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sloanpolitik



hey james rocchi,

i read the christgau piece too.  he admits that's
he's being very hypocritical by complaining about
apolitical music on one hand and worshipping the
archers of loaf on the other.  

i'm exactly the same sort of hypocrite:  i have
the same complaint and i too worship the archers.

i think brendan's wrong about music&politics being
like oil&water (sorry big guy); it may seem like
that in 1996 but over the course of history the
story has been anything but that.  

it may be stating the obvious to say this but
pop music is directed by the changing winds of
culture, and right now, there is a widespread
skepticism of general principles and inflexible
dogma in our culture, a skepticism that i share.
people find it easier to believe in the local
than the universal, the timebound/changing 
rather than the transcendent/universal and so
on.  political dogma generalizes, by its very
nature, and thereby runs up against the wall
of cynicism.

there's this whole myth of punk's political
authenticity but by now, most post-punks look
back at the lyrics of their old records and
think "how could i have ever believed this?"
or "how simple-minded."  unless they haven't
grown up!  

sloan have never tried to hide their local
roots, they've never tried to plug themselves
into some kind of universalizing rock myth,
even if they've had some fun with that.  
and that makes them authentic to many people
(like me) right now.  as far as i'm concerned, 
their success in that regard makes them quite
important.  perhaps christgau would disagree.

i wonder if it has occurred to christgau 
that in an age when people disagree about
so many things and have such widely different
points of view, that music serves an important
political/social function in bringing people
together around the few things they still have
in common.

on the other hand, yes, narcissism can be a
distraction from important issues.  you've
raised the point before about how certain
artists cater to infantile urges in fans.

it's chilling when i think
about how much cultural power is now in so few
hands thanks to corporate control.  does giving
up on the notion of a common good, etc, mean
passive acceptance of a narrow corporate agenda?
john ralston saul seems to think so.  did anyone
see sook yin lee's rant on _the wedge_ about her
personal politics and her belief in what she
calls "anarchy"?  what she calls "anarchism" 
used to be called "shopping". 

anyways, i don't know how much that last
paragraph has to do with sloan, or if there's
any cohesive thought to this post, but right
now i kind of think why blame the musicians
for being politically inarticulate when no
one else seems to have a clue either?  and
it's not quite fair to say that indie rock
is completely apolitical, far from it.  but
"apoliticism" (or political passivity, if you
prefer) seems to be a recipe for acceptance
right now.

james

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