So….evidently somebody compiled Alex Jones’ incoherent ramblings into a “song” – which went viral……

…….and (as with everything that goes “viral” – it mutated to the point where it is an entire subgenre in its own right.

And the totally trippy part is?  Alex Jones evidently thinks that this is cool, to the point where it has become some sort of “Infowars contest”, or some shit.

The “best” version I’ve seen (using “best” very loosely) is:

I’m……genuinely confused.

Another – even more confusing) version is:

As I said, I’m…….puzzled.

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“Genres” piss me off:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microgenre

Quite frankly, I am so totally over the whole “genre”-thing, I can’t even be bothered.

I tried to give a shit, I really did:  I genuinely tried to take the (misbegotten and idiotic) notion of a unified aesthetic “scene” involving a narrowly-circumscribed sonic “palette”, ready-made “tropes”, and clothing/hair-styles seriously — but I just don’t seem to have whatever serious cognitive defect is involved in that level of herd-conformity/pretentiousness seriously..

Quite frankly, any of the above-mentioned bullshit indicates that you don’t actually “like” any of it – and are merely using it as a system of “subcultural shibboleths”.

I find such things ridiculous.  I simply cannot help it.

I don’t find herd-conformity (even to a “niche” subculture) to be at all ‘edgy” – let alone “rebellious”.  Likewise, I simply can’t make myself stupid enough to be able to do/enjoy things “ironically”.

What the hell does that even mean, exactly?  “Oops!  I just did something/expressed an opinion which conflicts with the particular STEREOTYPE I’m slavishly aping!  Gotta figure out some way to “distance” myself from that lapse!  I know…..maybe if I SMIRK AT IT, I can “bluff” my way out of having failed to be sufficiently conformist!”

Doing things “ironically” is tantamount to the attempt to spit in your own face.

TL;DR: shove your “microgenre” bullshit. 

Just barely managed to sit through twenty minutes of a “documentary” on Bluegrass music. some observations:

The “Documentary” in question is called something like “Bluegrass country soul”, and involves (poorly-edited) footage taken at Carlton Haney’s 7th Bluegrass festival, sometime in the 1970s.

The things that stuck out most about the documentary (and the “scene” which it purports to be documenting), are as follows:

  1. OVERWHELMINGLY “WHITE” crowd.  There is some off-hand mention of occasional attendees from Japan, but the whole “scene” appeared to consist near-exclusively of WHITE Appalachian-types, and wannabe-Appalachian types.  Some vaguely hippie-ish “longhairs” in the crowd and as performers, but….the whole thing was weirdly (and rather tragically) segregated.

2. NO discernible “evolution” since whenever this documentary was filmed.  Bluegrass festivals (and “jam sessions”) tend to be exactly the same – at least they did as late as 2013, when I had my most recent opportunity to brush up against that particular genre-based “scene”.

You see exactly the same demographic/subcultural mix: hell, probably mostly the same people.  The “scene” is utterly stagnant and repetitive to the point where once you’ve gone to one such festival, you’ve essentially vicariously attended all of them.

This isn’t about some ersatz “tradition” dating from the 1940s.  This is about an increasingly-marginal (and never particularly “relevant”) music genre which has spent over fifty years dedicated to NOT evolving.

See, here’s the thing:  this isn’t about (for example) the “Great American Songbook”, or “Jazz Standards”, or whatever;  many music genres/subcultures develop a more or less coherent set of subcultural “shibboleths” – aesthetic/structural attributes which permit the most ignorant/least discerning elements of the “fan-base” to make snap-judgments about the (supposed) “authenticity’ of any given example.

That’s pathological in a different way, but that at least allows for a significant amount of exploration/syncretism/creativity (even if you do have to waste time and effort on fruitless debates over whether or not such “fusions”/derivative genres are “authentic”, or not.)

The situation with Bluegrass is weirdly different, in that even the most “exploratory” or “progressive” elements of the genre never substantively deviated from the defined aesthetic “palette”  set down by the “canonical” groups in the 1940s and ’50s:

“Fiddle”, guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, “Dobro”.

Even the most “progressive” individuals/groups seldom (if ever) deviated from the above formula, OR from the (increasingly stagnant and self-parodyling) palette of imagery related to Appalachian stereotypes.

Weirdly enough, the ersatz “HIllbillies” involved in the “Bluegrass” scene never seemed to do anything to actually help appalachia develop.

Why is this, do you think?  Could it have something to do with the fact that they had either managed to escape from the grinding stagnation/poverty/degradation of “the holler”?

I submit that the “Bluegrass” music scene was to Appalachia what “hip-hop culture”/basketball is to the urban “Minority” subcultures: a way for *some* to escape the specific “ghetto” into which they were unlucky enough to have been born:

Because make no mistake:  Applachia is definitely a ghetto, in many respects:

http://theweek.com/articles/452321/appalachia-big-white-ghetto

Quite frankly Appalachia is irremediably fucked:

There is here a strain of fervid and sometimes apocalyptic Christianity, and visions of the Rapture must have a certain appeal for people who already have been left behind. Like its black urban counterparts, the Big White Ghetto suffers from a whole trainload of social problems, but the most significant among them may be adverse selection: Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain.

There’s the tragedy, right there: the “vibrant folk-culture” of the region has been relentlessly exploited and milked by everyone from Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax and other “musicologists”, and used as a means to GTFO by such folks as Bill Monroe and Jean Ritchie – while the region itself has either been ignored or ridiculed.

To the extent  that there was ever anything resembling an “economy” in that region, it consisted primarily of resource extraction (most notably, coal-mining).    Now, the region is both “played out” in terms of mining (hence the mountaintop-removal thing) and no longer nearly as economically “necessary”  (due to coal mining in other regions of the world, and other fuel sources – fracking, “renewables”, etc.)

At any rate: the “vibrant folk culture” milked by Lomax and others has now become essentially an affectation for the (comparatively) well-off in other regions.  Appalachia itself?  Not so much:

THERE ARE LOTS of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Bread–hued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.

No amount of “bluegrass festivals” or “quilting bees” is ever going to solve those problems – Bean Blossom notwithstanding.

 

As with so many other things, I probably don’t “respect” your “taste” in music, either:

Quite frankly, the vast majority of those who claim to “love music” really don’t.

Why?

To the vast majority, music is merely another “shibboleth” – a means by which they advertise their Demographic/subcultural”identity”, and – equally important – find others of the same “identity” category – a “herd’ with which to run.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibboleth

I submit that this is an illegitimate view of “music” – because it requires that one (implicitly or explicitly) reduce music to a mere means – NOT even to artistic expression, or self-discovery or anything of that nature – but to the equivalent of a gang-sign, or “fashion” statement.

A textbook example of this is the fact that teenagers (in particular) are supposed to “love” music.   Telingly, the way that they going about “loving” music is radically different from the approach of a someone who genuinely values music:

Just as an example, (White) “folks” around my age were required to (at least pretend to) love the so-called “Seattle Sound”.  There was a very specific palette of groups which were relentlessly shoved down our collective throats (primarily by corporate marketartds and spin-pigs who were not teenagers themsevles).  Moreover, these “preferences’ in music  went hand-in-glove (pun very much intended) with “preferences” in fashion.

Predictably (as anyone with even a reasonably curious mind, and a willingness to venture beyond the incredibly narrow sociocultural “boxes” which we euphemistically label “generation”, “ethnicity”, etc.) – all of this (purportedly) “new” music was incredibly derivative.

The amazing thing about this is: none of the “authorized” subcultures (“alternative”, metal, grunge, punk) would openly admit this fact.   At most, one was “permitted” to engage in musicological transgressions (say, listening to material originating from a genre OTHER than the one(s) permitted to your specific ‘identity’) – provided that you did so “ironically”.

That’s where the whole “Gen-X Irony” thing comes in: it serves the dual purpose of “allowing” (White (Gen-Xers to engage with content which is “foreign” to their own subcultural clique – while scoring “points” from their in-group, by means of winking inauthenticity.

Now, this has always been blatantly obvious to me – especially after I made the mistake of actually asking for clarification with regard to a music genre/group someone claimed to “hate”.

Specifically, the genre in question was (predictably) rap, and the individual(s) upon whom I tried this little experiment ranged from significantly older than myself (60+) to teens.  (this would probably have been around 2012, the last time I tried something like this).

Basically, it consisted of nothing more than the following: Whenever somebody specifically made a point of openly stating that they “hated” (or even merely disliked) rap, I merely inquired as to WHY.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, the individual(s) were incapable of formulating a coherent reply.

See, here’s my reasoning on this:

  1. The whole premise of classifying music ‘genres” implicitly – or explicitly – involves grouping musical “products” by means of specific characteristics –  choice of instrumentation (if any), vocal style, “permissible” palette of rhythm/key-signatures, chord progressions, subject matter, etc.
  2. People should be able to explain (at least in some terms) why they like/dislike such “genres” – with reference to the above criteria.

If you are unable to explain why you hate a particular musical ‘genre”, then I am unable to regard your response – no matter how passionate it may be – as anything other than an incoherent tantrum on your part.

Moreover, I really can’t bring myself to give two liquidy shits WHAT you (think you) “like” or “hate”, in most cases.

There are a few exceptions:  IF you can articulate what you like about your (supposed) aesthetic ‘tastes”, and I am in a position where I am ‘expected” to buy you a gift — then yeah, you  will likely get something I can be reasonably certain that you’ll enjoy.

However, if you are the other variety of person — who cannot articulate their own aesthetic tastes — then in an identical situation, I am more likely to gift you with something originating from the genre you claim to “hate“.

As the old saying goes: try it –you might like it.

There are people who genuinely value music as something other than a demographic Shibboleth.

For example: Paul Pena was one such person:

As chronicled in the the documentary “Genghis Blues”:

The documentary captures the story of blind blues musician Paul Pena. After a brush with fame and success in the 1970s, Pena’s fortunes faded as he dealt with career and health problems.

While listening to shortwave radio, Pena heard a broadcast of throatsinging, the Tuvan art of manipulating overtones while singing to make higher frequencies more distinguishable, essentially making it possible to sing two notes at once. Pena, over the course of several years, taught himself to throatsing to a very impressive degree. He eventually attended a concert of throatsinging and after the concert impressed one of the throatsingers, Kongar-ol Ondar, who invited him to visit Tuva, a republic of the Russian Federation and a formerly independent country from 1921 and 1944 under the name of People’s Republic of Tannu Tuva and the home of throatsinging, to sing in the triennial throatsinging festival held there.

The entire journey, as well as the extraordinary mix of cultures and music, is captured in the documentary.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Blues

Think about that: an impoverished blind man – willing to go half-way around the world, to attend a Tuvan throat-singing festival.  HE GENUINELY “LOVED” MUSIC.

He also genuinely loved such things as: personal growth, and getting outside of the “boxes” imposed on him by demographics/social isolation/health problems, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Pena