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Karaoke Kounterpoint: You Are Hereby Found Guilty of Crimes Against Humility 

Wednesday, Apr 29 2015
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Don't think St. Peter can't see you there on that stage. Don't think he can't hear you, despite the angels' seemingly endless choir practices and that lingering tinnitus leftover from Jericho. And don't think for a minute he will let you sneak past his ten Li'l Disciples — five curled up on his left fist, five more on the right — and march into the Kingdom of Heaven like you've done nothing wrong. No way, pal. Not after what you've done.

Because make no mistake, my friends: Karaoke is nothing less than musical murder.

Every night in countless clubs across the planet, people congregate to slaughter their favorite songs and then cheer the deed. Millions of innocent notes, ripped right out of their proper homes on the musical staff and brutally beaten to conform to a new regime. (You say "transposition"; we say "forced migration.") If the Geneva Convention had any teeth, these atrocity exhibitions would be outlawed before the CIA gets any bright ideas about giving bubbleheaded bachelorettes a microphone, a few free shots of Fernet, and a plane ticket to Guantanamo Bay in order to inflict their torturous renditions of Ke$ha on unsuspecting inmates.

The global implications of this allegedly "entertaining" practice are difficult to comprehend. Each song once belonged to the original musicians, who underwent a long and painful creative process in order to birth their cherished offspring into the world. But karaoke empowers faceless, inebriated mobs to take those babies and abuse them any way they see fit. Even just one night in a karaoke bar features enough butchery to make Game of Thrones' Red Wedding seem like a cuddle party. Taken cumulatively, it's an ongoing goddamn massacre.

Of course, the callousness with which songs are treated at these events reveals an utter disinterest in music itself. The average karaoke tome has approximately 1,673,968 beer-stained pages, each containing dozens of hummable classics, yet people still opt to sing "The Thong Song." The same rule that determines internet jukebox use applies here: Give people an infinite choice and they'll just inflict half the tracks from Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 46 upon the audience anyway. Expecting to hear good music at a karaoke club is like expecting the People's Choice Awards to start giving golden trophies to Death Grips or Diamanda Galás. You'd have better odds wagering your last paycheck on Beethoven headlining the next Coachella.

So if you value your everlasting soul, you'd better start atoning ASAP. Try writing your own damned song for once and then performing it in front of a sober coffeeshop crowd, preferably without so much reverb that NASA calls to complain that you're interfering with signals from the Hubble. Or, better yet, pay to see a hard-working professional musician while they still exist. You and your drunk buddies can howl your atonal versions of Journey tunes at the moon after society has collapsed.

Because when The End comes and you have to plead your case to St. Peter, you don't want karaoke to be the reason you get sent to Hell. We hear they don't even have Fernet down there.

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About The Author

John Graham


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