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October 25 2006

<Molly> genres suck and also don't exist.

<Brennen> well, you could say the same about race, but I talk about "white guys". which is lazy but everyone knows what i mean. it's obvious that we're talking about ''something'' when we use words like that, but it's tricky to define that something in a non-harmful way if you're going to adhere to it or use it as a basis for judgment.

'course it's a lot easier in the real world to use genre as a shorthand when convenient and toss it out or redefine it when it's doing damage. still not easy, but easier than race.

<Molly> touche. imagine an accent over the "e".

<Alan> what's doubly-annoying is that this guy is like 5 years behind. 5 years ago i was thinking roughly the same thing. after all, photo album still stands out as possibly the best album of the 00's so far. "Styrofoam Plates" blows everything out of the water lyrically.

then you get over it, for various reasons, and become embarassed by your earlier ignorance. it's like when you read things you wrote a long time ago. the difference is, in this case, it's a push model rather than a pull model: you're constantly surrounded by people who remind you of your former ignorance. is this why we get so annoyed?

remember that brief period where we both lived in that place up on superior st.? that was the summer that The Killers' "Hot Fuss" came out. i remember getting that from Homer's the week it was released, then decided the album crapped out too much towards the end & taking it back for an exchange. i burned a copy (ARRRR!) but was over it by that fall. talk about subsequent annoyance...

<Brennen> yeah. partly this is what I mean by the mainstreaming of anything. the popularity process has this enormous lag time and a consequent skew even where it does intake the things that match your interest, so that if you have awareness in a given field you wind up hearing Modest Mouse one day on a Greatest Hits of the 80s 90s and TODAY! station and your ears almost do start bleeding from sheer frustration. (the first few times this sort of thing happened, I was like "oh, finally, this is working" - well, no it's not. it's just statistical. the process hasn't gained efficiency, taste, humanity, or proportionality just because it happens to pull in something I approve of. and god help you when something you've already written off with prejudice eats its way into the collective brain.)

former ignorance: well, I definitely have enough past-tense ignorance to be unpleasantly reminded of. somewhere around mid-2001, as filesharing was explosively recreating my understanding of the musical universe, I must have sounded noxiously evangelical about a lot of things I did not really understand. similarly a while later when I started listening to acoustic guitar and bluegrass in earnest.

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