November 11, 2003
Good staff meeting this morning talking about the tone of the magazine and what is integrity and what is mainstream and what do our readers really want. I brought in some recent media examples that are thought provoking. Most of it has to do with the moving of what is called the “mainstream.”
For example, yesterday, one of the head guys at the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo came into my office and was telling me about their challenges. Attendance had been down and one of the things they are doing that is successful is during the rough stock portion of the rodeo (bucking horses and bulls) they are playing heavy metal music, like AC/DC and Van Halen. He told me the old cowboys and traditionalists hate it, but the kids really respond to it, and it has reversed the trend and has put more “butts in the seats.” I laughed and said, “What’s next, Hip Hop?” and he replied, “Over my dead body,” and I said, “I’ll bet twenty years ago if you told the guy who was in your position that you wanted to play “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC within a half mile of the rodeo grounds, he’d have said the same thing.” He laughed, but it’s true. So much of what used to be considered the edge, or the fringe, is now mainstream.
Another example is in today’s Republic there is a full-page ad for Orange County Choppers apparel. You know biker “hoodies” shirts and tees, featuring rough looking, dangerous Hells Angels’ types. No big deal, except the ad is for Dillard’s department stores! And, according to Robert Ray’s wife, Bea, who designed the ad, they have sold out of the entire stock. At Dillards!
I could go on, but what, you may ask, does this have to do with True West? Plenty. Change is optional because survival is not mandatory. Or, something like that.
”You can teach an elephant to dance, but the likelihood of its stepping on your toes is very high.”
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