Last week I delved into the bluegrass analogy, which when used properly (adhering strictly to state and local guidelines on bluegrass analogy use), can be used as a method of explaining various things to bluegrass musicians and fans who might just tune you out otherwise. I figured I had offered just enough examples to keep the eager Bluegrass Today readership satisfied, but oh no! Apparently it is now my duty to provide bluegrass analogies for everything from the homogenization of milk to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (“the Roy Lee Centers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire”).
It’s as if I had just finished pouring my heart and soul into a new album, and one week after the release date, people start asking when the follow-up is coming out.
You see? Once you start bluegrass analogizing, you just can’t stop. It’s like playing Reuben in a jam session with five banjo players in it.
I won’t make make any promises, but I’ll do what I can.
First, to dispense with the milk one: homogenization of milk is like when you’re mixing a record, and instead of having the banjo panned all the way to the left, and the mandolin to the right, you blend them together somewhat, creating a more coherent and less separated sound. It sounds good, but you can abandon your plans of skimming off the mandolin part to make butter.
The formation of tornadoes, which results from the collision of cold and warm air in which the warm air twists into a rotating funnel cloud:
It’s like two very different bands are playing back-to-back at a festival, say, Junior Sisk and Railroad Earth. They draw very different crowds that overlap with each other as one band takes the stage and the other leaves. Some tension develops between a few of the fans, and a fight breaks out, gradually involving more people in a random pattern, eventually doing damage to property, including the rolling of a few RVs. Some festival thrill-seekers unwisely try to get close to the conflict to take pictures. Sometimes they’re killed.
The stock market, or how companies use publicly-traded stock to capitalize and expand their business:
It’s like using crowd-sourcing to fund your album. The money put in by fans of an artist is used to finance the cost of recording and producing a new album. In the same way that investors in a company’s stock receive financial rewards when the company’s profits grow, a fan who invests money in the recording project will receive a signed T-shirt, coffee mug, or special seating at the artist’s next show (on the stage just behind the bass player). At least they’ll get a CD. Or not. Sometimes people who invest in the stock market don’t get anything either.
The electoral college:
It would be as if the IBMA awards were determined not by the votes of the general membership, but by different constituencies within the IBMA, like the Artists and Composers, each with a different number of “supervotes,” determined by the number of representatives each constituency has on the board of directors. Members’ votes within each region are tallied and the supervotes are awarded based on a winner-take-all system. Because it’s possible for some constituencies to be won by wider or narrower margins than others, a majority of the supervotes may not correspond to a majority of general members’ votes, occasionally resulting in, for example, the Entertainer of the Year award going to someone who didn’t receive the most votes. This makes the nominee who did receive the most votes more than a little sore about it.
This system was devised so we could have fun explaining it to people from other organizations who have no earthly idea what we’re doing. Now that I’ve explained it that way, I’m not sure I understand it either. However, I do know that the Merchandisers and Luthiers constituency is always considered a “swing group” leading publicists to spend most of their time working on them during the awards voting season.
Parasites are like musicians within a band, who, though they seem to be musically competent, exist only for their own benefit, and gradually suck the creative lifeblood out of the group, almost enough to kill it, but not quite. Through the life-cycle of their time in the band, they manage to make all other band members weak, listless, and generally unhappy. No one wants to work up new material and tempos start to drag. Meanwhile the one destructive member keeps gaining weight, grinning evilly, and humming Oh Death to himself. The replacement of this musician before this debilitating effect spreads is the equivalent of a band worming.
Please make me stop doing this. It’s like singing all the verses to . . . never mind.