Could you describe your involvement in the 1984 presidential campaign?
I spoke for Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro and for the good guys running against the bad guys in North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, and Michigan. Campaigning was especially depressing on college campuses. I cared more about abortion rights than my audience of students who were fucking each other day and night and taking for granted that they would never have any trouble getting an abortion. I cared more about whether their generation was going to suffer another Vietnam in Central America—although, as I told them, I wouldn’t be one of the Americans sent to die there, those Americans would come from their generation. A lot of well-fed, well-dressed, career-oriented young people smiled back at me with a kind of what’s-he-worried-about? look on their faces. At the New School once some wit in the audience hollered out to me when I was talking about The Cider House Rules. The subject was migrant workers and the period in the late 1950s when I worked in the orchards with black apple pickers from the South, and I was saying that not much had changed for the migrants since then and that I felt great sympathy for poor people as a kid and I always wanted to write about them as truthfully as I could. And this jerk in the audience pipes up: “Will the migrants read it?” And there’s a small chant from about two or three of his pals saying “Yeah!” And raised fists; shouts. I don’t know exactly what their point was but they seemed to think they had made one—possibly, the migrants won’t read it, therefore so what? Of course, if you know the book, you know that’s one of my points about the migrants: They can’t read! Anyway, I thought it was funny, and bewildering, and typical.
People are angry—politically—and the last people they see as helping a political or just plain social situation are the artists and writers and intellectuals. And as a group we have been of next to no help in this country. Every administration thinks we’re silly, not to be counted, and in the popular media, intellectuals and artists are always cast as totally unreliable and selfish people, as flakes and phonies and wimps altogether out of touch with the common man. Some problem, wouldn’t you agree? I have an instinct for victims; that’s all I can tell you. I see who gets hurt and I describe it. Do people like to see themselves as victims, or to hear about victims? In my experience, no.
“Alfred Soto: I’m in the minority regarding Red: Shellback and Max Martin’s insistent electrohooks pounded Swift’s lyrics into meat sauce. Of course it was her decision — these were her songs. But if she wanted to record her First Pop Album, then she needed collaborators who know how to record horns and write horn lines that didn’t sound like rhythm guitar jabs. A “Happy” knockoff — great! The world needs another joyless ode performed by human resources administrators. Compressed, obvious, even desperate, “Shake It Off” is unworthy of the Mariah Carey song of the same name, of the added Jonas Bros cheer “Pom Pom.” Not unworthy of Swift — like I said, she wanted to record this shit, and she has Red in her discography. Worthy of Genesis though.
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off (The Singles Jukebox)
Still, there hasn’t been a clear definition of rockism, and I’d like to propose one—a very narrow one, to keep its meaning from bleeding too far out. Rockism, let’s say, is treating rock as normative. In the rockist view, rock is the standard state of popular music: the kind to which everything else is compared, explicitly or implicitly. So, for instance, it’s a rockist opinion that pre-stereo-era blues and country are interesting less in their own right than because they anticipated rock, or that Run-D.M.C. and Alison Krauss are notable because their virtues are also the virtues of rock, or that Ciara’s Goodies isn’t interesting because it fails to act like rock.
… Most of all, rockism is programmed into the way people write about music. The basic DNA of popular-music criticism came from the people who wrote for Rolling Stone and Creem in the ’60s and ’70s. They were the first to write about pop interestingly and at length; they loved rock of that pop-historical moment’s Beatles/Stones/Dylan school more than anything else; and their language and perspective and taste have been internalized by pretty much everybody who’s followed them, even people who’ve never actually read their stuff. That’s the foundation for our house. Note, for instance, that anybody who writes about popular music is a “rock critic.”
Is rockism a bad thing? Well, yeah, it is, and nobody’s free of it; I’m sure not. But it’s pernicious because it makes it harder to understand any other kind of music on its own terms, and it chains both artists and their audience to an ideal rooted in a particular moment of the past, in which a gifted lyricist is by default a “new Dylan” (not a new Charley Patton, not a new Bill Withers, and especially not herself), in which the songwriter and the singer and the main instrumentalist are all on the stage and preferably the same person, in which any instrumentation for performance other than guitar-bass-drums-vocals-and-maybe-keyboards is some kind of novelty, because that is what’s normal. Writers don’t think this way because “19th Nervous Breakdown” is our favorite song; we do it unconsciously because it’s the language we all internalized as pop-magazine-obsessed kids. And it trickles down to everyone who reads what we write.
Douglas Wolk, “Thinking About Rockism" (Seattle Weekly, May 4, 2005). Naturally, this completely calm, well-reasoned argument made people mad because, you know, how DARE anyone suggest that very POV wasn’t the center of the universe.
“Moss started the blog in 2007, having moved to New York from a small, working-class New England town “around 20 years” ago. “I had been complaining to anyone who would listen about what I saw as the shift in the city, particularly after 9/11, with Bloomberg [the city’s mayor from 2002 to 2013],” he says. “The city was upscaled and gentrified. Suddenly a suburbanized Middle America was taking over what had been a long-standing pocket of eccentricity and bohemianism.” Moss has lived in the East Village the whole time, in a “crummy slum tenement where the landlord never gets anything fixed,” and he has witnessed his area transform from one inhabited by “oddballs, artists, gays, Ukrainians” in a welcomingly chaotic jumble to one more akin to “fraternity culture,” packed with “the middle classes, the heteronormative…” He pauses. “Football fans.” He says ruefully, “That thing I left the suburbs to get away from is now at our gates. It’s been really frightening watching the creep of Starbucks east. There are three or four within a handful of blocks in the East Village.””—The End of New York: How One Blog Tracks the Disappearance of a Vibrant City - The Daily Beast (via tballardbrown)
The Israeli government is prepared to invest over half a billion dollars (i.e., the amount proposed by Obama to train and arm Syrian rebels, and the quantity of humanitarian aid pledged by Saudi Arabia to Iraq) to deal with 0.6 percent of its population, a percentage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated “threaten[s] the identity of a Jewish state.”
The short answer as to why these events have taken place lies almost entirely in the above quote. Miss Israel can be Ethiopian, and women from the Philippines can win Israeli singing competitions (though they can’t use their talents to earn money), but further incorporation is seen to threaten the identity of Israel as a Jewish state. To quote former Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari: “Our country is a Jewish state. A Jewish and democratic state. It’s a very delicate balance. In some cases, the two contradict each other. If you bring in a million Africans, it will no longer be Jewish. We are waging war against the phenomenon of assimilation.”
”—I wrote at length about musicians boycotting Israel and the plight of African asylum seekers. (Wondering Sound)
“Cédric Le Merrer: I still don’t understand this campfire clubbing wave seemingly started by Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” Do clubs have bonfire and s’mores nights now? Are group handclapping and boy scout harmonies the new trend that corrupts our youth?
”—Becky G – Shower (The Singles Jukebox)
“What does it mean for your art to be accepted by the cultural establishment? It means money, perhaps – new kinds of sponsorship and funding – but in the booming ‘10s, dance music has plenty of that. More importantly, it means credibility. The value of an establishment artform goes largely unquestioned, even by those who don’t care for it (few people, for example, complain with any seriousness about government funding to modern art museums, even if Duchamp’s Fountain leaves them cold). Just as with the ill-advised classical-techno crossovers that crop up every few years, it seems Hawtin would love for a bit of that absolute, unassailable legitimacy to be conferred on his music. This in spite of the fact that his vision for modern-day techno – as essentially just one more functional component in an enormous industrial mechanism – horribly misrepresents the genre and many of those who operate within it.”—Angus Finlayson, review of Plastikman’s EX(FACT Magazine, 2014.07.15)