much for music. At least, not until they invent a way to create your own songs on the game.
I think I'm just babbling on about Guitar Hero now, though. The point is... if you have kids, let them play Guitar Hero, but maybe get them some real guitar lessons too. Don't let their brains rot. It's just not right.
Or at the very least, instill in them a love of Kansas, like this girl has: