The Lefsetz Music analysis letter had taken a fairly roboust view of the Cartel stunt (they're the band making a record in a big bubble). Despite the claims that they'd only have "limited" contact with outside world, singer Will Pugh has responded with a very, very long justification:
This marketing scheme shows the world that we are a real band with real inspiration and real songs. Not some american idol winner or a label lottery contestant. People get to see us do what we do under intense pressure and scrutiny and still hit a fucking grand slam while in the meantime people in your position are hating like there’s no tomorrow on a band that they know little to nothing about.
No, Will, it doesn't show you to be anything of the sort - because, at the end of the stunt, you're going to be "the bubble band boys". Whatever else you do. You may be great artists, but when desire for fame persuades you to put on a silly wig, a pair of outsized comedy glasses and repeat catchphrases, that's what you become. That's what you are now.
Pugh then goes on to have a go at what I suspect only severe self control spared him from labeling "h8ers and hipsters":
Although the time sits heavily on his hands, he hasn't found time to think this through: "every legendary artist is the most popular at what they do" - really? So, then, Eric Clapton isn't a legend, as he's sold fewer records than McCartney? And someone like Ivor Cutler doesn't count as a legend at all on this scale because he's not sold many records. We've argued before that simply selling records doesn't really mean that you're the best liked artist - it just means that you're quite liked by a lot of people; it certainly is no guarantor of quality or of depth of inspiration you provide to others. A simple glance at the charts any week should have alerted Pugh to this fact.
Ah, but he has a rejoinder:
Well, I might not have made any records. But neither have I pissed away weeks of my life like some Victorian fairground curiosity in a big bubble making a record.
What Cartel are doing is not about trying to make a recording which will resonate with people; they're trying to sell records. It's possibly no less a noble aim, but Mr. Pugh, you are making an exhibition of yourself in the name of commerce, not art.