POP CULTUREnAdverpop Rocknby Gary S. VasilashnDoctors are prohibited from hawkingnproducts in television commercials.nIt’s a question of ethics. So,nsince the real ones can’t do it, stand-insnare asked to fill the prescription. MarcusnWelby was never jumpy — and probablynwouldn’t have been even if he hadnaccidentally reversed the electric paddlesnused to jump-start a heart—sonRobert Young became a very appropriatenshill for Sanka. Then there are thosencharacters from General Hospital,ngood-featured robots one and all, whonpush analgesics while wearing whitenlab coats, and admitting, “I’m not andoctor,” a confession that undoubtedlynresults in heads shaken in disbelief inntrailer parks across the land. There is ansense that doctors belong to a highernorder, some belief they are apart fromnmere mortals that, perhaps, justifiesnour baring all to them.nJust as people might feel let down ifnreal doctors were able to endorsencough syrup, there is an entire generationnthat feels a certain amount ofndismay — not quite throwing themndown to the cellar of their souls, but atnleast to the lower level of a tri-levelnhouse in the suburbs — every timenthey turn on a TV set and hear and/ornsee (a) one of the songs they grew upnwith being used to push fabric softenernor toothpaste; (b) a maker of that musicncrooning on behalf of a brewer. It’s likenturning on the set and seeing a priestnpushing the services of a post-Freudiannpsychologist. Formative experiencesnare suddenly put on par with dandruffnshampoo.nSteve Winwood, the man who isncertainly becoming the Crazy Eddie ofnupscale advertising, recently told RollingnStone that he thinks there is nonproblem with his musical trafficking innMichelob. He said that he is an “entertainer,”nand as such, it’s his role simplynto get his music to as large an audiencenas possible. No, Stevie, no! EngelbertnHumperdinck is an entertainer. You’renmore than that . . . aren’t you? Thenanswer to that question is yes: he’s anpragmatist and a person who is honestn— to a far greater degree than mostnpeople are in public — about the musicnbusiness of today. I suspect that if BarrynManilow, who was relentlessly pilloriednfor having been a jingle writer, were tonstart his career today, his record salesnwould be exceeded only by the volumenof admiration that the likes ofnWinwood would have for him. Itnwould have been Manilow as the Master,nnot the Schlockmeister. He mustnfeel pangs when he hears ArethanFranklin crooning for Chevy and TargetnDepartment Store; he must havenexperienced deja vu like a jackhammernduring the Super Bowl when the songnCeorge Michael wrote and performednfor Diet Coke was played.nThe dismay that people feel uponnhearing their favorite tunes being usednto sell comes about not only becausenthey may have had a profound (e.g.,nbackseat-of-a-Pontiac-Catalina) experiencenwhile the music was playing, butnbecause there was, and is, a belief thatnthe songwriter/performer (alwaysnimagined to be one in the same) wasnan artist, a poet. This notion was based,nin part, on the personas of the musiciansnthemselves, at least in the 1960’s.nThese people presented themselves asnbeing far more enlightened than thenordinary mortal on the other side of thentransistor radio. This stance is not onlynevident in the Lennon comment aboutnthe Beatles’ popularity exceeding thatnof Christ, which inferentially put thenFab Four above the Trinity, but in JimnMorrison’s posturing as a shaman. Itnwas the 19th-century Romantic conceptnof the artist as an enlightenednone — a visionary like Blake — revisited.nAs the 60’s gave way to the 70’s, thisncharacterization of rock “artist” wasngiven further legitimacy by the inclu­nnnsion of lyrics by Paul Simon, BobnDylan, and others in secondary literaturentexts. Isn’t “I Am a Rock” simplynJohn Donne brought up to date?nAlthough the operative term in then80’s has been “star,” at least until thenrise of performers like Tracy Chapman,nSuzanne Vega, and Michelle Shocked,nall of whom barken back to the Simon/nDylan tradition, the official appellationnfor someone who puts music on a tapenand stage for a company is “recordingnartist,” as in an announcement for angroup, “Band X, WEA recording artists,nwill appear …” The term artist isnused not so much to signify creativitynas commodity.nRecently, while walking through annonpublic area at the North AmericannInternational Show in Detroit, I saw ansign outside a room that read “ChryslernTalent.” The sign didn’t refer tonChrysler Chairman Lee lacocca, nornto its president Gerald Greenwald, butnto the men and mainly women whonperformed in and around the automobilesnon the Chrysler displays. Thenmeaning of the word talent on the signndidn’t refer to the individuals’ abilitiesnand aptitudes; rather, the term had angeneric connotation, more akin tonsomething like beef. And that’s, essentially,nhow the term artist is used whennmodified by the word recording.nWhile many people would like tonimagine that rock singers are slittingnopen veins and revealing their soulsnthrough their music, most are actuallynturning out packaged items that are notnwholly unlike those served up bynMcDonald’s — at least if they arenlucky.nThe original rebels of rock, peoplenlike Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend,nhave certainly become homogenized,nif not fully curdled, as was evident atnthis year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fameninduction ceremony. Jagger commented,n”It’s ironic you’re seeing us on ourngood behavior when we’re being honorednfor 25 years of bad behavior.”nThe graying Peter Pan was being somentwenty years generous with the Stones’nalleged notoriety. It’s difficult to skewernthe bourgeoisie when you need anSWT team of accountants to calculatenand protect your annual income.nMeanwhile, Townshend, whose increasingnforehead glistened with beadsnof righteous perspiration, talked aboutnthe possibility of The Who gettingnAUGUST 1989/47n