Archive for the 'culture' Category

Simon Reynolds on fandom

I think I’ve met them all now. For me, there are no more heroes left. And no new ones coming along, by the look of it. It could be that this is a time marked by a dearth of characters, or that the smart people in rock aren’t interested in self-projection but in obliterating noise. But really, I think, it’s the case that, in this job, you don’t have the time to develop obsessions, what with the insane turnover, and all the incentives to pluralism.

The heroes you have kind of linger on from a prior period when only a few records passed through your life, when you had time to get fixated, spend days living inside a record. It’s a real effort to click back to that frame of mind, which is bad because fanaticism is the true experience of pop – I think of the splendid devotion of all those bright girls who, as soon as they’ve got hold of the new Cure or New Order or Bunnymen record, immediately set to learning the lyrics by heart then spend days exhaustively interpreting the Tablets From On High, struggling to establish some fit between their experience and what is actually some drunken doggerel cobbled together in a studio off-moment.

Seriously, I approve. I approve the deadly seriousness, the piety, the need for something sacred in your life. However deluded.

It’s become a reflex for critics to castigate the readers for being partisan, for being sluggish and single-minded in their choices. We exhort you to disconnect, discard, and move on, acquire a certain agility as consumers. But maybe this ideal state of inconstancy we advocate only makes for fitter participants in capitalism. For the one thing that makes rock more than simply an industry, the one thing that transcends the commodity relation, is fidelity, the idea of a relationship. There are voices that you turn to as a friend, and you don’t just turn your back on your friends if they go off the rails. You hang around.

–Simon Reynolds, Melody Maker, March 12, 1988

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“a cat may look at a king”

From BoingBoing: A recent episode of Public Radio International’s To the Best of Our Knowledge dealt with remix, reuse, and plagiarism:

Author Jonathan Lethem talks to Jim Fleming about his “Harper’s” Magazine essay, “The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism.” As the subtitle indicates, Jonathan Lethem appropriated the words of many authors to cover the subject of plagiarism, although he provides full attribution of his sources at the end of the essay. Also, Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid) talks to Anne Strainchamps about his book, Rhythm Science, and how the art of music sampling relates to plagiarism. We also hear a DJ Spooky/TTBOOK interview mashup.

MP3 link: here

The Lethem essay is online: here. I remember hearing about it but never read it all the way through till now; it’s astonishingly good — a fantastic summary of today’s cultural moment.

As I quoted in my senior undergraduate thesis:

Am Ende ist alle Poësie Übersetzung.
In the end all literature is translation.
Novalis, a.k.a. Friedrich von Hardenberg

As I wrote in the conclusion chapter, my own translations were intended to “illustrate (and hopefully validate) my twofold assertion: that emulation is not bad literary practice but a respectable and indeed essential part of creation, and conversely that the insertion of one’s own personality and culture is not a sign of bad or unfaithful translation. On the contrary, both processes are unavoidable, and so we might as well do them openly.”


Leigh Walton talks comics and maybe other arts. (RSS)
He also works for the very excellent publisher Top Shelf Productions (which does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions, etc, herein).

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Header by me. Contains an interpolation of the final panel from All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Speaking of which.