Sunday, April 01, 2007

Riding the wild spectrum

That's quite the back-to-back effort there, friend. I'm actually impressed; while I've posted more on this site, I've been guilty of doing quick-and-dirty posts because I haven't been willing to spend the time to write something well. But you've actually sat down and written two extremely long posts, and you've put a great deal of thought and effort into them (perhaps more so with the latest).

Unfortunately, there are a couple of things in your Saturday post that I simply can't let sit, mostly because they were arguments that were beneath you in every sense of the term. And that's saying something, because you're usually willing to stoop lower than a lame-duck politician.

1) Adult alternative: I said it's what I imagined it would sound like. Read the goddamn sentence, particularly if you're going to start talking about "facts," for chrissakes. Furthermore, in regard the adult alternative stuff in the second post, I didn't say "Parting" was one of the songs that sounded like adult alternative (as I imagine the genre to sound, which isn't good).

2) Re: Perspectives on "average human beings": Again, fine, overstatement for effect is bad and I should stop. But I find it incredible that someone could be so strident and overstated about how much he hates stridency and overstatement. Furthermore, implied in a sentence like, "The new Bloc Party album is probably the worst of the year," is that I'm only talking about albums I've fucking listened to. If I'm playing the role of a dumb 102 student, you're playing the role of a pedantic, trollish English faculty member who decides that in response to a lack of sex, he or she will spend the rest of his/her life being a goddamn literalist about every statement when he/she isn't dumping on blogging adjuncts. And, yes, I realize that I'm the same person who's gone off on "begging the question" rants, but if you can't see the difference between that and your criticism of my Bloc Party take, then I see we've truly lost you to the same obtuse academic culture you recently mocked. As in a month ago.

3) Re: Proving things "because I said so": It's a fucking review, you idiot; of course it's because I said so. When was the last time you took a poll before passing judgement on something? Logic and taste aren't compatible concepts; I'd expect an expert on rhetoric such as yourself to understand something the average third grader can conclude by his or her self.

(Ah, fuck, I did it again. I meant to say, "Only the third graders I have met, a roster of which can be found in the appendix.")

4) Re: Your spotty memory concerning the music you've "introduced" to me, and the role my timing of acquisition plays in my ability to reference bands and/or discuss/criticize music: You outdid yourself with this one. You no more "introduced me" to MM and the VU than my second girlfriend introduced me to sex (the other bands you mentioned you can all hold over my head, like a cudgel). I borrowed Loaded from you because the only album of the VU's I had listened to was The Velvet Underground and Nico (which I owned), and I had passed up on Loaded because I heard it sucked and I never made the effort to independently confirm it for myself. Seeing as you had a copy I could borrow, I decided to amend that situation (much to my pleasure, as Loaded most certainly does not suck and is an excellent album in its own right, even if it's not better than TVUAN).

But, let's say your claim is correct, and you actually did introduce me to all of those bands. And let's say you did only within the last two years, which would deny me the ability to say: 1) I knew about those bands before you did; and, 2) I've been a fan of any of them for a long time. Not that I ever made either claim in support of any of my arguments, or even suggested it as a way of establishing authority on the subject of music in general. On the other hand, both claims were made, explicitly, by you. And that leads me to ask: So what? Again, I'm forced to wonder if you haven't actually become one of the academics you were once fond of mocking. You're making exclusionary appeals to authority in an attempt to avoid the possibility of dissent. You haven't read Joyce? Then you can't talk about literature. You have read Joyce? Well, you only did it a year ago, and I read it whilst suckling on my mom's teat, which means I've had way longer to parse it and appreciate it much better than you other people. You read it ten years ago? While you didn't read it twice, did you?

I would like for you to explain, in 2,500 words or less, how your owning the Wolf Parade album for a matter of months before introducing me to the band, simultaneously enables you to pass judgement on music and invalidates me as a Johnny-come-lately poseur. Or CYHSY. Or whatever.

And, by the way ... how did you find out about those bands? Did an angel wake you up in the middle of the night and show you a buried chest filled with indie rock CDs?

I'm not even going to bother with the OK Computer v. Kid A thing; until you wrote that, I honestly hadn't heard one person say the latter was better than the former. And since it's a matter of taste, it's not really worth arguing. They're both incredible awesome really good albums by a great band, and I listen to one as much as the other.

The rest of it -- including the much more edifying post on the MM song you really like -- is mostly undeserving of a contrary word. Furthermore, your impassioned defense of the MM albums has proven something to me: I don't like writing music reviews as much as you. I thought it would be cool to mix up the blog content with the music stuff, but I've got to say that I just don't feel like it's something I'm particularly interested in now that I've actually done it. While I love listening to music as much as other activities and/or interests that I'm prone to discussion, I rarely attempt to approach music analytically, which kinda cuts my legs out w/r/t this format. Despite your near-constant (and false) claims to the contrary, I do like arguing in the realm of facts, and find it more interesting to determine which variables are most important or telling based on evidence and logic, as opposed to discussing whether the variables exist at all.

Oh, one last thing: Find one time I've ever said a good word about "Spiders (Kidsmoke)," and I'll buy you a bottle of Maker's Mark. In fact, while you compare the new MM to Kid A, I actually think it's a lot like A Ghost is Born: An uneven mixture of strong and weak content. But we're not going to get back into that, because I gave up masochism for lent.

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