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Stubs of ideas, some of which may turn into future posts:

(1a) A punk votes for a punk (Johnny Rotten says nice things about Trump). Okay, he's not necessarily saying that he did vote for Trump, though from what he said it's a good assumption he did; but anyway, my armchair psychosocial analysis of the Trump win already had been "Punks voted for a punk," my using the word punks in a sorta pre-punk-rock sense, meaning people who compensate for subconsciously feeling weak by scapegoating and bullying and hurting the vulnerable; but such "punks" can include normally nice people too, people who let the punk aspect of themselves do their electoral thinking.

(1b) Only "sorta pre-punk-rock" given that original garage-rock punks such as ? And The Mysterians and the Syndicate Of Sound and the Seeds were indeed punks in the old sense, weak bully-type punks (and sexists as well),† but most of the great punk rockers — I'd start "punk rock" w/ Stones and Dylan, actually, with the caveat that the true punks, the garage rockers, weren't Stones and Dylan but the garage kids who'd dumbed Stones, Dylan, and Yardbirds down into punk, which'd be a fine explanation except that no one limits "punk rock" this way; most critics etc. would also include the Velvet Underground and MC5 and Stooges and Patti Smith and Richard Hell and Rocket From The Tombs and even more would include Ramones and Sex Pistols and the Clash and the Heartbreakers and X-Ray Spex and Black Flag and Nirvana and Hole, generally self-aware nonbully types, and if you're going to do this you've got to go back and count Dylan and the Stones — ...anyway, most of the great punk rockers (as generally defined) were about punk way more than they were punk; nonetheless, being self-aware, they drew the connection between actual inner true punk impulses and the punk rock they were playing, understanding their own weakness and that bullying and scapegoating were in there lurking, sitting dangerously inside. But anyway, of all the great punk rockers, the Sex Pistols, who were maybe the greatest ("They make everyone else sound sick by comparison," said my friend Bill Routt), were the ones who were true nasty punks as much as they were about punk. They were the band that made punk safe for fag-bashers (fortunately only somewhat safe).* None of which explains why Johnny Rotten would shit his brains down the toilet and support Trump (apparently, Johnny can't tell a racist from a hole in the ground). If you want to turn to social affinity and group identification as an explanation, Johnny's loyalty is to real punks, not to punk rock. (Yes, there's no way to come up with a unitary reading of the word "punk" in this paragraph. It'd be a stupider paragraph if you could.) I doubt that many self-identified "punks" — those who embrace the music as part of their social identity — voted for Trump. These people veer left instead. If you go by social category, Trump got many of the rocks and hoods and greasers and grits and burnouts — at least, more than he should have — but few of the punks. (Among whites he got a significant amount of the jocks and middle managers, too, and their psyches are probably as much punk as the hoods' are, but that's not relevant to Johnny Rotten's social identification.) I doubt that many Trump voters had ever bothered to listen to punk rock (not counting the garage hits they heard way back); if they had, the aboutness would've stung them, and they'd have been repelled. Nonetheless, I think I can understand that what makes the Sex Pistols sound true and real to me, the screaming squalling blind attempt to stand against anything acceptable and settled that can get you by, is what makes a lying hollow pathological bully like Trump sound transgressive and therefore real and true and honest and substantial to a lot of his fans.

(1c) Of course Trump doesn't win if he gets only the punks. And my armchair analysis isn't based on any actual research of mine into "the Trump voter." As I said two sentences ago, there's more than one type of Trump voter, and individual voters are multi-faceted in their urges and ideas anyway (so a particular Trump voter can be more than one type). I'm actually doing two questionable things: (i) reading the characteristics of the voter off of the characteristics of what they voted for, rather than actually asking the voters who they are and why they like what they like; (ii) using a psychological model that can apply to an individual person to explain the behavior of a group of people (the punk types who voted for that punk Trump), as if the group were an individual writ large. Obviously I think the analysis kinda sorta works, or I wouldn't have made it. It's a strong hypothesis, punks voted for a punk, strong in my mind anyway, though maybe someone more knowledgeable could beat it down with an alternative. ("Strong" analysis? Seriously? How so? It tells you what most of you already know: (1) that I don't like Trump, (2) that I think many of his voters voted for a lot of what I don't like about him, even if they don't understand the policy implications, and (3) that he's a punk. You already knew that. He's a punk. It's maybe a correct analysis, but not strong, since it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know. Maybe it makes you think harder about punk rock, and what I write below maybe'll help you think harder about social class.)

(1di) Trump got more working-class whites than he was expected to )

(1dii) The terms hoods, greasers, grits, and burnouts as stand-ins for current social identities )

(1diii) The class systems in people's immediate experience are not an exact match for the upper-middle-working class grid )

(1div) They voted against Clinton because she's a student-council type )

(1dv) Kids who bombed out of the classroom still hurt by it )

(1e) Middle class divided )

(1f) Want to hurt people and feel good about hurting them )

(2) The failure of education )

(3a) Duncan Watts criticizes idea of 'representative agent' )

(3b) How would we measure 'punks voted for a punk'? )

(4) The principle of the inferred et cetera )

(5) Top 100 singles of 2016 )

(6) A punk votes for a brat )

(7) Etc. )
koganbot: (Default)
I've been wanting to comment on an ever-increasing number of Mark Sinker posts, especially this on Freaky Trigger where he continues a convo (prior installment here) that, among other things, draws on my hallway-classroom metaphor. Here's a preliminary map (or something) of how I might start responding, when I get the chance.*

1. I'll start with the question, "What would Mark say that he's saying here?" although, in order for this to be an exercise in understanding rather than typing, I'll try wherever possible to avoid using the words he uses.

Or you should try, if you want to anticipate me in taking a shot at it. Also, "saying" is a generic here that includes "doing."

2. You can walk and chew gum at the same time.

In other words, if I say or do A, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm not also saying or doing B, C, D, E, and F, including some K's and L's and M's I'm unaware of.

3. A special instance of the principle "You can walk and chew gum at the same time" is my attack on the hallway-classroom split.

The split goes, in the hallway you talk to and about each other; in the classroom you talk about some third thing: the subject matter. My claim is that good rock critics don't buy into this divide, so they refuse to honor the boundary between hallway and classroom.

4. I'm an alienation addict.

Notes )

*Posting here on my lj since I don't know if Freaky Trigger has fixed its spam filter problems, which had been delaying the posting of comments on old threads.
koganbot: (Default)
Take a very simple Wittgensteinian language-game, e.g., a bricklayer says "BRICK" and the bricklayer's assistant brings her the brick.* All of this is part of the language-game: not just the utterance "BRICK," but also the assistant bringing the brick — so the actions as well as the sound. You don't have one part being language and another part not. It's all language, and if you leave out the actions it's not complete.**

Of course, at times the assistant could understand that he's to bring a brick, yet he chooses not to, in defiance or as a joke; or he may be prevented from doing so, say by an injury; and that doesn't mean the language-game is incomplete in these instances. As long as the practice is there, the established practice of "BRICK" and an assistant bringing the brick, the language-game is in effect. And defiance and humor are expressible in this language, too, even though the language only contains one word, the command "BRICK." (Suppose, somehow, there's miscommunication in the game. Or some misunderstanding, the assistant incorrectly thinking that it's only when the bricklayer has her arm raised as she's uttering "BRICK" that he's to bring the brick. Or maybe sometimes the bricklayer doesn't mean it, and the assistant has to figure out when. A game doesn't have to be conducted with absolutely certainty to be a game; a language doesn't have to have absolute certainty and consistency to be a language.)

We can define "language-games" as being, more or less, "human social practices." The terms "language-game" and "social practice" are near synonyms, language being so ubiquitous. But let's see what happens if we go further. Let's get rid of "more or less." Let's say that all human social practices are language-games, whether or not any word is actually spoken in the practice, and whether or not all the parties even know a language. Yes, at least one of them — the parent of a baby, for instance — will have to know a language; but the other(s) won't have to. So parental action and baby wails and goos and parental response are all in the category "language-game." A baby being initiated into parent-child social behavior is a baby being initiated into language.***

By this definition, all musical events, including the "nonverbal," are nonetheless in some language-game or other. This doesn't mean "can be made part of a language-game by translating musical sounds into words or by describing the music in words." It means that the language-game includes musical sounds as they are, and we can take the sounds and see their role in particular games — particular social practices — just as we can take the utterances and actions in the "BRICK" language and see their roles in that particular practice. In any event, we refuse to give the social practices we call "music" the special status of being "nonverbal." They aren't.

Motive here is to tease out what might be usable in Mark's glimmer of an idea )

Footnotes (as opposed to musical notes?) )
koganbot: (Default)
Ah, this is the Mark Sinker passage I was looking for but not finding last weekend when I wrote my little critique of Spin's "Top 100 Alternative Albums Of The 1960s." It was here at koganbot, four years ago, down in a comment thread, coming later in the overall discussion than I'd realized:

here's what i'm objecting to, cast as a fable: [band xyz] arrives in our purlieu, announcing that it comes as envoy of the emperor ["We are influenced by Television"]

the assumption seems to be that (i) the emperor's writ runs -- viz that you the listener respect and acknowledge his power; and (ii) that the emperor's imprimatur is discernible -- that the envoy can and does act in the emperor's name; not to mention (iii) that in so far as [band xyz] are not the emperor, they can nevertheless be taken to extend and deepen his power

how and why do envoys get their power? what is the cultural equivalent (if any?) of political power? what is it about [band xyz] that demands they cede authority to others, rather than seek to foster their own?

in all of these -- in cultural terms -- the key bit, where the interesting questions lie, can be cast as something like: "if power is here, how and why is it here? in what way is it passed on? in what way is difference not the opposite of 'being influenced'"

(this doesn't even begin to tackle examples where the envoy claims the imprimatur of rival emperors: "we are influenced by Television and Funkadelic")

[Error: unknown template video]

Feedback loop )
koganbot: (Default)
I hate the term "alternative," but that doesn't mean I get to dismiss other people's use of it.

When Christopher Weingarten sent his list of potential acts for Spin's '60s alternative roundup, I wrote back that they should get rid of the Velvets, Stooges, and Leonard Cohen and put Vanilla Fudge, Rare Earth, and Iron Butterfly in their stead. Was trying to rescue both the list and Velvets-Stooges-Cohen from respectability, I guess. Nonetheless I volunteered to write about the Velvets and Stooges, and the Holy Modal Rounders. Got two of the three.



[Error: unknown template video]

I also unsuccessfully proposed the following:

--He 5 Merry Christmas Psychedelic Sound
--Lee Jung Hwa with Shin Joong Hyun and the Donkeys No/Spring Rain
--Shin Joong Hyun Beautiful Rivers And Mountains (but is a compilation that crosses decade boundaries)
--20 Heavy Hits, an advertised-on-TV album put out by Crystal Corporation, with tracks by the Impressions, Tommy James & The Shondells, Strawberry Alarm Clark, Len Barry, Janis Joplin, The Intruders, The Ohio Express, The Who, Ricardo Ray, The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Turtles, The Amboy Dukes, The Happenings, The Lemon Pipers, and Sonny & Cher
--Nazz Nazz (but I said that Nazz would need some writer other than me)
--The Best Of The Chocolate Watchband
--The Swinging World Of Johnny Rios And The Us 4 Nuevo Boog-A-Loos
--Grace Slick & The Great Society

Concrete toes and pigeons' feet )

[Error: unknown template video]

Footnotes )
koganbot: (Default)
 photo Jordan Siouxsie bench.jpg

Given that there was an element of chance in the Sex Pistols' becoming famous,* is there a way to quantify that element?

I assume that the answer is no, since I've no idea how to try; though maybe social psychologists with a strong grasp of statistics have been working on such questions.

This question was inspired by Mark's starting his Adam And The Ants stint at One Week, One Band with the question, "Do people talk about Jordan much these days? Once — for a year or three — she mattered quite a lot." And a couple of posts on, he asks, "So what exactly was I suggesting earlier today: no Jordan (—> no SEX —> no Pistols —> no Jubilee —> no Ants) —> no (UK) punk? Or else maybe, less aggressively counterfactually, I'm dubbing her the Bez of punk, maybe?"

Mark's point isn't about probability but that the story of a band is way more populated than most people realize. But to underline both my question and Mark's point, I'd never heard of Jordan or Bez until reading those names in Mark's piece yesterday.** And I'm not as sure as he is that his contention ("no (UK) punk?") is counterfactual.

I assume that if we start from 50 years ago and ask ourselves, "How likely then was it that the world has this particular configuration now?," the answer would be vanishingly small no matter what configuration we end up with (though of course some overall features of the configuration, e.g., "the world would still have an atmosphere, even after a life-ending nuclear war," are quite predictable). So to make my question comprehensible, you could say, "Given Britain the way it was in 1975, and glam and glitter and pub rock and punk rock as they already existed in scenes and subcultures in New York, London, Cleveland, L.A., Ann Arbor, etc., not to mention the pages of Creem and ______ (some British counterpart?),*** there's nonetheless huge unpredictability as to whether the Sex Pistols are going to become famous, or how famous, not to mention, once they are famous, what gets made of what they're doing, and so forth."

Remember, even here, the chance of any particular outcome, including the one we got, is vanishingly small. And my concern isn't to come up with a number, anyway. What I'm really pondering is this: back in the late '80s in my fanzine I asked and gave what I consider a good answer to the question, "Why was there a punk rock explosion in Britain in '76 but not a glitter explosion in the United States in 1973?" But my answer was entirely causal. The Dolls had these attributes and this potential audience; the Sex Pistols had those attributes and that potential audience. I wouldn't fundamentally change that answer now, even though I know that there is an element of unpredictability in what happened with the Dolls and Pistols. What I don't know is whether or how much I should mention the unpredictability, or how to work it into the story. What is there to say about unpredictability, beyond that it exists? I think that, even if the Dolls had become famous, they wouldn't have produced the explosion the Sex Pistols did. And I don't think the Sex Pistols would have become a sudden big deal**** in the U.S., even if they'd been as big here as KISS or Aerosmith. But even if I'm right about that (it's not as if I could run an experiment), I don't think even in retrospect that it was inevitable or obvious that they or anyone like them would have sparked the fire in Britain that they actually did spark.

티아라 파이팅!!! )

The butterfly effect )

A Tale Of Two Patsies )

footnotes )
koganbot: (Default)
Mark informs us, "This is the time of year when I require a POLL OF ALL THE POLLS, to diminish the absurdly extensive 'end of year' music commentary I am almost certainly never going to get round to reading."

[Poll #1813388]
koganbot: (Default)
FK (You make me wanna reblog, in the kitchen on the floor):

My Dylan blurb for Paste. It only makes a passing reference to Ashlee, but she was saturating my mind when I wrote it, so I feel she inhabits every word, including the words I lifted from Mark Sinker.

Not to mention the words I lifted from Greil Marcus.

The ones from Mark were "Dylan pulled together worlds that want to remain separate but mustn't be allowed to," except in Mark's version it wasn't Dylan but the Village Voice music section under Chuck Eddy. I thought Mark had posted them on Tom's lj, but I haven't found it (was it Freaky Trigger?); it was right after the Voice fired Chuck. I used the words with Mark's permission.

The ones from Greil Marcus were the stuff about Elvis not knowing his place, which I lifted without asking, and it wasn't a direct lift, just the basic idea, which I gave my own twist to; it was from Lies About Elvis, Lies About Us, his commentary in the Voice Literary Supplement (December 1981) about Albert Goldman's Elvis. Greil: "[Elvis] wasn't willing to keep his place, and now he is being returned to it."

EDIT: The Mark quote was on [livejournal.com profile] poptimists:

it's not the end of the world, but it is the end of a project, and that's sad -- even tho projects do usually end (and final acts are usually bloody)

(no chuck in the voice in the 80s, no "my" wire)

(wire after me is a lesson in the possibilities and problems of a medium circulated among obsessives only: i think this "oddness" is the heart of said project actually -- an interface between two worlds that want to separate and mustn't be allowed to

So it wasn't only about the Voice under Chuck in the '00s, but also about Chuck in the Voice in the '80s, and Mark at The Wire in the early '90s.

(April 19, 2006)
koganbot: (Default)
Didn't seem appropriate to bring this up on the comment thread to Mark's Steven Wells tribute, but one advantage my hallway-classroom formulation has over formulations that divide by type of person (Blots versus Swots) or by type of attitude (playfulness versus seriousness) is that hallway versus classroom describes two different behavioral contexts with two different behavioral conventions, albeit contexts/conventions that people internalize and then carry within them as expectations in regard to what's appropriate behavior in various circumstances. What's important to remember is that someone who has internalized the hallway-classroom split has internalized both sets of conventions.

This doesn't mean that someone will perform equally well in both environments, just that "hallway" and "classroom" don't describe different types of people or different temperaments. And of course there can be good reasons to analyze by type or class of person or by role or by temperament etc. But anyhow, I wonder what an analysis of the Sinker-Wells relationship that mentions the hallway-classroom split would reveal. I barely know anything about Wells, by the way.
koganbot: (Default)
h/t [livejournal.com profile] petronia

FORECAST 2009 for PISCES born MARCH 12: MARS, URANUS, NEPTUNE, and PLUTO are your protecting planets during 2009. The week of MARCH 22** starts on with GOOD NEWS. Having planet MERCURY (effectiveness) joining URANUS is a great way to materialize whatever project you thought impossible to accomplish just a few months ago. Your gain? Discovering new opportunities possibly thanks to fresh financial support. Being in the right place at the right time is an extra bonus. Feeling happier, better organized, more productive. Remember, SURPRISE is the magic of planet URANUS.
koganbot: (Default)
"In 18xx, Alexis Bouvard hypothesized that deviations in the expected orbit of Uranus could be due to the influence of an as yet unseen planet orbiting farther out."

That's an unproblematic use of the word "influence," one that Mark wouldn't object to. But I'm wondering how we should assign influence when the ideas of the influencing agent are misunderstood.

E.g., suppose that, upon the actual discovery of Neptune in 1846, Uranus feels a sudden sense of liberation. Up 'til then, reasons for its deviations have been hypothesized but never proven. Now the reasons are confirmed as good ones, the deviations given a definitive rationale. Uranus decides to take things further. It reasons that, owing to Neptune's having already knocked it off its expected path, the very existence of Neptune must authorize Uranus to deviate as far as it wants to from any path. Now, this is a total misunderstanding of the significance of Neptune, but Uranus isn't a rigorous thinker. In fact, Uranus had never deviated at all. Its path was set by the constraints of gravitational forces, including Neptune's. The "expected path" had been what was off, not Uranus's actual motion. But Uranus can't see this, no matter how much we try to explain. Uranus takes the existence of Neptune as a license to deviate, and deviate it does.

I think the "influence" of Thomas Kuhn is much like the "influence" of Neptune, an influence that's based on a misunderstanding. If I am to have much influence myself, I fear that my influence will be similarly ill-derived.

Without the discovery of Neptune, would Uranus have acted as it did? )
koganbot: (Default)
Tom's been posting on both his Tumblrs about "opinion leaders," his questions seeming to be: to what extent are there such creatures; do those outfits who claim to have the special ability to identify opinion leaders actually know what they're doing; and where these creatures have apparently been identified, is there any special value in trying to influence them in particular (influencing the influential, as it were)? I've been posting on the comment threads, and Dave chimed in on his own Tumblr.

I may or may not swoop into the subject from my own angle, but first I have a question for [livejournal.com profile] dubdobdee:

Tom entitles one of his posts "Now I know why Mark S hated the word so much." I replied with this:

Except "influence" as you've been using it here and in Blackbeard is exactly how Mark thinks it should be used, to reference actual power in the world. What Mark was objecting to was the unearned authority of "The [New Band] cite a range of influences from the Velvet Underground to the Fall," or "[Supposedly Valuable Rock Critic] has influenced everybody from Chuck Eddy to Tom Ewing." So what you guys are (and Mark is) trying to understand is who has power and what actual influence/resistance it engenders etc., whereas what Mark is objecting to is the attempt to borrow power by invocation and proxy.

So Mark, is this a good representation of your ideas?

links )
koganbot: (Default)
The 'overall' Meltzer (then and now) wants to open up a vector to the Totality, without ever being (mis)taken for that Totality. )

[Mark, do you (1) mind that I've posted this, and (2) mind that it's not under lock and key? (Obv. I think I know the answer, but I'm asking anyway.)]
koganbot: (Default)
I'm urging [livejournal.com profile] dubdobdee to pitch and write a piece that he's long been contemplating: "why are the left such chumps when it comes to the charts?" So to urge him further I'm pasting in a slightly re-worded version of what I wrote on his thread, and I encourage you to contribute your own thoughts here. (I'm not saying anything that I haven't said better and at greater length before, but I think this summary might be useful.)

The unstated movement in the left has been towards embracing music, ideas, and actions because they are ours rather than because the music, ideas, and actions are good )


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