Subject: Brief thought
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 23:56:07 CST
From: Josh Kortbein 
X-UIDL: 42473a574eddaaa0c471bf6996eaa92a

Not addressed particularly at you, just thought I'd share.

So my roommate, who listens mostly to classic rock radio, though he's
got a few 90s CDs, and will gladly listen to my radio show when he's
awake at 2 in the A.M., sticks his head through my doorway.

"What is this?" he says. He's got a _tone_.

"Is this Marilyn _Manson_?"

It's not a haughty tone - just sort of bafflement at the fact that I,
hep cat that I am (remember, he listens to Foghat and Creedence), am
listening to something so popular with... how shall we say it... the kids.

For him, I revel in it - I ask him if it makes him feel dirty. But
within, I must admit that I'm a little defensive. How could I be so

Quoth Duke Ellington: "If it sounds good, then it is good." Or something
like that - pretty damn close. So can't that be enough?

Sometimes, for some people, it seems not. When reading music crit
from some camps - interestingly, some of the stuff on Freaky Trigger -
I feel _really_ defensive. What's that? Phish? Counting Crows? Nirvana?
Worthless? Weak? Knockoffs? Nirvana, even?

So tonight, after the visit from my roommate, I pondered Mr. Raggett's
likening of the latest Manson album to the whole of the Thin White Duke's
career. Does it take that, to justify it? Shouldn't. He appears to enjoy
the album for what it sounds like. But maybe there's something else there...
mustn't appear uncool, now. With Manson, the namecheck can work because,
somehow, Bowie has remained hep. Others aren't so lucky. So the Black
Crowes are just second-rate Stones and Faces knockoffs, eh? Phish?
Dead for the 90s? Zappaesque? It seems some bands get less respect
because their influences (real or imagined) get less. Unwarranted, of
course. In my oh so humble opinion.

Of course, this culture of cool extends to the "underground," if it
could be called that. Prick an indie rock fan, and maybe you'll find
a Tortoise fan. Or maybe someone who's indifferent. Or maybe someone
who finds them sleepy and boring. Et cetera.

Slash and burn rhetoric, a prof I once had called it. That's the problem.
Tastes and values are masqueraded when the style seems otherwise objective.
It's easy, you can play along at home: get rid of those personal pronouns!
Present personal preferences as statements of aesthetic truth!

Smarmy responses are expected but not too helpful. Well, of COURSE
it's so and so's opinion, do we really have to say that every time,
blah blah blah. Answer? No, but a little more attention to that fact
would be appreciated.


"I can give you a very rigorous proof
 but you may fall asleep while reading it."
        - Alexander Abian, July 1998