Like most bloggers, I find myself repeating myself on certain pet issues because I’m not doing my job well enough – I can’t fully articulate in a single post the highly important information I’m trying to convey. This is as frustrating for me the writer as it is for you the reader. Thankfully, sometimes another blogger steps in with something that perfectly sums up the arguments in a witty, entertaining and informative post.
This was the case with The Trichordist, who this week posted a response to another blog post by Emily White at NPR. Emily’s original post made the confession that she had “only bought 15 CDs in (her) lifetime”. As you well know, I make a point of buying music regularly, which I view as making an investment as much as being honest and paying what I owe. In this day and age, such transactions can be delightfully personal – such as the sweet little email I got from Teho Teardo apologising for the (slight) delay in shipping out his single – which makes shopping for music as pleasurable as chatting with the owner of the village hardware store. David Lowery’s response to Emily White set out a well-informed, easy-to-digest list of reasons on how and why the current music system is unsustainable, and what she can personally do to make things better.
There’s a certain irony in how we treat different dilemmas on the internet. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the new campaign video from the Dalai Lama, “Be The Change”, which suggests that we’re comfortable seeing fashionable people (Beth Ditto, Willem Dafoe and Grimes, among others) discuss moral issues – so why are we so reluctant to tackle the moral implications of the music business?
Even though I’m more likely to be found doing the housework in pink stilettos than I am writing about gender politics (and I don’t do that very often), I did have to agree with Jezebel’s take on Fifty Shades of Grey. Having read some selected quotes from what is now the fastest-selling book in history, I’m slightly depressed by its popularity. Even though JK Rowling’s Nazi allegory was a little hamfisted, the Harry Potter saga is the literary equivalent of a Spielberg movie – populist, functional and sometimes very good. Fifty Shades reads like Twilight fan fiction, which is because it IS Twilight fan fiction. Every single part of that is wrong. Even supposing you could get past the f***ing weak, f***ing pathetic, f***ing vapid nature of its “heroine”, you’re still left with the fact that it’s completely f***ing b*llocks.
(*Trigger warning*) This is definitely the week of win for the left-wing media, because I again found myself nodding emphatically with the Guardian’s comments about the new Tomb Raider game. I made a rare outburst on Twitter yesterday about how fed up I was with (attempted) rape being used as a girl-in-a-refrigerator plot device, because in most cases I can come up with one of two suppositions: either that the writer is too incompetent to come up with anything better, or that he (and, let’s face it, it’s he) secretly gets off on the idea. I’m not saying that the subject can never be tackled in the media, but too often it’s a lazy shorthand that doubles as repugnant titillation for boys who are scared of girls.
Perhaps the Tomb Raider reboot is unfairly maligned and that it’s all a misunderstanding, but the very appeal of Lara Croft was that she was pure fantasy – rich, smart and powerful. She’d naturally be quite feisty because of those things – hell, I’m quite feisty without being rich or powerful because deep down in my innermost heart I usually assume that I’m right. Smart girls with big guns don’t need big traumas – and, besides, what happened to just plain wanting to save the world?
Finally, that nasty business with the row here (I won’t link) about Magma’s worrying politics has always weighed heavily on my mind – I hate that there was such an unpleasant argument about it, and I’m constantly annoyed that I can’t enjoy their music because of their problematic content. (It’s also, as I said, an issue when it comes to the music of Michael Jackson or Roman Polanski’s films.) I’ve come to terms that there are just some things that I can’t participate in because of that sensitivity, but a post linked to in that Guardian piece helps me understand (and be a lot less judgemental towards) people who continue to enjoy objectionable things.
Do check out those posts – each thought-provoking and elegantly written.