― dave q, Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:01 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:04 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:22 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:23 (10 years ago) Permalink
Bring their own backgrounds to bear, more like. I don't see eddy or reynolds *needing* to validate anything.
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:41 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Saturday, 9 November 2002 19:46 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 9 November 2002 20:38 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Saturday, 9 November 2002 21:57 (10 years ago) Permalink
I'll never understand the appeal of Chuck Eddy. I think the genrefuck aspects are sorta cool, but everybody knows he's bullshitting, right? Right? He is bullshitting, isn't he?
― J (Jay), Saturday, 9 November 2002 22:09 (10 years ago) Permalink
I was thinking about this on the train today -- that most of the punk kids I've known were all really into metal too, and the metal kids have had at least a working knowledge of punk. The big crossover bands for the punks are Motorhead, Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Crue, and Kiss. And the metal kids like the Misfits and the Ramones. And at that Arlene Grocery karaoke night, you've got people doing Guns 'n' Roses one week and Bad Brains the next. It's all rebellious and loud, so why not?
― Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 9 November 2002 22:10 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Saturday, 9 November 2002 22:29 (10 years ago) Permalink
Which is key. There's definitely an echo of that in the eternal pop/rock wars here on the boards, in that the pop-friendly crew goes "Listen to the sounds!" and those not so well disposed go "Ew POP! Begone with it. And they dress garishly too!"
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 9 November 2002 22:35 (10 years ago) Permalink
I think that when it comes to the things he "likes," "like" is a very big, nuanced word. He's not being ironic; he writes about music that fascinates him (whether it's in the music, the myth, the style of dress, part of a long-forgotten trend, part of a very popular trend, or just because it's some weird aberration that deserves notice/comment), and he likes those records because there are so many interesting things to say about them. I don't see Stairway as an endorsement of ANY of those records -- it's not necessarily a list of favorites, it's an excuse for him to flex his rockcrit muscle and make bad puns and draw great and unusual parallels.
― Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 9 November 2002 22:46 (10 years ago) Permalink
It's all rebellious and loud, so why not?
Main musical difference for me is that Punk tends to be fast, while Metal songs frequently pass the six minute barrier. Also, of course, Heavy Metal fans care about instrumental virtousity- i.e. "Dude, that guy can really play! Cool!" vs "Dude, that guy can't play AT ALL! Cool!" (which is not to say that one can't enjoy both, of course.)
There's definitely an echo of that in the eternal pop/rock wars here on the boards, in that the pop-friendly crew goes "Listen to the sounds!" and those not so well disposed go "Ew POP! Begone with it. And they dress garishly too!"
That seems to me a gross oversimplification of the points both parties make. Besides, if Pop fans only care about the sounds, why would artists bother to maintain any sort of image at all? Surely Xtina's long desent (or elevation, depending on how you choose to see it) into a raunchier image, as well as P!nk's transformation from R&B also-ran to angstful rockah have had a huge amount of discussion on ILM and elswhere. The dress code/image/myths around a performer are equally important to Pop and Rock fans (thing is, Rock fans aren't as keen on owning up to this)
― Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Saturday, 9 November 2002 23:13 (10 years ago) Permalink
Punk and metal don't differ in how they're good so much as how they suck. Punk bands and metal bands both rely on drama, humor, power and melody to be good. Punk bands aren't likely to suck by doing 18-minute shred solos though, and metal isn't likely to..... Hey somebody wanna think up a way punk can suck that metal can't? Both can pointlessly thrash away too fast or too slow. I'm at a loss.
― Anthony Miccio, Saturday, 9 November 2002 23:30 (10 years ago) Permalink
I admit I was pushing the comparison with those terms, but they're often the terms brought to the table when this whole thing comes up. There definitely seems to be a need for a new terminology...*thinks*...actually, this just gave me an idea of an article! :-) We'll see where that goes, though.
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 9 November 2002 23:35 (10 years ago) Permalink
― James Blount (James Blount), Saturday, 9 November 2002 23:39 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Saturday, 9 November 2002 23:59 (10 years ago) Permalink
Is this just a nice way of saying that he's wanking off?
I actually couldn't finish Stairway -- I got bored after the first hundred, slogged through the second hundred, and said "fuckit". There were bits that I thought were brilliant, but wading through the morass to get them was too much for me. And Kix is marginal buttrock at best.
― J (Jay), Sunday, 10 November 2002 00:18 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Sunday, 10 November 2002 00:38 (10 years ago) Permalink
The debates are really over "influence" -- for superword fetishists influence runs backwards and choses its heroes in the process of defining the genre (i.e. "the ultimate metal album doesn't yet exist, but if it did, it would take these elements from the past and put them together -- hey let's start a band like that!") while ce and sr to the extent they do this (which by no means is even the key and consistant strand in their work, i think) prefer to treat "influence" as the sum-total of as-then-defined social categories and their outlook as the ferment in which the new is born.
see also here where I talked some about SR's historical method.
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Sunday, 10 November 2002 00:54 (10 years ago) Permalink
Anybody know why SR thinks A.R. Kane is important (see his Spin Alternative Record Guide entry)? I don't want to assume its a Living Colour thing but I'm tempted. I bought 69 and Up Home megacheap based on his take and needless to say I was startled by the anonymous post-J&MC 4AD-ness waiting for me.
― Anthony Miccio, Sunday, 10 November 2002 01:00 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 10 November 2002 01:30 (10 years ago) Permalink
I think part of the point is that in the overall scheme of things, all contemporary Western pop music forms really share a lot of fundamental characteristics and have a lot of basic things in common. Especially when we get to two 'genres' like punk and metal which particularly often tend to share a lot in terms of instrumentation, use of that instrumentation (power chords, palm mutes, distortion), intended effect, attitude, ideology, and audience. One can classify pop music artists for various purposes based on whatever criteria one wants but it should be plain that artists with this much in common can also be classified or compared using other criteria depending on what one wants to look at. e.g. If extended song form and instrumental elaboration are the criteria we are using to classify artists, why not compare Yes, Sonic Youth, Tool, Public Image Ltd (who begin their most celebrated album with an 8-minute track) and Shellac with each other and compare System Of a Down (who barely even play guitar solos compared to Husker Du or Black Flag), The Clash, and Blue Cheer with each other? (OK, so I'm randomly choosing bands but you get the idea.) Why not try to compare the trilogy from Daydream Nation to "Hemispheres" (as bob snoom did, I think) or "Close To the Edge" - guitar rock extended to larger-scale compositional frameworks based on the contrast between the peaceful and threatening, between beatless and droney sections and rhythmically active sections with the instruments often used in similar ways - > e.g. arpeggiation contrasted with forceful strumming with repeated melodies - rather than to something by the Pixies or the Velvet Underground? (Or you could compare it to another trilogy like "Starship Trooper".) (By this point it should be clear that I'm a total fronter about both punk and metal and I'm just grabbing at the nearest artwank project I can find.) Why not compare the noise break in "Silver Rocket" with the one in "Rocket"? Why not see parallels between how Loverboy and Joy Division started to work disco elements into rock within 5 years or less of each other?
― sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 10 November 2002 04:20 (10 years ago) Permalink
― sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 10 November 2002 04:22 (10 years ago) Permalink
― sundar subramanian (sundar), Sunday, 10 November 2002 04:53 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Christopher, Sunday, 10 November 2002 06:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
― nathalie (nathalie), Sunday, 10 November 2002 08:57 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Sunday, 10 November 2002 10:45 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Sunday, 10 November 2002 11:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
― James Blount (James Blount), Sunday, 10 November 2002 11:09 (10 years ago) Permalink
"Nirvana is the biggest heap of crap I've ever seen. They should do alright, they've got that Black Sabbath sound down" - Mark E Smith
"It just feels like everyone's listening to fookin' Black Sabbath again"- Damon Albarn
― Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Sunday, 10 November 2002 13:38 (10 years ago) Permalink
Wow, I couldn't disagree more. First, I'm generally a PM fan, and complex wordplay is admired in my world. I once spent two hours dicussing one paragraph from Lacan's "Agency of the Letter," because although I couldn't figure out what it meant, I knew it meant *something important* (nb--it did). I dislike SR's made-up words because most of he time he hasn't bothered to make up any concepts for them to refer to--he's just doing bad puns. And then, when we do get both a word and concept (I'll be nasty and pick "post-rock"), it's something too silly to mention.
As for the Barthes, Kristeva, et al. . . . I think it's pretty superficial use. I'm sure that he knows more about French Poststructuralism than I do, but in "Energy Flash" his use of theory amounts to drop a name, add a primary concept without analysis, and move on. I'm far more impressed with, say, Mark Sinker's utter destruction of Jacques Attali, which demonstrates facility with (an admittedly silly, but fun) theory, or Greil Marcus's use of Debord in "Lipstick Traces."
― J (Jay), Sunday, 10 November 2002 14:11 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Siegbran (eofor), Sunday, 10 November 2002 14:46 (10 years ago) Permalink
Meta use is use!
A Superword is a controversy word, but not all controversy words are Superwords; for what makes a Superword really super is that some people use the word so that it will jettison adherents and go skipping on ahead of any possible embodiment. Like, no one and nothing is good enough to bear the word "punk," and I wouldn't join a band that would have someone like me as a member anyway. (Supposedly, in the late ’80s I once claimed that Michael Jackson and Axl Rose were the only two punks going at the time.) “Rock,” “pop,” “punk,” and many other genre names sometimes act as Superwords. So "punk" (for instance) can be an ideal, and every single song that aspires to be punk can fall short in someone's ears. But for the word to be super, not only must people disagree on the ideal, but some people must consciously or unconsciously keep changing what the word or ideal is supposed to designate so that the music is always inadequate to the ideal, even if the music would have been adequate to yesterday's version of the ideal. And the music then chases after this ever-changing ideal. Words bounce on ahead, and the music comes tumbling after.
Sterling's got a good handle on one way to work this mechanism. Another way is to put the ideal hopelessly and inaccessibly in the past: e.g., we realize that there's no way, even if we copy the notes and the look, that we could ever be what the Stooges were in '72 or Britney was in '99, so we try to be something that is different but equivalent.
I'm curious about the evolution of Tom Ewing's use of the word "pop"; I'm guessing - though I could be all wrong - that he'll sometimes, depending on the context, use "pop" to mean chart pop or something that sounds like it, whether it's good or not, while at other times he'll banish a song or band from "pop" for not being very good. And maybe Backstreet-Britney-*Nsync are initially pop simply for being teenybopper acts that charted, but by '01 they're no longer pop (again, depending on the conversation Tom's engaging in) because they're different from what they were in '99, and not as good. So pop is dead, and being dead, it's an idea without an embodiment, hence it's an ideal to be pursued, not just a form of music to be identified.
This thread has barely gotten warmed up (though, like all threads by the time I contribute to them, it's at death's door), because it has had very little discussion of social category. Come back, Nathalie, we need you. Chuck and Simon never lose sight of social category. And it's crucial to my idea of Superwords, since genre names would be neither controversy words nor Superwords if people didn't use them to differentiate themselves from each other. We differentiate from each other by using words differently (just as we differentiate by pronouncing words differently, by dressing differently, etc.), and we differentiate by categorizing each other as different. And we jigger the controversy words and the Superwords when we want to escape being identified with people who tend to be categorized as like us and when we want to be identified with people who tend to be categorized as unlike us.
(Slade, Dolls, Stooges, and Mott were all rejected by the metal fans [at least in the USA], maybe in part because the were all willing to play to get the glitter babes and the teenyboppers; these bands only became "metal" in retrospect, when the '80s glam-metal bands began looting their look and sound.)
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 11 November 2002 04:10 (10 years ago) Permalink
1. "Pop" meaning what is popular i.e. in the charts, roughly regardless of quality. Other words can override this because of meanings 2 and 3 operating on meaning 1, i.e. I'd sooner call MBV 'indie' or 'shoegaze' or something even if their record is in the chart because calling them 'pop' feels like a violation of meanings 2 and 3.
2. The specific current style of Pop(1) - in 1999 this was Britney, Christina, Backstreets - very compressed, melodramatic, hooky tracks with a dance base and R&B elements used as a production trick rather than to provide rhythm of image. This was the style that I suggested might be 'dead' in 2001 and has now been replaced by something similar but different thanks in part to the operation of meaning 4.
3. A personal ideal of mine, a kind of music which individual records and even periods of Pop(2) can live up to but which Pop(1) as a whole cannot. The shortfall between Pop(1) and Pop(3) gives following the charts its interest, in the same way that following a football team would eventually become tiresome if it won every match. Describing or trying to catch the nature of Pop(3) is my reason for writing.
4. A convenient name for one end of a continuum of images, stances, and actions relating to the presentation and production processes of an artist and their music. i.e. heavy marketing, major label support, not writing ones own music etc. Pop seen as inauthentic at the point of production. By using rock music or R&B tropes most of the new pop stars are shifting their position on this continuum (which I still think is kind of a losing strategy because the continuum was defined long ago and not by them). This meaning of Pop is one I seem to end up using a lot and rather wish I didn't because it leads me into very circular discussions - but on the other hand it seems, particularly at the moment, to have lots to do with how the music is being made, marketed and perceived.
― Tom (Groke), Monday, 11 November 2002 12:23 (10 years ago) Permalink
Has 'rock' lost its superword currency? Has it stopped being contested?
Sorry for the dumb questions. Also trying to map the model onto reggae, which seems to have an opposite thing going on, but I probably need to think about it some more.
― Tim (Tim), Monday, 11 November 2002 13:07 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 00:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 00:30 (10 years ago) Permalink
Is punk the apocalypse or the idealists built to survive it?
Just diferent ways of dealing with Whoa, This Shit Is Fucked Up, I always figured- "whoa, this shit is fucked up, aaaargh!" (Johnny Rotten), "whoa, this shit is fucked up, let's make it so damn cartoony that it loses its menace" (The Ramones), "whoa, this shit is fucked up, let's change it!" (The Clash)
― Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 01:27 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 01:40 (10 years ago) Permalink
(none of these are mutually exclusive.)
― jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 01:54 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 02:03 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 02:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 02:14 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:24 (10 years ago) Permalink
― jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:29 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:31 (10 years ago) Permalink
― jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:33 (10 years ago) Permalink
― jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:36 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:40 (10 years ago) Permalink
― jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:44 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:48 (10 years ago) Permalink
as i understand the superword concept (and if i'm misinterpreting then i'm merely freeing it from the tyranny of frank's fixed defn...haha "superword" is a superword), it's the exact UNreliability of the word itself which gives it its power. attempting to fix any defn to it is what stimulates the debate, arguments, pissing contests, whatever. to say that punk "takes shit as fucked up" is to affix a defn to punk is taking PART in the superword idea, but fairly useless in deconstructing/understanding the idea of the concept itself. likewise, me calling beenie man or the klf punks (which i wholly believe btw) is another way to take part in the superword idea, but again, fairly useless in defining the concept, which slips in and around artists/scenes/sounds with frustrating (or wonderful, depending on yr take) ease.
― jess (dubplatestyle), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:56 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 19:02 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 19:03 (10 years ago) Permalink
For what it's worth I'm listening to the Poison Girls right now and they're one of the best punk groups ever from what I'm thinking, and half the songs are gentle ballads sung by a woman who rivals Marianne Faithful for general expression!
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 19:06 (10 years ago) Permalink
I've never heard the Poison Girls, but you say they're punk from what you're thinking. Well, you must be thinking something that we can comprehend and you feel is a viable definition of punk or else you wouldn't have said that word to us.
So yeah, I can see why the KLF are punk conceptually (they poop on rules and all that). But the point remains that there's good reason to attempt to define punk, otherwise it would be worthless superword to throw around. Superword means we debate, not that there's no answers.
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 19:36 (10 years ago) Permalink
It's certainly contextual (friends/labelmates of Crass, noted anarchists, etc.). But then again Crass themselves tried all sorts of styles and approaches under the rubric and anarchism doesn't have to mean sounding like the Sex Pistols (or whoever).
Superwords are fun (hey! that word!) to throw around. That's why I'm bemused by the fact that apparently Avril Lavigne is hated because she claims she's punk. Is that really a reason to hate?
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 19:47 (10 years ago) Permalink
Actually, wait. When I was 18 I was a bitter music-nazi who would have hated her punk co-option and been trying to make myself like free jazz. I was so stupid then.
― Anthony Miccio, Tuesday, 12 November 2002 19:51 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 20:12 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 12 November 2002 21:40 (10 years ago) Permalink
This thread still hasn't gotten into social category.
So here goes. There are two types of people in the world, Pseudointellectuals and Real Intellectuals. Pseudointellectuals talk about Chuck Eddy's motives, while Real Intellectuals talk about Chuck Eddy's ideas. OK, I'm being rough, and Jody and Dave Q probably will talk about both. And I certainly don't think that discussion of motives should be taken off the intellectual table. But come on. Most people who talk about Chuck's motives do so as a way of evading his ideas. [More to come.]
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 18 November 2002 08:59 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Monday, 18 November 2002 15:57 (10 years ago) Permalink
― J (Jay), Monday, 18 November 2002 19:14 (10 years ago) Permalink
As far as social category goes though, I'm usually not comfortable with them. People who define themselves as part of a group usually feel the need to live up to some outside standard, and therefore might ignore their personal tastes. The only times I don't flinch are when people say it with some humor (i.e., "oh god, look at my record collection. I am SO emo.") or when their definition is rather broad. I know we all do it, but it's dangerous to get hung up on it. I think most of the time Chuck uses it to explain why people's tastes get messed up.
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 00:40 (10 years ago) Permalink
wittgenstenisms flounder like lenored blouses in a warm breeze
but i like this superword thing
― a-33 (CDT GCSE only), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 01:10 (10 years ago) Permalink
Anthony this is the worst thing I have ever heard you say. Mainly because it is philosophically either indefensible or trivial depending on how you approach it. What does it mean for a person to have taste except as it relates to the taste of others? Furthermore, who here doesn't need to live up to some outside standard (many, usually)? I wear nice clothes to work and speak to people in a certain way and address friends a different way and cut my hair so I look fresh and etc.
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 06:32 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 07:35 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 07:39 (10 years ago) Permalink
― dave q, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 07:46 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Yancey (ystrickler), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 15:49 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:05 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ben Williams, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:06 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:23 (10 years ago) Permalink
― mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:35 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:44 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:44 (10 years ago) Permalink
― mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Ben Williams, Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:50 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:52 (10 years ago) Permalink
― mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 16:56 (10 years ago) Permalink
I mean, we can safely assume indie rock is not a pastry or an interesting new way to whittle. There for the definition of indie rock must exist, lest people think we're talking about pastries. However, if someone thinks ECM is indie-rock, there's logic to it. And if somebody is trying to say "Britney" is indie for some god-unknown reason, there might be logic to that too. But since no logic would define Millard Fillmore as "indie rock" we can assume the definition of Indie Rock would exclude Millard Fillmore.
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:07 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:08 (10 years ago) Permalink
If there were no social categories, then everyone wouldn't all be individuals, rather we would all be the same, or at least unable to distinguish if we were individuals.
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:14 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:16 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:17 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Yancey (ystrickler), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:20 (10 years ago) Permalink
they can't be punker than the punkest punk cz that's me
― mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:22 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 17:24 (10 years ago) Permalink
I blame Dick Hebdige.
― Ben Williams, Thursday, 28 November 2002 13:52 (10 years ago) Permalink
Movie critics don't make value judgments based on the audience's class/ethnicity/gender.
Yes they do - well, change "based on" to "taking into account," and they do. They may not be aware of it, though. Maybe they're not as thoughtful as music critics. (Should probably change that to "maybe they're even more thoughtless than music critics.") But smart movie critics like Otis Ferguson and Manny Farber and Andrew Sarris didn't ignore the relation between taste and social category.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Thursday, 26 December 2002 05:22 (10 years ago) Permalink
I don't dislike social category as an issue. I do think it tends to be deployed in somewhat kneejerk fashion in music criticism. To wit: what the "working class" like (or rather are presumed to like) is usually valorized as good, real and authentic (because it questions and/or unmasks society's status quo through some combination of primitivism and montage effects), and what the "middle class" like (or rather are presumed to like) is usually dismissed as bad, fake and inauthentic (because it upholds the status quo through some combination of "lightness" and holistic investment in "quality"). Often class is invoked as a guarantor of value in itself; the question of who exactly constitutes the classes in question is rarely examined, or indeed whether there are any other classes besides this convenient binary. I mentioned Dick Hebdige because he created what has proven to be a very durable paradigm along these lines, one that still holds conscious or unconscious sway over British music critics (but not at all among Americans) who did a bit of Cult Studs at some point in their lives...
I haven't read Otis Ferguson and Manny Farber. I do read Andrew Sarris in the Observer, and can't say I've ever noticed social category playing much of a role in his work. But I'm not familiar with anything like its entirety. I'm not so well versed in movie criticism in general, but I've read a fair bit and issues of class just don't seem to be nearly as prevalent--although it might be fair to say that the difference between taking class into account and basing judgements on it is exactly what I was thinking of...
I think there's actually a simple reason why music critics tend to be more concerned with social category than movie critics (if you'll allow me to maintain that for a moment longer), which is that music is used much more as a marker of personal identity than movies are. Kids (other than movie geeks) don't get into fights at school over tribal identification with Spielberg vs. Scorcese.
I just wish the treatment was bit more sophisticated sometimes...
― Ben Williams, Thursday, 26 December 2002 20:08 (10 years ago) Permalink
The best Ferguson is the out-of-print Film Criticism of Otis Ferguson, rather than the in-print Otis Ferguson Reader. The classic (and only, as far as I know) Farber collection is Negative Space, also called Movies. My complaint - "wouldn't play what they couldn't justify" - is one that Ferguson and Farber would recognize very well.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Thursday, 26 December 2002 22:09 (10 years ago) Permalink
Tim, did you ever do this, ever make your map? Did you post it?
Well, in regards to social category and punk, here's a big one. Is punk the apocalypse or the idealists built to survive it? Iggy Pop or Jello Biafra? Johnny Rotten or Ian MacKaye? If the interview from Popped still stands, then Kogan would vote for the nihilists. But Joe Strummer said in SPIN that nobody's punker than Fugazi, so there's one strong vote for the other side. Since I personally prefer broad definitions, I tend to think of punk basically means someone ACTIVELY outside of the mainstream who takes pride in the middle finger and/or the electric guitar.
But Anthony, to be actively outside the mainstream is such a mainstream ideal. "Middle finger" and "electric guitar" are hardly relegated to the fringes. Johnny Rotten comes from the main stream of modern life more than Celine Dion does. Iggy declared himself the mainstream in his very first stanza. It's 1969, OK, all across the USA, another year for me and you, another year with nothing to do. So here we are. I speak for you whether you listen or not. In every single person is a Slim Shady lurkin'. He could be workin' at Burger King, spittin' on your onion rings, or outside in the parking lot, circling, screaming "I don't give a fuck," with his windows down and his system up. So will the real Shady please stand up and put one of those fingers on each hand up and be proud to be out of your mind and out of control, and one more time, loud as you can, how does it go? But notice how you split up against yourself, how your inner Shady is spitting on your own onions, and anyway, I'm the real Slim Shady, and all you other Shadies are just imitating. I was Johnny Rotten before Johnny Rotten was. No one does Kogan like Kogan. So:
Both, both, both at once, each against the other, each embracing the other. Punk is (among many other things) the conflict between the apocalypse and the survivors. And this conflict can be within a person as well as between people. This is what Tracer is getting at, I think. Iggy and Johnny are idealists, not nihilists. The distinction you should be going for is between two different ways of using ideals: (1) To hold the ideal up against a world in order to keep prodding that world, tearing at it; the ideal is a Memphis that you can never get to, a Johanna that you can never have, but you use 'em to prod and pummel poor Mobile and Louise, because you like to pummel and tear, even or especially if you yourself are the one being torn; turn around bitch, I've got a use for you. Come and be my enemy, so I can love you too. Besides, you've got nothing better to do, and I'm bored. (2) As a practical guide for creating and correcting an ongoing structure (such as ILx) in which interesting people can pummel and tear and bond with each other.
(I developed the concept Superword to explain Dylan's "Memphis Blues Again" and "Visions of Johanna," took it from there to genre.) (Movie double bill: From Here to Eternity and From There to Genre.)
(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Farewell to Arms.)
See, I would say you need a DAMN wide net to harness a superword, but if it literally meant ANYTHING, than why would you say it at all?
Anthony, you're running off the rails here, and also changing the subject, since no one said that it could mean anything. You don't need a harness and net to constrain a dolphin from flying to the moon.
punk rock /= punk
Don't know if you mean (1) that "punk rock" and "punk" are different concepts ("Yum, that chocolate eclair à la dead squirrel is so punk rock." "No, it's merely punk") or (2) that punk rock isn't very punk, or isn't punk enough, or isn't as punk as some other things. Would you elaborate?
Please remember I think that a definition of a superword must be extremely broad. I mean, we can safely assume indie rock is not a pastry or an interesting new way to whittle. Therefore the definition of indie rock must exist, lest people think we're talking about pastries.
They won't no matter what, since they know that pastries are punk rock, not indie. And "definition" isn't the word you're looking for. "Meaning," perhaps? But you're wrong no matter what word you use (see floundering W's below). But even if you were right, I don't see that you're addressing the topic at hand. For instance, if I differentiate myself by saying "Michael Jackson is punk but the Gang of Four aren't," it's simply beside the point for you to say, "But very broadly speaking, you and the Gang of Four fan mean enough of the same thing by 'punk' to prevent either of you from mistaking it for tuna fish." I'm sure that I and the Gang of Four fan have lots in common - otherwise, I wouldn't be trying to distinguish myself from him! - but what's at issue is where he and I disagree. And I'm arguing that if we didn't disagree on how to apply "punk rock," the term would be much less useful.
(Those teacher's pets in Gang of Four ask, "Is this so private, our struggle in the bedroom?" I don't know, is it? Listen to "Billie Jean" and "Dirty Diana" and find out. Or "Under My Thumb" and "Back Street Girl.")
wittgensteinisms flounder like lenored blouses in a warm breeze.
I'll stop imitating. Here's the real Slim Wittgy:
Imagine someone's saying: "All tools serve to modify something. Thus the hammer modifies the position of the nail, the saw the shape of the board, and so on." - And what is modified by the rule, the glue-pot, the nails? - "Our knowledge of a thing's length, the temperature of the glue, and the solidity of the box." - Would anything be gained by this assimilation of expressions?
Consider for example the proceedings we call "games." I mean board-games, card-games, ball-games, Olympic games, and so on. What is common to them all? - Don't say: "There must be something common, or they would not be called 'games'" - but look and see whether there is anything common to all. - For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don't think, but look! - Look for example at board-games, with their multifarious relationships. Now pass to card-games; here you find many correspondences to the first group, but many common features drop out, and others appear. When we pass next to ball-games, much that is common is retained, but much is lost. - Are they all "amusing"? Compare chess with noughts and crosses. Or is there always winning and losing, or competition between players? Think of patience. In ball games there is winning and losing; but when a child throws his ball at the wall and catches it again, this feature has disappeared. Look at the parts played by skill and luck; and at the difference between skill in chess and skill in tennis. Think now of games like ring-a-ring-a-roses; here is the element of amusement, but how many other characteristic features have disappeared! And we can go through the many, many other groups of games in the same way; can see how similarities crop up and disappear.
And the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail.
But if someone wished to say: "There is something common to all these constructions - namely the disjunction of their common properties" - I should reply: Now you are only playing with words. One might as well say: "Something runs through the whole thread - namely the continuous overlapping of those fibres."
For how is the concept of a game bounded? What still counts as a game and what no longer does? Can you give the boundary? No. You can draw one; for none so far has been drawn. (But that never troubled you before when you used the word "game.")
"But then the use of the word is unregulated, the 'game' we play with it is unregulated." - It is not everywhere circumscribed by rules; but no more are there any rules for how high one throws the ball in tennis, or how hard; yet tennis is a game for all that and has rules too.
I've quoted all these for Anthony's benefit, since they ought to take care of his concerns, unless he's pathologically addicted to the Problem Of Universals. But as Wittgenstein himself would have pointed out, the ideas I've just quoted don't have any consequences one way or the other for how you yourself might use the words "tool" and "game," don't argue for preserving standard usage or modifying it. And they don't speak at all to my point, which is that standard usage of a term like "punk rock" includes our disagreeing over its usage, and that such disagreements are a creative, constructive, normal, everyday use of language. They're not a flaw, not a problem to be stopped. Agreement doesn't have to be the goal. (Check the Sociology of Pop thread, where I make a similar point about value judgments in general, not just about Superwords.)
[More to come. Ha!]
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Saturday, 11 January 2003 03:14 (10 years ago) Permalink
Have you encountered my relating of superword to supersounds theory cf. Reynolds on the "Amen" break in Energy Flash? I forgot where I posted it.
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Saturday, 11 January 2003 04:15 (10 years ago) Permalink
It's been so long since I read this thread that I can't really remember what's being argued though.
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 11 January 2003 17:32 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Don Allred, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:12 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Don Allred, Tuesday, 14 January 2003 02:21 (10 years ago) Permalink
Protestant Ethic = through the grace of God, if you're one of the elect, your actions, including your leisure-time pursuits, will serve a useful social and moral purpose.
rebel boys on the streets = the electundermining the capitalist system = serving a useful social and moral purpose
By the way, I have nothing against art or Frank serving useful social and moral purposes. I just don't like the clampdown that comes into effect when "serving a social and moral purpose" is tied to a vision in which (1) the capitalist world is fundamentally corrupt and all-engulfing (= puritan conception that worldliness is fundamentally corrupt); (2) if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, so if you're not actively undermining capitalism, you're reinforcing it; (3) since your actions should serve a useful social and moral purpose, and since your actions - every single one of them - either undermine or reinforce capitalism, you should endeavor to make all your actions undermine capitalism; so (4) these people wouldn't play what they couldn't justify, and they have to justify their playtime and that of the people they champion by saying it undermines capitalism. So if some gutter punks are getting fucked up and going wild, and this rocks, by golly it better undermine capitalism too.
However, in r'n'r, the Protestant Ethic isn't so much the committed leftist's attempt to undermine capitalism as it is the hipster-freak-punk's attempt to maintain his vision of himself as outside of the mainstream; the ethic in full effect tells him that any action moves you either towards or away from the mainstream. Of course, not all punks buy into this (as a matter of fact, before punk became a movement, one thing that distinguished proto-punk-types from the freaks was that the punks didn't buy into the counterculture's vision of itself as a counterculture; but that was back in the days when punk = intelligent), just as not all leftists buy into the idea of capitalism as an all-engulfing system, or the idea that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.
The r'n'r Prot Ethic has interesting permutations: e.g. a full-time sex-drugs-and-r'n'r funster is still a puritan (undermining the prot ethic = serving a useful social and moral purpose); if he's attempting to purify rock'n'roll, cure it of its social pretensions and make it full fun like in the nonexistent good old days, he's still only playing what he can justify, even if he's flip-flopped the terms so that full-time morality = seven-day weekend.
A little bit of Prot Ethic is better than none, I think; it can be useful for pushing words into Superwords. If to be a freak or a punk you have to be outside of society, then "freak" and "punk" will always keep slipping from your grasp, will dart on ahead while you try to chase them. Any and every freak/punk will potentially fall short, will always be playing catch-up.
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Monday, 10 February 2003 17:20 (10 years ago) Permalink
― mark s (mark s), Monday, 10 February 2003 17:29 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Luc S., Monday, 10 February 2003 19:33 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Cozen (Cozen), Monday, 10 February 2003 21:56 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Don Allred, Tuesday, 11 February 2003 03:26 (10 years ago) Permalink
― Frank Kogan (Frank Kogan), Tuesday, 9 May 2006 16:24 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Cee Bee (Cee Bee), Tuesday, 9 May 2006 16:45 (7 years ago) Permalink