God Only Knows

Being addicted, or even just a fan of The New York Times means you have to suss out the necessary assumptions and become expert at translating what's really going on there. Even overlooking the woeful sports section and regular incidents of pathetic pandering—a recent travel piece by Robert Kennedy Jr. comes to mind—the institutional psychoses and attitude, subtle as they may be, that the paper infuses, again ever so delicately, into everything is quite amazing.

As a fan, I have to say that while all that is very real, there is still much to marvel over (sometimes good, sometimes bad) when it comes to the Times beginning with the amount of real estate available for writers. And there’s the Gray Lady’s bantam sense of humor which at its best is deathly droll and wickedly funny.

Take this recent wonder of understatement, not to mention marketing cold-heartedness, plucked from a story about rock music being used in commercials that was slugged: "Advertisements With a Pop Beat Bring Fresh Revenue to Singers Young and Old." The speaker is managing director of the licensing arm of a London-based ad agency.

"As artists get older, they become more flexible about this, and that principled stance looks less important when they realize they have no pension."


Seems to me the instances of music licensing that really offend me these days do not involve starving or even less–than–well–off musicians. In fact, just the opposite is true. Neither Led Zeppelin, who put out for Cadillac or the Beach Boys who assumed the position and gave away what is perhaps their most transcendent Brian Wilson song, "God Only Knows" to HBO for use as the theme song to Big Love needed the money that much. There was just too much of it on the table for them to walk away. The guy above is right, it’s the lesson of the new century—principled, anti-corporate stances are for suckers.

You have to wonder what Mr. Lennon would have said about all this?

D@M's picture

Check this ... but I don't believe any part of the Beach Boys organization has ownership of that song.

Anthony F. Venturo's picture

I WISH we could hear what Mr. Lennon would have said about all this.Maybe all of us will get to talk to him someday.