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Courtroom high drama set to sad, aloof piano?
Last post Tue, May 31 2022 by Macker, 3 replies.
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Posted on Sat, May 28 2022 20:00
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

This is the first example I've found of a carefully curated montage of video clips from the current Big Trial, with no added narration other than music accompaniment. I'm hoping other, better examples, will follow.

[Warning: this video contains graphic images, strong language and descriptions of domestic and sexual abuse; some viewers may find it distresssing.]

Depp v Heard trial; The Guardian's video montage with piano accompaniment (8 mins)

Why this sad piano piece? I have no issues at all with the piece in itself. I'm questioning the appositeness of the piece in this video montage. Yes of course one could say the whole of this trial is a terribly sad, indeed tragic reflection on the lives of the two protagonists. But it's not as simple as that.

I'm calling The Guardian's choice of musical accompaniment here a typical cop-out. The Guardian is not known for lusty, emotionally-invested, red-blooded engagement with its news stories; they typically prefer to stand off at a safe distance - i.e. aloof - and proselytise or censure on intellectual grounds. But this trial has raised very many issues that cannot be understood or dealt with adequately by intellectual means alone, and certainly not by taking an aloof stance as suggested by this music.

The Guardian is a moderately left-leaning mainstream news corporation based in London. I don't regard myself as left-leaning, but having known The Guardian (among other mainstream news outlets) all my life, in my opinion I'd say their target demographic is largely petit bourgeois clerical and other administrative types, as well as any who prefer to intellectualise rather than engage with heart and soul in life.

Currently I happen to be closely following the new and unprecedented so-called "Law Tube" on YouTube (which is not the name of any particular YT channel but covers the many trial-focused lawyers who have been posting widely-viewed videos, individually and collectively, on this trial). Trial lawyers are not emotionally-desiccated, soulless creatures - they simply cannot be that way in their line of work. They fight, heart and soul, in the 'ring' and in the 'trenches', although intellectually they must also prepare carefully and thoroughly for their fights. They all agree about the heavy emotional toll taken by their main role in court. Their professional-insider insights and commentaries that have been popping up abundantly in Law Tube are just not available in mainstream news media.

I seriously doubt if many trial lawyers - the real movers and shakers in any courtroom drama - would be satisfied by this sad and aloof (one might even say cowardly) piano accompaniment chosen by The Guardian.

As for the people en masse, they understand drama - they can naturally live and breathe its depths and textures and colours and dynamics. And they love to watch drama on screen. Will they be satisfied by The Guardian's musical cop-out here? I think not.

What say you?

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Sun, May 29 2022 11:58
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1115

It is the same reason that, for as long as I can remember, there is music(!!) during the first few minutes of the news where they are showcasing the latest events. Music during the detonation of buildings during the Iraqi or Serbo-Bosnian wars. Music during the airliner darting into the World Trade Centre or somebody jumping off it! Music!!!!

I finished school in Greece (before I went abroad for studies), where we didn't have this. I am referring to back then of course, now we ape almost everything from our superiors from outside our borders...

When, as a student, was first exposed to "news-music" I was appalled. As if the real life terrors and misery were not enough on their own, apparently they needed scoring in order for the desired emotion to be elicited? For me, it fictionalised real people's predicaments, I was offended on their behalf. Perhaps if I were raised in an English speaking country I also would not have noticed. It was the same with commercials between programs. I found them so incredibly loud, much louder than the actual programs they were interrupting. When I mentioned this during class in the Music department(!), nobody else had noticed it, and it is still an ongoing practice.

Those panderers are smart. It seems that loud, tawdry, vulgar sells - to loud, tawdry, and vulgar of course... Back to Roman bread and spectacles. Or is it that they have never stopped?

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Tue, May 31 2022 07:48
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

Alas, yes it does seem we are reiterating the era of Roman bread and circuses, whereas I'm wishing we would get back into an evolutionary cultural line descended from the great storytelling art of the classical Greek didaskalos.

I see it as poetic justice to accelerate the process of this court case eventually becoming reshaped into a formally fictionalised, stylised and structured theatrical drama, given that one of the protagonists has sought to destroy the life of the other by weaponising her own Histrionic Personality Disorder as well as her 'professional acting skills'. She fully expected the world to believe her farcically coarse-acted diatribe without adversarial examination and question. She seems to believe that Tinseltown's theatrical trickery is a legitimate and blameless way of behaving in real life.

Some of her poppycock was easy to debunk, making a comedy of certain parts of the court case. Yet there is another, far darker side to her 'evidence', perhaps stemming from her Borderline Personality Disorder (hugely overlapping with Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorders - the so-called "Cluster-B Disorders"). And here lies the tragedic aspect of the destructive and perverting impact that mental disorders of this kind can have at any level in our communities, societies and cultures.

The evil that can arise from these particular disorders is all too often interpreted by uninvolved and uninformed people to be simply "accidentally ill-conceived or ill-judged" actions, perhaps forgiveable in view of the circumstances, and perhaps mitigated by hope that the perpetrator will reform or in some other way be redeemed from their "mistakes". But unfortunately for the world, these kinds of actions are neither accidents nor mistakes; nor is there any realistic, practical hope of the perpetrator becoming reformed. The idea of throwing the dead body of Ajax out of the city without a burial ceremony is more applicable here - or, as one trial lawyer recently put it: "I'd want to see her expunged from society."

The ancient Greek playwrights never mixed comedy and tragedy. Up to now, the current court case in question has been treated by the general public largely as a comedy. If I were to score a drama depicting a case of this kind, I'd be looking to mark particular moments of defamation and perjury with horrific revulsion; the tragedy I'd seek to show lies in our current failure to recognise the reptilian evil from which these cases of 'bloodless murder' arise.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
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