Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guys Named Mark

I have to say, my favorite blog entry today is Amanda Marcotte's piece on the revelation that there are fewer women reviewers on Pitchfork than (no word of a lie) guys named "Mark". Why?


[Insufferable Music Snobs] might, by the time they’re 30, mostly be cantankerous farts who have learned to cultivate their basic nerdiness into a veneer of cynical sexiness (the geek glasses look has been perennially popular since Elvis Costello for a reason), but deep down inside we all have romantic dreams of rock-and-roll excessiveness.Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having a giant and impressive record collection or a vast knowledge of obscure punk bands, but we all know that we’re going to our graves having never even run the risk of dying in a bathtub of overdose and while we know this is a good thing, it’s also a tad unromantic. Part of the traditional rock star allure, of course, is that the place of women in it is prone. Even though the 60s ended long ago, the fantasies of having groupie culture be cool again never completely fade. I suspect that the return of the guitar hero has as much to do with this as the video game does (which is J Train’s learned opinion). A percentage of male IMSes secretly (or not, depending on how drunk you get them) long for the days of hair metal, when the stage was all men and women were all spandex and hairspray, and hope through a properly ironic resurgence of guitar-heavy rock, they can get those days for themselves.
Bolding mine. AWESOME. That explains the odd appeal of music geeks (of various genders) better than any sentence I've seen in a while, and I can't disagree with the odd pull of unreconstructed rock excess.

(Though, that said, I'm amazed she didn't bring up Hip-Hop, which has actually done quite a good job of reproducing said excess seen through the lens of urban culture.)

And me, I'm with J Train. It's all about Guitar Hero. This is a culture that has men notoriously blow off "relations" for another round of Halo; video games are pretty important, and Guitar Hero is one of the most popular in ages. I can definitely see it having an impact.

Oh, and I also agree with Amanda about how women are treated in music culture, though I do think it also relates to the greater propensity of young males to find some sort of solitary activity to obsess over. (No, not THAT one.) A "music" nerd is still a nerd, and while music is very much a social phenomenon, the particular viewpoint on music that you see in the IMS isn't a very social one. If The Female Brain is correct, that's definitely a turn off to women, especially young women.

Anyway, that's one snippet of a great entry. Check it out.

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