Haven't read Spies' piece yet, but, as a certifiable Old Guy, I'm sympathetic. It strikes me that your commentary crosses the same territory as his lament, but at a totally different altitude, IOW you're largely missing the point.
Let me try to illustrate by taking a few sentences you wrote and changing a few words:
"to understand any given woman, is it not useful to have access to the women born before and after her by her parents, the girlfriends that influenced her, and those that she influenced? Or what about all the women born the same year, or attending the same schools, or living in the same town? Those complex relationships of the totality of the female sex."
If the goal is an intimate, and, yes, romantic relationship with music, all the other music surrounding—by whatever criteria—a given piece may be of interest, or it may be quite irrelevant (Pandora's hit ratio just isn't that high for me). I never did an analysis of my girlfriends' siblings or sorority sisters to help me decide whether to fall in love with them. That's the point you're missing. Besides, who has time to do all the exploration you advocate? It's the old story: do you like things a mile wide and an inch deep, or would you like to choose a few things—by whatever idiosyncratic, quixotic, and maybe even just plain random processes work for you—to give your heart to. "Abundance" may have its merits, but it ain't the whole story.
If you can't see this, then I submit you're being willfully blind in the service of your ideology.
Anyone going to argue that the depiction of smoking as suave and sophisticated in the movies was not responsible for inducing millions of people to smoke? This has to be the biggest triumph of product placement ever.
Also, product placement has been embraced as a solution to the "Tivo problem" of people skipping commercials.
I have greatly cut back on moviegoing because of the rapacious ticket prices, the absurdly rapacious snack bar prices, and the fact that I'm forced to watch 15-20 minutes of commercials before the feature starts.
Fortunately, the theater in the small town where I live hasn't adopted these practices, so I patronize them and forgo the big movie houses. Who needs it?
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