Friday, September 08, 2006

Sweet Revenge

I am not a fan of indie music site Pitchfork. Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes they get it spectacularly wrong. And, most damningly from my point of view, even when they get it right they still have an uncanny knack for writing smarmy, condescending prose full of ad hominen attacks, the point of which seems to be to inflate their hipness factor. And here's a clue: hipness is way, way overrated in the music world, not to mention a fairly shallow way to view human beings. If I was ever hip, it was perhaps back in the Carter administration, and it's been downhill ever since. And you know what? It doesn't matter, because music is still worthwhile, and still worth writing about, even when it's made by people with bad haircuts and not enough tattoos. I wish Pitchfork would learn that lesson, but I'm not holding my breath.

But I have now figured out a way to take out my frustrations against P'fork's editor. Take that, poser.


mommy zabs said...

1st off. i love that google fight! How fun :)
2nd. you are so right. i get so tired of the "coolness" thing. I'm so at peace with my life now being out of that atmosphere. I have been realizing that lately. That i don't care if people think it's crazy I left the striving and accepted the mini-van, pool mom world that so many "normal" people live in. Not spectacular to the average veiwer. But in my opinion.... i think it's the most spectacular my life has ever been.
That coolness factor so many are striving for just leaves you exhausted, paranoid, and bitter.

Andy Whitman said...

And older, which is inevitable, or at least the better alternative to not getting older. And coolness/hipness is a losing proposition with diminishing returns.

I think it's great to be culturally engaged. I want to be culturally engaged myself. But the part of the culture that values youth, image, trendiness, etc. is such a shallow game, and people end up as pawns, being manipulated by Madison Avenue and MTV even as they maintain their unique coolness, which looks just like the other 40,000,000 people who are trying to be uniquely cool as well.

The thing is, each individual really is unique. You are unique. This is part of the wonder of God's creation. And why anybody would want to define that uniqueness in terms of tattoos or clothing or their own market-driven "indie branding" is beyond me. Don't be a label. Be a human being.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Dear Mr. Whitman:
You have a new fan in Whipple, Ohio. Read your piece on Springsteen in PASTE; it set me afire, thought to write you a fan note; raced upstairs, Googled you, found your blog, laughed my head off at the Google Fight, staged several of my own (my husband kicked my a-s, as did everybody else...) I love your writing.
To the strains of China Cat Sunflower, I salute your fluid prose. Word verification made me type qbgheto. Quarterback ghetto?

Andy Whitman said...

I appreciate your kind words, Julie. I actually know where Whipple, Ohio is. I went to school in Athens, which isn't too far away. It's a lovely little area of the planet, although you're obviously not very close to anything. I hope you like it that way.

I checked out your blog, and your website. Thanks for your writing, for your obvious love of the natural world, and for naming your dog Chet Baker!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Dear Andy,
Wow. You know where Whipple is. We're actually going to be in Reynoldsburg tomorrow night. I'm gonna get myself a MacBook Pro at Easton on Saturday. Whoot!
When I mentioned to hub Bill Thompson III
that I'd "discovered" you, he lit up and said HE had been planning to write you a fan letter! Big Paste reader. That was one of the better birhday presents I've found for him. We're stoked, independently, and now collectively, that an Ohioan writes for Paste. And Chet Baker is our favorite jazz trumpet player/vocalist of all time. Had to name the pup for him.