October 31, 2004


"A rockist isn't just someone who loves rock'n'roll, who goes on and on about Bruce Springsteen, who champions ragged-voiced singer-songwriters no one has ever heard of. A rockist is someone who reduces rock'n'roll to a caricature, then uses that caricature as a weapon. Rockism means idolizing the authentic old legend (or undergound hero) while mocking the latest pop star; lionizing punk while barely tolerating disco; loving the live show and hating the music video; extoling the growling performer while hating the lip-syncher." -- Kelefa Sanneh, "The Rap Against Rockism", today's NYT, Section 2 front page.

I didn't know it had a name, but it's hard to beat the above as a pithy little summary of one of the major bugbears of living a life rooted in British pop sensibilities while surrounded by a California of earnest critics, hardline fans, and tribalist music.

Authenticity is the enemy of the real, Fashion the enemy of style, Devotion the enemy of enjoyment, Acclaim the enemy of the popular, Tribalism the enemy of movements, True the enemy of good, Heroes the enemy of the brave, Slogans the enemy of thought. Oops. I'll shut up now, while I'm still behind.


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