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.
(Source: mkeverydays, via kevinnuut)
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)