Excellent. I didn’t have enough things to beat myself up about. Because now I’ve been told — as you, reading this, have implicitly been told in the original post — that it’s not that I work from 9 to 5, plus lots of time after hours, it’s that I’m both incapable of intellectual conversation and not even interested in it.
But really. How is saying something like this even acceptable, and why are people not absolutely outraged about it?
No, not “BOOM,” Nick, and a hearty “what-the-fuck-ever” to you both being personally shitty to me without attributing the quote (to me) or providing any other context. The original post, and my responses to it, does not refer to anyone personally except Mike Barthel and Mark O’Connell, who wrote the Slate review — and I admit quickly that I’m over-shooting the mark by singling it out. It was just bugging me.
The post refers to the general community of rock criticism, which by and large does not “take itself seriously” as an intellectual pursuit. There are people within it, many of whom have contributed to various conversations, who take it seriously. Katherine does. Nick does. I do. Frank does. Maura does. Mike does (who I do go in on, by name, for a particular quote, and note immediately afterward that it was overkill).
But for some reason, the individual sparks of people taking it seriously don’t seem to cohere into a “sustained intellectual conversation” — a concept that is not well defined in the post and which several people are working out in the comments section — the way that other fields gradually address and respond to it [EDIT: “it” being their subject and one another].
But Katherine and Nick and anyone else, if you’d like to respond to it in some kind of constructive way with the full understanding that you will not be personally attacked, and have not BEEN personally attacked, and I’m honestly trying to operate in good faith [EDIT: deleted my own shittiness to the best of my ability, apologies. Grr.], you can respond here.
I think it’s a lot more shitty to say, assuming total knowledge, that people — almost everyone in the music-writing field, that is — aren’t having intellectual conversations because they just don’t care, because “there’s nothing in it for them,” while ignoring almost every lifestyle factor that might explain a lot more — even when it’d already been mentioned as an explanation.
The lack of context was deliberate. I wanted to confront people with precisely what was being said about them on a LiveJournal thread they probably wouldn’t click through to or encounter otherwise. (It’s not as if you’ve told people that you’re talking about them; I, for one, received no email.) Alternate explanation: I don’t know how to cite things like the intellectuals do, because there’s nothing in it for me.
Edit: also how can you claim to be “honestly trying to operate in good faith” right after explaining that the above quote was not aimed at us because it’s actually aimed at a straw man?
This argument is getting tedious. Katherine, I never actually mentioned you in that thread. I don’t actually care about your contribution to that particular exchange, which for the record was to quote without further comment a passage from a Slate article. You were not in my mind as I wrote it. (As for Mike, I did notify him that I had mentioned something of his that he’d written, for whatever that’s worth. I don’t know the Slate writer; he’ll have to Google himself, and when he does I hope he joins the conversation.)
And you’re completely misunderstanding what the post, and my comment, is about. I don’t actually think we’re in disagreement — people can have an intellectual conversation here and there, but there’s no real sense of continuity, of returning to problems, of accepting knowledge when there appears to be consensus around it. I’m saying that time and money ARE factors, and that there are others, too. Rock critics get no respect, something like that.
Nick, I can’t possibly be talking about a strawman because I’m talking about myself. I’m not saying, and Frank’s not saying, “why am I the only one who can sustain an intellectual conversation?” The question is “why can’t we sustain an intellectual conversation?” I find it incredibly difficult to keep up with conversations in the music sphere, and the reasons I continue to return to it are (1) I actually love music as a Thing and (2) I have better conversations here, with higher stakes and weirder exceptions and more interesting provocations and more diverse conversation partners, than I do elsewhere. (I get paid elsewhere.) Except Frank is right that those conversations, for all their surprises, don’t really seem to “go anywhere” in the way that other intellectual conversations I have do. I actually think musicwrite has as much to teach academia generally as academia might have to teach musicwrite about organization and sustainability (who knows, academia’s a mess right now from all appearances). In fact I think I plagiarized that sentence from some old LJ thread.
Also, something made my brow furrow about Jonathan Bogart’s response to this whole thing, even though I love his metaphor. But I’ll think about it and return to it.
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- thevidsarealright said: Ah! This must be that beef I was too busy to read! Dudes, if music is yr job you have a right to not want to think about it after hours.
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- minimoonstar said: Maybe this is just me but… I don’t see how the two of you are saying something different, at all? I know that’s why *I* don’t sustain convos, and I don’t beat myself up over it at all.
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- anthonyisright said: livejournal: the last refuge of intellectual conversation.
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