Nerdgasm Furore April 5, 2011 2:41 PM   Subscribe

There was a song about nerds posted on MetaFilter, and some of the responses to the song were not positive, and now the singer has responded to those responses!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 to MetaFilter-Related at 2:41 PM (307 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Yay, but eesh.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:48 PM on April 5, 2011


Why the hell did this comment get 13 favorites?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:48 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Laugh track
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on April 5, 2011


as responses go i've certainly seen worse but i got to this part

I guess that's all from Jennifer Teeter. You guys made me feel like an unknown, chubby Rebecca Black, so, thanks?

and i was like OH COME THE FUCK ON
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:57 PM on April 5, 2011


I favorited that because it summed up my feelings about the link in the OP. I feel sort of bad for the performer, because that link wasn't framed at all, so the initial reaction is that it's some "bacon-firefly-starwars-ipad-squeeee" thing, which apparently it isn't. But how are we to know? I think any time you post something to this site with the idea of "Hey you know how we all uniformly love this thing? Check this shit out!" you're going to get a population of users who don't in fact uniformly love that thing, find it sort of stupid, and resent being lumped together. Whenever I see something like that it feels like I'm reading BoingBoing... and there's a very good reason I don't read BoingBoing. That's how I felt about that post, and I think it's the reason that it went so badly off the rails.

Perhaps now I understand why some people react so poorly to certain SLYT posts that I enjoy.
posted by codacorolla at 3:01 PM on April 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am an asshole, by habit, and I thought that thread was too assholish by a long shot. Folks need to chill out.
posted by everichon at 3:14 PM on April 5, 2011


Since I wrote the word "folks", I am now thinking of filk. Was what Ms. Teeter did a filk song?
posted by everichon at 3:15 PM on April 5, 2011


Tell me more about these nerds you speak of.
posted by Mister_A at 3:17 PM on April 5, 2011


Since I wrote the word "folks", I am now thinking of filk. Was what Ms. Teeter did a filk song?

Hasn't the poor lady suffered enough without you accusing her of performing filk music?
posted by codacorolla at 3:20 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


At least it wasn't felch music. Although, any music could technically serve as that.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:21 PM on April 5, 2011


UKE FILK!
posted by everichon at 3:28 PM on April 5, 2011


Hasn't the poor lady suffered enough without you accusing her of performing filk music?

I seriously second that. My mom, bless her, was a filk fan. My siblings and I sort of raced each other after she died to trash those well thumbed cassettes.
posted by bearwife at 3:33 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


as responses go i've certainly seen worse but i got to this part

I guess that's all from Jennifer Teeter. You guys made me feel like an unknown, chubby Rebecca Black, so, thanks?

and i was like OH COME THE FUCK ON


You're totally right. That came from a hurt feelings place and not a diplomatic response place. If I could edit, I would. I would also fix the rampant typos, but I'm three beers in at this point, so it is what it is.
posted by jenniferteeter at 3:39 PM on April 5, 2011 [34 favorites]


Why the hell did this comment get 13 favorites?

Because it expressed disdain for BoingBoing. Haters gonna hate.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:42 PM on April 5, 2011


jenniferteeter: I hope you don't let the negativity get to you and drive you away. There's a lot of wonderful things about MetaFilter which far outweigh all that other crap.

And yes, I know what you mean about wanting to edit comments. I've made a doozy or three during my time here. :)
posted by hippybear at 3:45 PM on April 5, 2011


You seem cool, jenniferteeter. I hope you stick around.
posted by lalex at 3:45 PM on April 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


One of us. One of us.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:46 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sympathize with this young woman, having just released my own album, which Wired wrote a little piece about, which immediately brought droves of contempt my way. As the first dozen or so comments were published within minutes of the piece being published, most commenting on my appearance (somehow they sussed out that I am hipster), I think I am safe in presuming that it wasn't a careful or considered critique they were offering up, but the knee-jerk contempt that is endemic to the web. And then a bunch of them rushed over to iTunes to give my album one star and to write things like "I'd rather have kittens tied to my face," although, since none of them bought it first, and iTunes only allows a snippet of each song, I think I am safe in presuming that their responses were, yet again, not in-depth. It can be pretty discouraging, and I think it is as poisonous to creativity as threadshitting is to online discussion. I felt like I was back in high school, when I drew an illustration in a class, left for a minute, and returned to find my illustration torn up with the words "You suck" on it.

But what are you going to do? Some of the people are trolls, and, if you engage them, they win. And some honestly don't like what you've done, and, hey, I put out a punk album, and punk is supposed to have people a little stirred up, so I can't complain when it works.

It's still a little startling. I mean, in my day job, I'm an arts critic, and, in general, if I don't like something, unless I feel it represents a broader artistic or social trend that I want to explore, I won't write about it. I've been doing this long enough to know that people do perfectly well on their own avoiding bad art, and don't need my help, and there is enough to celebrate that I would rather focus on that. Nobody scores any worthwhile points by being the first to hate something.

Jennifer, from a kindred spirit, some people just don't know when their opinion is not required.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:47 PM on April 5, 2011 [48 favorites]


jenniferteeter, if you write a song about Tarkovsky and Lem and hmm I dunno maybe work David Foster Wallace into it somehow you will be by your uke redeem'd. Mark me!

Oh and bikes.

But not fixed-gear, that could blow up in your face in a place like this.
posted by everichon at 3:49 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


'Firefly' was cancelled?
posted by clavdivs at 3:52 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


somehow they sussed out that I am hipster

Cold busted!
posted by ODiV at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The funny thing is, I didn't really like the song, but I listened to her other songs, and enjoyed them, so I'm now a fan. Yay Jennifer Teeter!
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:55 PM on April 5, 2011


She's doing better than that other guy did.

And yeah, haters gonna hate. Fuck em if they can't take a joke.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:01 PM on April 5, 2011


Astro Zombie: having just released my own album, which Wired wrote a little piece about

Hope you don't mind me doing this, but:

Wired article. Sample song.

I, for one, dig the song. I am jealous of your easy rock and roll voice.

I also like everything about jenniferteeter I have seen so far.
posted by ericost at 4:04 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I, for one, dig the song. I am jealous of your easy rock and roll voice.

Thank you. It's getting its share of three and four stars. Some people are going to like what I did, and the nice thing about the Web is that it makes it possible for me to find them.

(Psst. Rate the album if you liked it.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:07 PM on April 5, 2011


I'd missed that the first time around and, though the squeeling audience was annoying, it brightened my commute this morning. So yay.

What is it the Americans say? Haters something something?
posted by pompomtom at 4:10 PM on April 5, 2011


You're Metafilter's Own Jennifer Teeter now, so you have that going for you.

Which is nice.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:27 PM on April 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


This stuff is just old, boring, shit in the first place and deservedly hated upon. Playing feeble, unfunny songs on the ukulele is like cross-stitching a portrait of Paris Hilton's mugshot, or glueing the guts of an antique pocketwatch onto a spraypainted waterpistol and selling it on etsy as steampunk. It's prevalent because it's easy - part of the mammoth Boing Boing-inspired, creatively desolate internet circle jerk of in-joke mediocrity.
posted by fire&wings at 4:27 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


This stuff is just old, boring, shit...[ negative, insensitive comment follows]

Yo, dude, I could say the exact same thing about your comment. Someone's feelings have been hurt already, so why not knock it the fuck off? The world doesn't have to conform to your tastes, and you can express your differences and criticisms in ways that reflect the person who made this is right here. Jesus. Why do you feel the need to be so unnecessarily jerky? Do you go up to people on the street and start bitching about how tired their outfits are?
posted by smoke at 4:32 PM on April 5, 2011 [45 favorites]


I'm all about the cynicism and cooler-than-thou, but it feels misplaced on this one. It's a silly song, done well and knowingly by a good and interesting performer. It may not be my big thing, but it makes people happy and is a million times better than most of the stuff on the classic rock station my coworker inflicts on me.
posted by Forktine at 4:38 PM on April 5, 2011


FREEBIRD!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 PM on April 5, 2011


fire&wings: "This stuff is just old, boring, shit in the first place and deservedly hated upon. Playing feeble, unfunny songs on the ukulele is like cross-stitching a portrait of Paris Hilton's mugshot, or glueing the guts of an antique pocketwatch onto a spraypainted waterpistol and selling it on etsy as steampunk. It's prevalent because it's easy - part of the mammoth Boing Boing-inspired, creatively desolate internet circle jerk of in-joke mediocrity."

The fuck, man?
posted by Splunge at 4:39 PM on April 5, 2011


That's a long way to say "I do not get out enough."
posted by The Whelk at 4:40 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am normally on the side of not being an asshole, but I have a hard time really finding fault with what fire&wings is doing here. Maybe this isn't the right thread for it, but I don't see a problem with registering a reaction to a song that was submitted for public consumption. I just don't. Fire&wings isn't saying Jennifer sucks at life...this is all about the song itself.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:41 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: part of the mammoth Boing Boing-inspired, creatively desolate internet circle jerk of in-joke mediocrity.

Surely the entire comment was just the setup for someone to do that? Surely?
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:42 PM on April 5, 2011


"I would also fix the rampant typos, but I'm three beers in at this point, so it is what it is."

Ah. Your problem is that you are not drunk enough.

DRINK MOAR FOR META!
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Making a list of things we are supposed to share contempt for is not the same thing as criticism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:50 PM on April 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


part of the mammoth Boing Boing-inspired, creatively desolate internet circle jerk of in-joke mediocrity

This isn't the thread about Helen Thomas getting funky on the Jew's harp, is it? Those music threads never wendell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 PM on April 5, 2011


What is it the Americans say? Haters something something?
Colloquial phrases may be easier to recall if you associate a memorable image with them.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:59 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


(And did I have a little pang wishing I could use the img tag just then? I did, I admit it.)
posted by Wolfdog at 5:00 PM on April 5, 2011


This stuff is just old, boring, shit in the first place and deservedly hated upon. Playing feeble, unfunny songs on the ukulele is like cross-stitching a portrait of Paris Hilton's mugshot, or glueing the guts of an antique pocketwatch onto a spraypainted waterpistol and selling it on etsy as steampunk. It's prevalent because it's easy - part of the mammoth Boing Boing-inspired, creatively desolate internet circle jerk of in-joke mediocrity.

Ugh, fucking whatever. Seriously, this comment just reeks of vicious angst and pretension. It comes across like you've been lying in wait for a moment in which you could regale us with your oh-so-clever, carefully crafted witticisms.
posted by lalex at 5:10 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I sort of agree with that, and even I think it's a dickish, rude comment. There are better ways to express frustration with internet culture than personal insults.

It does make me wonder what makes people so defensive in cases like this... maybe a rush to prove that despite your few thousand comments on an Internet board, you're not really a nerd after all. I admit, I'm guilty occasionally.
posted by codacorolla at 5:21 PM on April 5, 2011


DRINK MOAR FOR META!


ON IT.
posted by The Whelk at 5:22 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, I had first post in that thread, a mildly worded, "am I the only one who's getting tired of the ukelele?", which I do not now regret saying. As for Ms. Teeter, she seems like a decent enough person who intended no evil with her performance. From her comment:

"Now that every girl with a threadless t-shirt is picking up a uke and singing about Harry Potter, I feel like I might need to move on."

Maybe just go electric with that ukelele? Nope, people are already getting cheap laughs out of that. How about getting an electric mandolin then? It worked for FM back in the 70s. Sort of.
posted by philip-random at 5:25 PM on April 5, 2011


There are better ways to express frustration with internet culture than personal insults.

That would be a fine thing to say, except that these are not personal insults. The person who wrote and recorded the song is here, so it may seem personal, but it isn't. I agree with AZ that as criticism goes, it's not really specific enough to be very good. But better criticism would, I'm sorry, probably not lead to a kinder reading of this song. It would probably just do a better job of unpacking why exactly it is that so many people seem to dislike it. I mean, even the creator doesn't seem to be crazy about it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:32 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


This stuff is just old, boring, shit in the first place and deservedly hated upon.

I think of this when I read comments that trash other people's creative endeavors.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:35 PM on April 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


It would probably just do a better job of unpacking why exactly it is that so many people seem to dislike it.

Perhaps. There is some value in recognizing when something just isn't to your specific tastes. There's a lot of culture out there that doesn't have me as a specific audience. When I write about it, I try to recognize that other people may experience, and understand, the art differently than I do. Obviously whoever posted the song in the first place appreciated it, and Jennifer continues playing it because people respond to it. I try not to trample too roughly on what other people love, even when I myself don't love it, especially if it is not intended for me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:38 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y'know, AZ's got a point - I know jug band music's not for me, so I don't bother seeking it out just to let its creator know his/her creative efforts are, to a single other person, worthless.

Some people see an outstretched neck and reach to bestow a kiss; others take its pulse; still others race to see who gets to the hatchet first. That's how life works, and it has little to do with the neck's owner.

Jennifer Teeter, welcome to Metafilter; just like real life, it only goes forward. I hope you stick around!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:52 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


To be fair I think Bill Hicks told a more than a few dick jokes.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:53 PM on April 5, 2011


"The best of life is conversation, and the greatest success is confidence, or perfect understanding between two people." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome jenniferteeter!
posted by netbros at 5:59 PM on April 5, 2011


I stand by what I said about what "nerd" culture has become. I will, however, concede that the awfulness of the ukulele is nothing compared to the awfulness of "nerdcore" rap. Jennifer Teeter, thank you for not being a nerdcore rapper.
posted by fuq at 6:02 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm working on a ukelele cover version of 'Fire and Rain,' but with clever new fire&wings lyrics.

First step, I've got to find a ukelele. No, first step, I've got to eat some wings.
posted by box at 6:04 PM on April 5, 2011


Am I the only one who keeps reading Tater instead of Teeter
posted by P.o.B. at 6:05 PM on April 5, 2011


?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:06 PM on April 5, 2011


This is what it sounds like when nerds beanplate
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, see that people! Just keep your typos at the end of your comments!
posted by P.o.B. at 6:06 PM on April 5, 2011


Like AZ I recently released something and got negative comments.

Reddit holds a "Game Jam" every once in a while, the challenge is to write a complete (as it can be) game in 48 hours based on a theme. This was the first time I actually completed it and I promptly uploaded it to dropbox. However, it got so many hits and it stops serving the file after X many hits a day, so I had to upload it to...Kongregate, which has a rating system and comments. There were a lot of negative comments that popped up quickly (and it's a "gamer" community, which makes things sorta worse) and I was really...really kind of devastated for a bit.

One of my friends was a journalist for a local paper for a while, and all of his stuff was posted online to the new's organization's site, complete with comment section. His advice, which had been cemented in me for a while, was "Don't read the comments"

I realized that the comments don't matter. Did these people write an article? Did they program a game in 48 hours? Did they write a song? No. So they have no frame of reference that would make any bit of use to the creator. If I want feedback I get my internet friends, who are removed enough from me to give critical feedback, but aren't assholes. There's a temptation that all feedback can be valuable, but it really isn't.

There's too much mindless consumption in the world, people should be generally celebrated for trying to do something original.

Haters are gonna hate, because that's all they can do.
posted by hellojed at 6:13 PM on April 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


What are you if you hate haters? Hater-hater?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:18 PM on April 5, 2011


No, that's a double-negative. You're a lover.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:19 PM on April 5, 2011


Nah, you'd be a tater.
posted by pompomtom at 6:25 PM on April 5, 2011


Hater haters gonna hate haters.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:26 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


or glueing the guts of an antique pocketwatch onto a spraypainted waterpistol and selling it on etsy as steampunk.

DON'T DIS STEAMPUNK. Dang. I'll be 42 at the end of May, and if Steampunk had been around when I was a teen, I'd have been all over it like something that's all over something else. And you know what, I'd *STILL* love it today. That shit is freaking awesome and people get great joy out of it and STFU using it as a metaphor for crap. There's crappy Steampunk, but that doesn't mean Steampunk is crap. I'm calling Sturgeon's Law.

And now I'm going to go put on my brass goggles and ride my steamcycle down to the Alchemy Goggles Inn, where I'll down pint or two of ale while debating whether Datamancer's Opti-Transcription is a replacement of, or complement to, Gutenberg's movable type.

(I would totally drink at a bar called The Alchemy Goggles.)
posted by tzikeh at 6:28 PM on April 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dig if you will the ascii art
Of you and I engaged in flamewar
The sound of your flagging covers me
Can you my contact
Can you create some ascii art for this?

Dream if you can a comic-con
An ocean of costumes in bloom
Poseurs strike curious poses
They feel the MeTa
The MeTa between me and you

How can you just leave me typing?
Alone in a thread that's so GRARY (So GRARY)
Maybe I'm just too damn fighty
Maybe I'm just like my father too twitchy
Maybe you're just like my mother
She's never gratified (She's never gratified)
Why do we type at each other?
This is what it sounds like
When Mefites sigh ironically
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 PM on April 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Maybe a hater hater would be a masterhater ... of taters?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:30 PM on April 5, 2011


You see... people all of a sudden are latching on to this "haters gonna hate" thing, I guess partially because it's a meme or whatever. But let me tell you something: never take a fiction workshop if you can't stand the hating of haters.

People are supposed to be nice. They're not. They hide snide insults behind kind-seeming comments that start with "Well, you may want to look in to..." and then proceed to call you an asshole, an idiot, and a bad writer in smiling, friendly tones. You know what they're doing, and they know what they're doing, and the instructor knows what they're doing. But that's the goddamn point of a workshop. The constructive part of the criticism is mostly there as a necessary social nicety to stop people from throwing their manuscripts at one another, but that shit's still pretty brutal.

You put things in the public eye for people to criticize, and if you can read past the personal insults and vitriol (a lot more prevalent on the Internet, I admit) then you can gain something from the experience. If no one discusses things like the video that was posted, and all you get is fawning praise (which is another aspect of fiction workshopping which will make you scowl and curse) then that's far worse than having to endure a little hate. You learn nothing when the only voice you're hearing a bunch of people telling you how great you are.

People say that there's a difference between constructive criticism and personal vendetta, but I'm not so sure about that. Or, at least, the difference is that you have to unpack one level of passive aggressive fake-friendly smirking with the constructive criticism.

Basically: haters are, indeed, going to hate, and instead of pretending that they don't exist, and falling in to a small bubble of fawning praise, listen to them to see if they're hating for a good reason, and do what you can to change and improve.
posted by codacorolla at 6:38 PM on April 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


DRINK MOAR FOR META!


ROGER ROGER.

Still have half a liter of vodka left after the Bloody Mary thread on Sunday. Whoo.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:42 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A small addendum: I also dislike the mantra of "Well, you've never constructed a doll out of your own spit and pubic hair, so who are you to judge!?" (or whatever, sorry I've been writing this paper for a long goddamn time and my brain is going to strange, bad places).

Ok. Not everyone has every done everything that you may do artistically. But that's, like, the point of creating stuff for a general audience. You want people to like your shit, which means that you're going to be writing for non-writers, and designing for non-designers, and constructing hair dolls for non-weirdos. You want the feedback of those uninformed people, because they are your audience.

Unless you're doing something purely as a hobby, and never, ever show it to anybody, you should listen to how your audience responds, even if that response is hooting derision at you.
posted by codacorolla at 6:46 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Basically: haters are, indeed, going to hate, and instead of pretending that they don't exist, and falling in to a small bubble of fawning praise, listen to them to see if they're hating for a good reason, and do what you can to change and improve.

The whole point of "haters gonna hate" to me is that there is some small group of people for whom hating is an activity in and of itself, not necessarily attached to any real thing or even any real response to any real thing. So yeah there are jerkish people in a fiction writing workshop who may just be offering criticism with a veneer of politeness when they're really trying to say "It sucks" but at least you're there in the workshop asking for people to tell you what they think (and I've been in fiction workshops where that sort of sneeritude was absolutely not allowed and I don't think my writing suffered). And yeah if you're going to be a public person it's worth being able to weather people giving you a hard time, it's just going to happen.

But this doesn't mean that every snarky asshole has a point, and especially not one you should listen to and take to heart. Because maybe they're not your target audience, or maybe you're not trying to please everyone, or maybe you don't care about criticism of your ukulele playing from people who don't even like the damned thing. I mean I guess it would be high praise to hear "Well I usually hate the fucking ukulele but you've really given me reason to reasses the entire genre with your skillful playing" but most of the time people would like some feedback from people who are people who like some things and don't like other things and who seem sincerely interested in helping someone do a better job or be better at what they're doing. Just because your stuff is on the internet doesn't mean everyone on the internet is your target audience.

The entire internet is full of people who will give you boisterous negative feedback on whatever it is that you do, no matter how awesome, no matter how hard you tried, no matter if you've had a bad day, no matter if they couldn't do it themselves. If you're female [and sometimes even if you're male] they'll add digs about how you look or what you're wearing on top of it. And you can't please the entire internet, and you shouldn't try. Some people just hate on things, and they're just going to. And this is what haters gonna hate means. It's totally fine for Jennifer not to give a shit about any of it if she wants to.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:50 PM on April 5, 2011 [60 favorites]


I mean, even the creator doesn't seem to be crazy about it.

Yes, but don't forget, the creator has a master plan.

that's what the best yodeler in jazz has to say, anyway...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:54 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but what about the people who AREN'T your audience? I sing for the chorus of the Seattle Symphony. A couple of years ago, we premiered the Symphony of Meditations by Kernis, a very 21st-century work. There were a lot of really on-point editorial comments available to be made about that, both the work and our performance of it, but would it have been worth it to get depressed over someone who ranted about it for hours because they hate contemporary classical music in general and think that melody died with Mozart?

I submit that it would not. So too, if you're not into a lady with a uke making SF allusions no matter what then perhaps that's your issue and not the lady's.
posted by KathrynT at 6:56 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or, you know, what jessamyn said, that's good too.
posted by KathrynT at 6:57 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Abd, yeah, Jennifer, by all means, post some songs over at Metafilter Music, OK? It's a warm and friendly community over there, very supportive, and it'll be a chance for you to show off some of your other stuff!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:58 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, please note, "abd" is how we spell "and" around here. That's important.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:59 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, I think Metafilter Music has its own little thing. I think they would like Jennifer, but it's really not a target audience for every type of music.
posted by malocchio at 7:01 PM on April 5, 2011


... they hate contemporary classical music in general and think that melody died with Mozart

No, no. Everyone knows that melody died with Cobain, exactly 17 years ago.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:02 PM on April 5, 2011


Mr. Heaters gonna heat.

This just warms the cockles of my... oh, no, wait, it is a journey down 'just saying what no one else CAN' road, carved through, "I'm tough on the internet what with my superior rationality and critical reasoning skills, tougher than people living in a warzone, harden up yall over sensitives"-mountain, with a stopoff in the pit of "I hate things that are popular, and think this is actually a 'unique' position" town. -My issue is that it is an OLD road- Worn deeply, grooved ruts hampering the wagon wheels actually turning... not some "revolutionary new way forward that will once and for all show us True Culture". It is someone telling me what to like or to be ashamed of liking the same, same exact way that meme culture, or whatever-annoys-the-seen-it-alls, is the opposite-but-same...

Just because it is popular/popculture doesn't mean someone is "a moran" for liking or giggling along with others over something; which is why I can live in the same world as someone gaga for gaga, but not... LOVE it... but also not lose it, and judge the deep and eternal darkness of their beings worth, or however it was that that line went... when they express some enjoyment a song/pop-artifact/belief/association.

The crazy thing is that the "we need to hate it cus it is like something else that is popular or makes comment/reference to popular X, or cloy's someone... is itself a groupthink thing, and it is so often expressed in a cliché way... bordering on being humourons, but closer to weird science. Now all we need is the animated koolaid guy to break a fourth wall, and strew references to that movie 1986, about the Communists or something...

So, no, unimpressed by the powers of 'critique', practice more in private for prowess points in greater abundance. Now going to go see what music this is (nice work on an Ipad studio created album AZ, it may nudge some wrong now, or seem like a focus... but no one loses it and writes anti-hipster screeds about people who used 4 Tracktapes... and at one point those were new, now it is kit that is essentially indispensable [also, since I am here, one day everyone will see the inerrant-inherent virtue in hats like that].

(This comment was littered with nearly-wrong references to that which receives wrath... doesn't mean I love what you hate, or that I hate what you love, just that I accept some like some things and others other things; not meaning to force it upon you thus-n'-such; I just live in the same world as that which is referenced, and comment on it, or don't talk about it, or drop-sly-ref to it for a reason- or none at all, or just go look at something that does interest me (like a set of images and instructions on creating a homemade xenomorph suit and tuxedo for a new years gala)... without the deep expression of fear and loathing. I guess I better check out the song though. But seriously, first, what? Now because "it's overdone" no one can use a ukalalalla? Er, well, until the next person who does use it, and blows your minds, right?

Or is there a 5 year moratoria? 10? That is like a hundred generations in internet time.
Jessamyn said what I didn't but wish I had:

"Just because your stuff is on the internet doesn't mean everyone on the internet is your target audience". (if only someone could figure out how to take this statement, and make it directed towards "people on the internet looking to consume content", that could make the world web a better place)
posted by infinite intimation at 7:04 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Katt Williams: "You gotta be grateful! You need haters!"

[It's Katt Williams, therefore language is very NSFW.]
posted by Lexica at 7:06 PM on April 5, 2011


it's really not a target audience for every type of music.

Ahem. Aside from concepts of "target audience" (whatever that means) I'd point out that there is a great variety of music on offer at MeFiMu. Rock, pop, jazz, improvised/experimental, folk, blues, classical, electronica, hip hop, covers of all types... it's extremely diverse. If that's what you mean by "its own little thing", then I'd agree. It has an astonishing amount of diversity as its own little thing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:07 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. Was supposed to be a link to this video but doesn't seem to have worked. Fumblefingers.
posted by Lexica at 7:07 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but what about the people who AREN'T your audience? I sing for the chorus of the Seattle Symphony. A couple of years ago, we premiered the Symphony of Meditations by Kernis, a very 21st-century work. There were a lot of really on-point editorial comments available to be made about that, both the work and our performance of it, but would it have been worth it to get depressed over someone who ranted about it for hours because they hate contemporary classical music in general and think that melody died with Mozart?

It's a tough situation. You don't start to suss out what to ignore and what not to ignore until you put up with a large, mixed bag of critics. And the Internet is one of the most mixed bags out there. Understanding responses to your work is something that takes practice like anything else, and if you ignore all criticism with a HGH (gonna abbreviate that, I dislike it as a phrase and want to type it as infrequently as I possibly can) you don't develop that. Sometimes you get a little 4Chan with your Ebert.

I've been in both environments, where the moderator of the discussion would let anything go, and where the moderator would reprimand for anything even a little edgy, and I'd take the former over the latter any day. A good moderator balances both, but those are hard to come by.

Anyway, I've said basically all I have to say on the subject. Hope Jennifer sticks around as a member.
posted by codacorolla at 7:08 PM on April 5, 2011


Dude, yes. Somewhere between haters hating and fawning praise is the valid commentary; you have to tune out ass-kissing and ignorant, illegible grunt-level hating, i.e. YouTube comments and the like in equal measures.

But if you stop doing the things that make you happy because someone MIGHT criticize it, it doesn't make those people less hyperbolic or being critical of others' work. And if you water your shit down in an effort to receive greater praise than damnation, you get current Hollywood films that are edited by test-screen audiences and SEO-driven web content.

It's knowing how to fine-tune your borders on the extreme commentary that drives you rather than destroys you as you hone your talents over time. Or, conversely, decide that this gig's not for you anymore.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:08 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know jug band music's not for me, so I don't bother seeking it out just to let its creator know his/her creative efforts are, to a single other person, worthless.

Problem is, I don't go looking for quirky songs accompanied by ukelele. Nevertheless, they find me with almost sinister predictability these days. Thus I feel justified in not so much being a HATER, but definitely being a DOUBTER.

Everyone knows that melody died with Cobain, exactly 17 years ago.

Actually, melody's doing fine to my ears. What died with Cobain was "FOR REAL". He took his eviscerating truth-telling all the way and it ultimately killed him. There was no second act. Maybe he should've got himself a ukelele and lightened up. It would've been a "new thing" 17 years ago.
posted by philip-random at 7:12 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nevertheless, they find me with almost sinister predictability these days. Thus I feel justified in not so much being a HATER, but definitely being a DOUBTER.

A doubter of what exactly?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would suggest that you might want to consider locks on your doors, as these twee ukulele players are somehow breaking in and forcing you to listen to their music.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


hey, Uke never know -- it could happen.
posted by infinite intimation at 7:17 PM on April 5, 2011


No, flapjax, what I'm saying is that there are certain genres/themes on MeFi Music that seem to get more favorites, comments and attention than others. Yes, all types of music are presented, but there are certain types of music and themes that get more attention than others.
posted by malocchio at 7:17 PM on April 5, 2011


Thus I feel justified in not so much being a HATER, but definitely being a DOUBTER.

Hey man, twist and DOUBT!*

*selfy linky

gaddam hipster udu players...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:18 PM on April 5, 2011


...there are certain types of music and themes that get more attention than others.

This is every bit as true in the wider world as well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:20 PM on April 5, 2011


You're totally right. That came from a hurt feelings place and not a diplomatic response place. If I could edit, I would. I would also fix the rampant typos, but I'm three beers in at this point, so it is what it is.

I didn't watch the original video (it does sound like a perfect storm of things I don't like, but that's neither here nor there), but I think I love you for this, Jennifer Teeter.

(Teeter? ...perhaps of the Harris Teeters?)
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:20 PM on April 5, 2011




The only thing that died with Cobain was Cobain.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 PM on April 5, 2011


Cobain lives!

(I don't actually like his music all that much, but, he does seem to have made a big impression on the youh of his time...)

His drummer was totally kickass, though. As a drummer

posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


youth
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 PM on April 5, 2011


This is every bit as true in the wider world as well.

But when you say "it's a warm and friendly community..." well, it's really not any warmer or more friendly than any community that has a specific taste.

I'm not saying that's a terrible thing, but you have to realize that it's entirely possible to post plenty of songs without receiving any sort of comment, criticism, praise, or whatever.

Yes, just like the wider world, but personally, I've found it much more worthwhile to actually find my target demographic, rather than pretending that it's at MeMu. Obviously, YMMV, which is entirely cool to me.
posted by malocchio at 7:31 PM on April 5, 2011


But when you say "it's a warm and friendly community..."

I mean that comments are almost always warm and friendly.

...well, it's really not any warmer or more friendly than any community that has a specific taste.

Interesting. What would you characterize as MeFiMu's "specific taste"? Not trying to be antagonistic here, just genuinely curious.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:41 PM on April 5, 2011


Somebody reminded me of the existence of Nirvana's 'Oh, The Guilt' today.

At the time, I couldn't quite decide how I felt about stuff like the Jesus Lizard split and the Burroughs collaboration and the Vaselines covers and the appearance on the Earth album. Sometimes I think people are genuinely excited to have the opportunity to share something they like with their own larger audience, and then sometimes I think they feel like they have something to prove.

(Hey, speaking of Kurt, and of this phenomenon: I read a biography of Axl Rose that mentioned how he tended to do the same kinds of things--going on tour with Soundgarden, hyping Nine Inch Nails, wearing a Nirvana cap in some video. Of course, Cobain wasn't entirely pleased with this development.)
posted by box at 7:42 PM on April 5, 2011


Okay I am full of whiskey and chicken and I have a light up screw driver. WHAT NEEDS DOING?!
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 PM on April 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


"I am full of whiskey and chicken" is my new Favorite Phrase.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:48 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Could be worse, you could have the crocheters mad at you. Really, really mad. (You should see the thread they've got going about this over on another site). I send solidarity and another six-pack your way!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:58 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whelk, just stay drunk until Sunday. I cannot WAIT to meet you in person.

(wait...don't take that the wrong way...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:59 PM on April 5, 2011


It's totally fine for Jennifer not to give a shit about any of it if she wants to.
Hee! from her twitter:

"Jason: I'm turning the router off. Me: NO! I need to know what the people on the internet are saying about me!"

I like this woman.
posted by unliteral at 8:04 PM on April 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Whelk, just stay drunk until Sunday. I cannot WAIT to meet you in person.

It's rare I have to order a theme-specific flashlight of the internet for a party but here. we. are.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 PM on April 5, 2011



"Jason: I'm turning the router off. Me: NO! I need to know what the people on the internet are saying about me!"


I think ...I think she's gonna fit in here.
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 PM on April 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


MeFiMu's "specific taste"?

Well, looking at the most favorited/playlisted songs, I think self-referential (meaning MeFi-referential) songs tend to go rather well?

I'm more of an authority on things that don't get comments. :)
posted by malocchio at 8:12 PM on April 5, 2011


I think self-referential (meaning MeFi-referential) songs tend to go rather well?

You're definitely not wrong there. But, to be fair, plenty of other stuff gets recognition and love, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:15 PM on April 5, 2011


If I was pressed I would say MeFiMu sounds more homebrew then studio but that is to be expected - and there are a lot of slick tracks too, but I think the arc is toward messy.


I like that!
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on April 5, 2011


The Whelk, is it your Knob again?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:19 PM on April 5, 2011


respect the Knob.
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


it is that kind of thread
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on April 5, 2011




Hooray! Another random person out there thinks Metafilter is filled with dicks who hate everything!
posted by bondcliff at 8:49 PM on April 5, 2011


Taters gonna tate.
posted by trip and a half at 8:50 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think Bill Hicks did make a lot of dick jokes, really.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:51 PM on April 5, 2011


Just popping in to say I would love a cross-stitched portrait of Paris Hilton's mugshot. Anyone work on commission?

{\}
posted by m@f at 8:51 PM on April 5, 2011


As a bass player, I'm going to stand here in solidarity with all my four-stringed brethren and sisteren.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:55 PM on April 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm more of an authority on things that don't get comments. :)

malocchio! Dude! You've posted three songs to MeFiMu that are still up (I note you've removed about three, as well), one of which got 6 comments and twelve count 'em twelve favorites. Another of your tunes got 3 comments. And another got zero comments, but 3 favorites. The tunes you've requested to be removed also received comments. So, hey, man, you've done a LOT better in the comments/favorites category than many others there, including many who post regularly! The fact is, you ain't done half bad over there!

Now, regarding comments, we have to address is the practice of commenting on other people's music at the site. Naturally enough, that's part of what builds a community, you know: expressing your interest in and making critiques on other folks' work. It7s a two way street. I think you should perhaps, before you (even good-naturedly with a smiley icon) bemoan a lack of comments for your own stuff. consider the fact that you never once commented on anyone else's songs on the site. And it's odd, anyway, because you did get favorites and comments! Haha! So, I'll reprint one I made on one of your pieces, a piece that you have since removed from the site:

I can easily imagine this as the backing track to a Leonard Cohen song: I practically hear him intoning some fabulously well-crafted and elegant pearls of the lyric art over this Euro-esque waltz of yours. And coincidentally, like much of Cohen's later recorded work, I wish this track of yours could've featured actual drums instead of programmed ones!

I raise a glass of absinthe to you, malocchio!

posted by flapjax at midnite at 17:47 on March 4, 2007 [+] [!]
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:03 PM on April 5, 2011


If I was pressed I would say MeFiMu sounds more homebrew then studio but that is to be expected - and there are a lot of slick tracks too, but I think the arc is toward messy.

Yeah, I think that's kind of the vibe I'm feeling. Hell, I grew up with 80s LA/OC/SF punk. Germs/Middle Class/Flipper kind of stuff is still all kinds of awesome to me.

I'm really not trying to dismiss MeFiMu (whatever) as a whole. It's cool for what it is, but I'd really hate for someone to post their first effort there, and be disappointed that it doesn't get a comment or a favorite.
posted by malocchio at 9:05 PM on April 5, 2011


I stand by what I said. I'll try not to be rude or angry but just because the creator might read something you say is no reason not to say it, especially if they've put the work out there. I also feel free to say if I think a MythBusters episode is a bit silly or a Charles Stross novel had weak plotting. It's my opinion and honestly it's worth less then the opinions of whoever actually did the work. But it's still mine.

I think the reason there was so much hostility was because this seemed like pandering - like we should like this because it's what we like. And the singer's comment revealed that, yes, that was the exact intention. So the haters were right.

If I ever put my creative work on here I fully expect floods of vitriol. And that's okay, because it means someone responded.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:08 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I ever put my creative work on here I fully expect floods of vitriol.

floods of vitriol, torrents of hate
whirlpools of cruelty that never abate
tornadoes of viciousness, spite by the ton
but hey what the hell, right?
it's all in good fun!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:16 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the response of "yeah it was a fake, pandering song! I call it my pandering song! also I'm totes drunk!" is pandering to the people who think they're too cool for the original thing they thought it was, and the people who are also drunk. So now everyone's been adequately pandered to, I guess.
posted by so_gracefully at 9:20 PM on April 5, 2011


Wait, I haven't been pandered to even remotely adequate levels.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:21 PM on April 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm heading over to ueno Zoo now to see the new baby panders.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:23 PM on April 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, fuck it, flapjax, this is not about my personal feelings, or why I've chosen to participate in the way that I do. I really appreciate all the feedback I've received...most of it has been indelibly etched into my mind. (My deletions are entirely related to forming a record label, and not a reflection of my opinion towards MeFiMu. You notice that I have posted songs since then.)

But is commenting on other people's work really a criteria to receiving comments/favorites? That seems a little awkward, at best.
posted by malocchio at 9:27 PM on April 5, 2011


I saw the meTa of this thread first, and thought, oh boy, hipstergeek ukulele. And then I went to the post and it was, uh, really pretty heartfelt and less obnoxious than most geek pandering by a mile?

Also, it sounds like she got into the ukulele around the same time I did. Sometimes I'm like, ugh, I'm such a hipster with my fucking ukulele (which I can't even play that well, but I keep putting videos up on youtube of anyway, because, like, it's a law or something), but then I play it and it makes me happy and is WAY easier than the banjo even if that would be more iconoclastic or whatever. They're popular because they're small, fun, cheap and easy. What's so terrible about people getting into playing music on fun instruments?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:37 PM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like parties where people bring an uke cause you can sing in a circle with someone's head in your lap.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 PM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have learned not to go to your decapitation parties.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:40 PM on April 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


I am pretty drunk. How YOU doin?
posted by cj_ at 9:41 PM on April 5, 2011


I have learned not to go to your decapitation parties.

You'll never get ahead that way.
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 PM on April 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Heads will rock and/or roll.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:48 PM on April 5, 2011


But is commenting on other people's work really a criteria to receiving comments/favorites?

No it's not, nor did I say that. What I did say is that it seems an integral part of building a community, a feeling of shared endeavor.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:51 PM on April 5, 2011


The people defending this have never spent an hour with a hipster ordering dinner at McDonaldes with a ukulele
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:54 PM on April 5, 2011


The Ukulele is not the problem people.
posted by clavdivs at 9:56 PM on April 5, 2011


"One of my friends was a journalist for a local paper for a while, and all of his stuff was posted online to the new's organization's site, complete with comment section."

I have long thought that everyone who wishes to go into public creativity in any form should spent some time as a beat reporter at a daily newspaper. Because you learn, deeply, that:

*The perfect is the enemy of the good
*Sometimes the good is the enemy of the "fuck it, there's a deadline"
*Nobody gives a shit how brilliant it is in your head; you have to put it on paper or get fired
*Real criticism, from a talented editor, makes you so much better that once you're spoiled by having a good criticizer you will hate working without one forever after
*Success only lasts 24 hours. But humiliating public failure also only lasts 24 hours. Then people move on to the next edition.
*Only crazy people write letters to the editor. Internet comments are the new letters to the editor.
*No matter how absolutely brilliant, moving, and important your award-winning expose is, people care 10 times more about the crossword. Fifty times more. A hundred times more.

Knowing these things makes you a much, much better artist. Too much of talk about the creative life is all romanticism; daily reporting cures you of that. Creative work is hard, and nobody cares about it nearly as much as you do. So never read the comments. Including this one.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:04 PM on April 5, 2011 [30 favorites]


yeah. it's that Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury was better
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:04 PM on April 5, 2011


...and why the partioned screen on the video. It was like looking in on someones rehearsal.
But the jokes are good.
posted by clavdivs at 10:26 PM on April 5, 2011


Thanks to this meta, I discovered girls like dik-dik! which is now my new favorite song, and just .99 on the itunes store (purchased)

they're a tiny little deer so don't you fear
posted by arnicae at 10:27 PM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does this Ukulele make me look fat?
posted by Sailormom at 10:43 PM on April 5, 2011


Linked in previous thread and by arnicae, she has an album! And it sounds fun!
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 PM on April 5, 2011


wow I remembered my Cd Baby login on the first try. I feel like a superhero or something.
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 PM on April 5, 2011


I am kind of a hater I guess, but I checked out her stuff expecting to hate it (though intending to keep that to myself), and... it's actually pretty good? I'm thinking some of you are just douchebags, honestly. If it's not your thing, that's cool, but why do you need to make such a spectacle of your negative opinion?

I hope Jennifer sticks around. I probably wouldn't..
posted by cj_ at 11:12 PM on April 5, 2011


MetaFilteri non carborundum.
posted by fleacircus at 12:08 AM on April 6, 2011


Why the hell did this comment get 13 favorites?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:48 PM on April 5


Thanks for the heads up. I just went and added to the total.
posted by Decani at 12:52 AM on April 6, 2011


Dik diks aren't deer. They're antelope. So stay afraid, is what I'm saying.
posted by Neofelis at 1:09 AM on April 6, 2011


The Ukulele is not the problem people.
posted by clavdivs at 5:56 AM on April 6


No, but it's a problem.

On a general note: life gets a lot easier when you stop giving a shit what other people think about what you do. The idea that every person's precious "creative endeavour" has to be respected, nodded and smiled at, or otherwise handled with kid gloves and kindness, is ridiculous. If you think your artistic fruits are so very delicious that you feel justified in trotting them out on stage, or in print, or in any other public format, then I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.
posted by Decani at 1:15 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The idea that every person's precious "creative endeavour" has to be respected, nodded and smiled at, or otherwise handled with kid gloves and kindness, is ridiculous.

Yes, it is ridiculous. But, equally, so too is the idea that dropping the verbal equivalent of a freakishly large shit directly onto someone's head - and then mashing it in with a hammer made from fermented yak semen and puppy eyes - is de rigeur.

I don't actually see anyone in either thread arguing that criticism is unfair or unnecessary. I did see people making unkind generalisations and bitchy, waspish comments to someone who was clearly discombobulated and somewhat upset, and virtually guaranteed to read them. I can't help but wonder if those people would feel comfortable giving voice to criticisms like that if they were doing it in person, or to their boss at work, or their family. I tend to think not, which makes such comments not only needlessly cruel and enigmatically purposed, but also cowardly.
posted by smoke at 1:40 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


you think your artistic fruits are so very delicious that you feel justified in trotting them out on stage, or in print, or in any other public format, then I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.

sure, ok, but the Ukulele is not the problem. And I know, I stopped giving a crap what people thought about art ages ago. This is why I never have read David Foster Wallace. (well some, he was funny but he cared about what people thought of his art)

and i just started my first Wm. Gibson novel.
not impressed.
wait, this is about the comic who is now a MEMBER. Welcome aboard, don't mind us, we just like to watch.

firefly was cancelled, heh.
posted by clavdivs at 2:04 AM on April 6, 2011


If you think your artistic fruits are so very delicious that you feel justified in trotting them out on stage, or in print, or in any other public format, then I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.

You know, "so very delicious", and "trotting them out" are really snarky, mean spirited and belittling terms, and their use speaks volumes about your attitude in general towards people expressing themselves artistically to their fellow human beings. What Jennifer, and pretty much every artist, is doing, my friend, is sharing their work with you, and increasingly, in this day and age, for free. You didn't even have to buy the music to hear it. She offered it up gratis. So, yeah, you can be just as nasty and harsh as you "deem appropriate", but you might also consider that you're being, you know, a total jerk, if you simply must tear it down in harsh and mean spirited ways.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:25 AM on April 6, 2011 [20 favorites]


If you have the right to be a dick while criticizing, other people have the right to point out you're being a dick. And guess what? Criticism is always better without the dick.
posted by Apoch at 2:57 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never get mean-spirited music criticism. I mean, I get music analysis, and I understand recommending one artist over another. I don't get "that sucks" type commentary, though.

Music is fun. To listen to and to make. That's why people do it. The ha-ha you suck! thing... that's like making fun of someone who's not very good at dancing at a club, or loses at kickball. So what? It's fun. What's the point of trying to make them feel bad about it?

It doesn't fill me with admiration for your good taste in music.
posted by ctmf at 2:58 AM on April 6, 2011


What's the point of trying to make them feel bad about it?

Often it's a shield for deep-seated personal insecurities or feelings of inadequacy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:01 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not much of an artist, but I find I am hostile to criticisms that boil down to taste and am more open to criticisms that focus on technique. I find that criticism that considers context is important, that which doesn't isn't.

I also find that my own expectations color my response. "I made this and love it, but I don't give a shit what anyone else thinks" tends to make me appreciate the positive feedback and discount the negative (keeping in mind the above tenets), whereas "I made this and I bet everyone will love it" tends to have me chafing at even mild criticism.

Of course, then there is "I made this and in my heart I know it's mediocre." I chafe when called out on that because I know it as much as they do.
posted by maxwelton at 3:02 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Unless you're doing something purely as a hobby, and never, ever show it to anybody, you should listen to how your audience responds, even if that response is hooting derision at you.

Fuck that shit. fire&wings is the kind of twat that would have looked at Picasso and announced, "What is this shit, do you need glasses, learn to paint, what is this shit?" Art, or at any rate great art, isn't made, for the most part, by people who give a shit about "the audience". The audience are conservatives leavened with morons and seasons with poo-flingers.

Hooray! Another random person out there thinks Metafilter is filled with dicks who hate everything!

It does rather seem that way sometimes.

The idea that every person's precious "creative endeavour" has to be respected, nodded and smiled at, or otherwise handled with kid gloves and kindness, is ridiculous...I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.

The idea that you behaving like a cockmonger is in some way useful or valuable is ridiculous.
posted by rodgerd at 3:13 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


side note: flapjax, I only got one afternoon to explore Tokyo, and spent most of that staring at train system maps. I had to sadly put seeing one of your shows back on the "someday" list.
posted by ctmf at 3:13 AM on April 6, 2011


Yes, people have a right to have an express their opinions, even if they are cruel or benighted. But it's worth keeping in mind that the value of criticism is directly proportional to the amount of consideration that goes into it. If you believe that your opinion is valuable, and must be expressed, merely because you have it and can express it, regardless of the amount of time you've spent researching and thinking about a subject -- well, it's consideration that separates the critic from the loudmouth. Anyone can have an opinion, and everyone does. But not all opinions are equally valuable.

In order for artists to find criticism useful, they have to be able to separate the signal from the noise, and there is a lot of noise out there. Hell, in order for the audience to find criticism valuable, they have to be able to separate the signal from the noise. And this marvelous internet habit of trying to be the first with the most contempt just makes more noise. Precious little signal comes out of jerking knees and unconsidered contempt.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with contempt. Some of my art might earn it. I will always welcome a well-considered and well-articulated expression of disgust, even if I disagree with it. A lot of art is meant to generate outrage. It tends to be a response to being challenged. And some art is just crap, and really well-considered outrage is a thing of beauty.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:08 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Loud and harsh critics are almost never creative. Ignore them and continue to play. You already have insights and experiences they will never know or understand.
posted by rain at 4:09 AM on April 6, 2011


MetaTalk: a hammer made from fermented yak semen and puppy eyes

I may not be drunk, but I spent my night being screeched at and not sleeping, so y'know... six of one, lot of screeching of the other.
posted by sonika at 5:02 AM on April 6, 2011


Wow. Too much to address. I think I would be missing the point if I couldn't see that this is a community that obviously cares very deeply about preserving its integrity, whether that mean avoiding frivolity or excessive negativity. I really just wanted you guys to judge me not on one, badly recorded performance, but on the body of my work. Many of you did just that. Stellar. Some of you actually paid money to do that. SUPER STELLAR.

Anyway, I'm sticking around is what I'm saying. You guys are pretty neat.
posted by jenniferteeter at 5:34 AM on April 6, 2011 [35 favorites]


I may not be drunk, but I spent my night being screeched at and not sleeping, so y'know... six of one, lot of screeching of the other.


I hope you wrote a scathing review of the performance on your highly influential blog.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:45 AM on April 6, 2011


If you're female [and sometimes even if you're male] they'll add digs about how you look or what you're wearing on top of it.

Nobody said anything like this in the thread that I saw. Was something deleted? Unless something was, what is the point of saying this, other than to (falsely) insinuate that the people who are criticising the song are also making "digs" about how the artist looks or what she is wearing?
posted by enn at 6:07 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


...how the artist looks or what she is wearing?

I have it on good information that jenniferteeter occasionally wears mismatching socks.

Around the house.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 AM on April 6, 2011


Hey, ctmf, glad you got a little Tokyo time in, pal, and here's hoping we'll meet here sometime in the future, whether it's a gig or not!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:13 AM on April 6, 2011


what is the point of saying this, other than to (falsely) insinuate that the people who are criticising the song are also making "digs" about how the artist looks or what she is wearing?

Jessamyn was referring to the "haters gonna hate" topic as a whole, not just this specific case.
posted by Think_Long at 6:20 AM on April 6, 2011


I did mention that the Wired group made fun of me for looking like a hipster. They said all I needed was a can of PBR. I DON'T DRINK PBR. I DON'T RIDE A FIXIE. FUCK YOU WIRED.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:32 AM on April 6, 2011


Jessamyn was referring to the "haters gonna hate" topic as a whole, not just this specific case.

Well, yeah, that's my point. People are putting everyone who criticized the song into the "haters" camp so that they can then attack them by association for things they imagine that "haters" do, ignoring the fact that the actual people in the actual thread aren't doing those things.
posted by enn at 6:38 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


codacorolla made some good points upthread, which I will summarize with this excerpt:

But let me tell you something: never take a fiction workshop
posted by Mister_A at 6:42 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


enn: I've been on online communities for a while, and I think one thing I've learned is don't try to rules-lawyer the first citizens. There is no way you are going to win either the popular vote or the electoral colleges.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:13 AM on April 6, 2011


Wait who wouldn't rather have kittens tied to their face?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:23 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


unliteral: "Hee! from her twitter:

"Jason: I'm turning the router off. Me: NO! I need to know what the people on the internet are saying about me!"

I like this woman.
"

I like her too. The Nergasm song, not so much -- but I have very weird and eclectic taste in music, so who am I to judge? I do think Ellie's Lullabye and Dik Dik are awesome.

Jennifer, glad you're sticking around. Welcome to MeFi!
posted by zarq at 7:24 AM on April 6, 2011


Well, yeah, that's my point. People are putting everyone who criticized the song into the "haters" camp so that they can then attack them by association for things they imagine that "haters" do, ignoring the fact that the actual people in the actual thread aren't doing those things.

Never saying anything about a general phenomenon that someone else might project unfairly onto a specific situation would mean we'd pretty much have to never talk about anything at all barring a recitation of facts.

As far as I saw, no one was making shitty remarks about appearances in the thread on the blue, which is great and I appreciate that that's something like the default state even for a snarky-ass thread like the one in question. Over on the Wired thread, which was also getting discussed here, some of the Wired commenters were making shitty remarks about appearances, which sucks. Beyond that, the state of play on Wired is unfortunately a lot more common than the one in the thread on the blue on this front.

Acknowledging that the whole belittling-commentary-about-appearance-as-art-criticism is a frustrating ongoing dynamic on the web and out in the world is a far cry from accusing mefites of getting up to that. Mefites are actually pretty decent people, it's a big part of why I like working here. And I pretty much trust people to know that if we're speaking as mods about problematic behavior on the site we're generally gonna be specific; someone who takes a generality in the context of discussion of an bigger-than-mefi phenomenon and applies it reflexively specifically to mefi and mefites without figuring out what actually happened is being lazy in a way that it'd cripple our ability to discuss stuff to have to try to preemptively route around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:27 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Posted this on the original thread, but I thought you guys should know that I did as you commanded.
posted by jenniferteeter at 7:33 AM on April 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: I am full of whiskey and chicken and I have a light up screw driver.
posted by klausness at 7:39 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're totally right. That came from a hurt feelings place and not a diplomatic response place. If I could edit, I would. I would also fix the rampant typos, but I'm three beers in at this point, so it is what it is.

'Tis well. I deem to be Morally Correct any conversation which opens with how right I am, and also yes. So go in peace, wee Teeter, and the compromise song made me smile.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:46 AM on April 6, 2011


No, but it's a problem.

On a general note: life gets a lot easier when you stop giving a shit what other people think about what you do. The idea that every person's precious "creative endeavour" has to be respected, nodded and smiled at, or otherwise handled with kid gloves and kindness, is ridiculous. If you think your artistic fruits are so very delicious that you feel justified in trotting them out on stage, or in print, or in any other public format, then I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.


Why? Why is it a problem? Can you even articulate what you don't like about them musically?

Look, I write book reviews, so I'm all about discussion of creative works, but I think that "OMG a GIRL playing a UKULELE" is just lazy, knee-jerk criticism that has a heavy whiff of sexism beneath it because it rarely has anything to do with the performance and a lot more to do with what a chick is wearing or looks like and what it says about her that she made the tragic misstep of picking up an instrument that a lot of other girls also like. I see this in the review communities I frequent a lot--people kvetching that such-and-such a writer is such a boring poseur because they wrote a young adult dystopian book because, gah, they must be chasing dollars after Suzanna Colline but none of this criticism has anything to do with the book in question and usually reflects, at the very least, a hostile reading, and worse, an ignorant reaction based on not giving the book a reading at all.

Hell no. I hate that fucking toy guitar as hard as if it were a Nazi made out of brussels sprouts and goat vomit.

I mean, Decani, seriously, that was cheap and hateful (this is the criticism you want to defend?), and frankly, who the hell cares? Also, brussel sprouts? How old are you? Brussel sprouts are friggin delicious.

Anyway, jenniferteeter, what I thought separated your song from most nerd pandering (and take this from a nerdy nerd) was the Torchwood/Doctor Who line, which showed some actual cleverness and knowledge of source material. I have to admit that I wish you wouldn't hate on other girls who write Harry Potter songs in their threadless tees, because I kind of think the predominantly male nerd culture kind of encourages girls to snipe at each other (as if there's a limited amount of coolness to go around? I don't know), and I think we should really support each other rather than worrying that we're the first to discover something and therefore the coolest.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:52 AM on April 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


(Suzanne Collins. I have no idea how I mangled her name so bad.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:58 AM on April 6, 2011


I wish you wouldn't hate on other girls who write Harry Potter songs in their threadless tees
Major props.
I wasn't trying so much to hate on them as separate myself from them. This is my profession, and I have to be able to be better at performing than most of the population (either that or get a job). Sometimes that means doing radically different things than everyone else. Anyway, my feelings are very similar to yours, I just decide to come off a little snobby in favor of being quippy. My apologies.
(And for sake of openness: I have three or four threadless shirts, and I like wizard rock)
posted by jenniferteeter at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would like to add to the pile-on re Brussels sprouts. They rock.

Roast them, in some olive oil, with some shallots, and maybe some crushed red pepper? Sheeeeeit.
posted by everichon at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to worry a lot about what people had to say about my music, but things have gotten a lot easier since I adopted this attitude:

Person loves my music: You're a genius! Tell me more!
Person hates my music: Meh, who cares?
Person gives constructive criticism: You're a genius! Tell me more!
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.

My dear, of course you have the right to be a narcissistic asshole. Who's ever suggested that you don't?

I'm fascinated mildly interested by the way the language of rights is always used to defend this kind of boorishness. It's as if in a world where the security of so many of our rights to personal integrity seem to be in question daily, our only unassailable right is the right to be an asshole.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:28 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


During the time when I had a reasonably popular thing I did - no, I will not say what it was - oddly enough I found that the negative feedback was easy to brush off as "haters gonna hate," unless it contained an actual reasoned-out complaint, which I'd then think over and maybe respond to (privately) and it would result in an actual honest conversation and I'd like to think I was the better for it.

You know what did keep me up nights though? Some of the positive feedback.

I mean specifically when someone would say I should check out Homestar Runner because their sense of humor was right up my alley. That fucking stung.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:33 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, my feelings are very similar to yours, I just decide to come off a little snobby in favor of being quippy. My apologies.

It's okay--I've been there. Much love!

Now off to stream your music while I work. <3
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:34 AM on April 6, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi: " Why? Why is it a problem? Can you even articulate what you don't like about them musically?"

He hates the ukelele.
posted by zarq at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2011


Man, zarq, your response was so choice there. Hell, I don't know how anyone could hate the uke in a world with Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and Tiny Tim alone, but oh well.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some people hate random things. Most of are aware that this is idiosyncratic and reflects nothing but our own peculiar tastes. Some of us mistake it for not being duped, like the rest of the idiots, but have gimlet eyes for something that's really detestable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:49 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


This seems relevant.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:54 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


He hates the ukelele.

They all play on the pennywhistle
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi, I thought about just pointing him to my Brudda Iz post, but decided I didn't want to be responsible for making his head explode from indignant outrage. :D
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


UGH I should not have followed klang's advice. My head is full of hangover and regret.

LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME META!
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:09 AM on April 6, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi: "This seems relevant."

You know, there was a line in one of the links in that Iz post that always gives me chills. I quoted it. Iz had walked into a sound studio in the middle of the night and begged the sound engineer to work with him: "When he started singing, I said to myself, 'Oh, this is what I'm supposed to be doing for a living.'

Thanks for that essay. I couldn't agree with Mr. Bradbury more: "Be your own self. Love what YOU love." Very wise.
posted by zarq at 9:10 AM on April 6, 2011


I would like to add to the pile-on re Brussels sprouts. They rock.

Yeah, I've really wanted to like Brussel sprouts for most of my adult life. My uncle grows them. Fully mature, they are so vile to eat that it can literally spoil the rest of a home-grown, entirely delicious meal. Picked a little younger and I can gag one or two down. I would like to try roasting them, I've had them steamed, fried, and baked, but never roasted. Maybe that will be the magic formula which will allow me not to detest brussel sprouts and leave my childhood tastes finally behind.
posted by arnicae at 9:12 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hated Brussel sprouts until I was 34 years old.

The trick? Halve them, coat in olive oil and garlic, roast face down on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Delectable sweetness.

The first batch was so good we barely bothered with the rest of the meal.

Pan roasting with shallots, garlic and a little balsamic vinegar also works well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe that will be the magic formula which will allow me not to detest brussel sprouts and leave my childhood tastes finally behind.

There was a recipe on metafilter once for sprouts sauteed in a pan with honey that is just amazing--the sweetness really helps with the bitterness of the sprout (if you don't like that; I kinda do). It might be worth a try. I'll see if I can find it for you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:15 AM on April 6, 2011


And wait, he then insults Morris dancing and Legos at the same time? I guess his hobby really is hatin'.

I guess he's never encountered the Ninja Morris Men or the other Morris. And shit, hating on Legos? Might as well hate on sunshine and double rainbows.
posted by kmz at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2011


First of all, anyone who hates Brussels sprouts has something very seriously wrong with them. I served four pounds of sprouts roasted with pancetta and onions to six people on Christmas, and ended up with about two servings' worth of leftovers. (Arnicae, google "williams sonoma pancetta brussels sprouts" and you will find the recipe.)

Second, Decani, you hate the ukulele because. . . it looks like a small guitar? what? Are there other instruments we should be hating simply because they have larger cousins?

"Fuck the piccolo! I hate that fucking toy flute!"

"Fuck the viola! I hate that fucking toy cello!"

"Fuck the C trumpet! I hate that fucking toy B-flat trumpet!"
posted by KathrynT at 9:25 AM on April 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


KathrynT: "First of all, anyone who hates Brussels sprouts has something very seriously wrong with them. "

*cough* I really, really dislike them. They're bitter.

PhoB, if you find that recipe, pls post it here? Am willing to try it. (If I don't like 'em, my kids will probably eat 'em.)
posted by zarq at 9:30 AM on April 6, 2011


It's gotta be skinflute envy.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on April 6, 2011


I should say "anyone who can eat bacon and doesn't like brussels sprouts." I like them in all forms, but they shine with bacon.

For a while when I was pregnant with my first child, Brussels sprouts were the sweetest thing I could eat. everything sweeter made me vomit.
posted by KathrynT at 9:33 AM on April 6, 2011


Marc Maron had a great interview with Conan recently and they talk a little about Internet armchair critics and how it's either you love something or hate it... not much nuance in the discussion. But nuance is boring, so...
posted by starman at 9:33 AM on April 6, 2011


I am willing to allow that there are a few unfortunate souls upon this earth for whom brussels sprouts are genuinely terrible eating. Everyone hates something, right?

But! I am also of the belief that many of the self-anointed sprout haters are such because they've never really had them prepared properly. See above re: roasting. The transformative power of roasting a brussels sprout is truly a gastronomical miracle, because it converts bitter and gross to sweetly savory yum.

A couple of weekends ago, I had the uovo pizza at Barbuzzo, which had sprout leaves, guanicale, cheese, truffle oil, and one fat egg in the center. I do believe I saw the face of God after one bite.

Back on the rails: Jennifer, I'm so glad you're here. I thought your song was a lot of fun, and I look forward to hearing more stuff from you.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:39 AM on April 6, 2011


So, now there's ANOTHER identical girl-with-ukulele-singing-about-nerdy-stuff SLYT post. That's what bugs me about the ukulele. It's the SLYT of instruments. Sorry I don't give positive feedback about stuff that I don't like. I try to articulate what I dislike about the phenomenon of ukuleles. Yes, ultimately my criticism boils down to: it's not interesting to me.
posted by fuq at 9:50 AM on April 6, 2011


That's not criticism, though, that's a statement of personal taste.
posted by KathrynT at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2011


I eat brussels sprouts because I hear they're good for me. Same reason I eat turnip. If I heard otherwise, I'd happily never go back there.

Wish I could say the same thing for french fries and gravy.
posted by philip-random at 9:53 AM on April 6, 2011


Man sometimes the internet is full of squares.

Now I wanna do a Wizard Rock song, but like glam wizard rock.

I am going to cover Ballrooms Of Mars. This is the plan for today.
posted by The Whelk at 9:54 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


DERAIL: Note *everything* is better coated in butter and fried in garlic. Even Brussels sprouts.

Tho I never got the hate toward them. They're okay. Spinach too but only if it's uncooked.

Cabbage tastes like farts.
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dang, can't find the exact comment. But basically, what I do (and, uh, I'm kind of a messy cook so I don't know how helpful it is), is I heat some oil in a saute pan on medium highish, add a silver-dollar-pancake sized dollop of honey, swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan (sometimes I also add a few red pepper flakes at this stage), add a cup or so of halved, cleaned brussels sprouts, toss to coat. Turn down the heat to medium or so, and cover, but check on them occasionally (stirring them when you do, so they don't burn) because it's a fine line between rubbery-and-over-cooked and olive-green-and-overcooked (though I like mine blackened a bit). When you can spear them easily with a fork, and not a moment later, that's when they're done.

I did find this recipe, which looks amazing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess people are irritated as much by nerds as they are by hipsters. I think it was the nerds who went after my album. I wonder if the Web is just a civil war now in which each group tries to express contempt for the other as quickly and noisily as possible.

And, like most cases where people despise each other, they resemble each other more than they are different.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:55 AM on April 6, 2011


Also, fuq, you're not required to comment on posts you find boring. Also, there's nothing inherently wrong with SLYT posts, even if you dislike them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:56 AM on April 6, 2011


Note *everything* is better coated in butter and fried in garlic.

I thought 'How could sex get any better?' and then later the police showed up.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:56 AM on April 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


That's not criticism, though, that's a statement of personal taste.

Okay, how about this? The issue with the ukelele driven quirky pop song is that it's very limited pallet which long, long ago exhausted its possibilities. Time we put it down for a while.

Please.
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, now there's ANOTHER identical girl-with-ukulele-singing-about-nerdy-stuff SLYT post. That's what bugs me about the ukulele.

I was assuming that was a humorous callback.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2011


I thought 'How could sex get any better?' and then later the police showed up.


HOT COPS MICHEAL.
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


And that's why you don't teach lessons.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:05 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the Web is just a civil war now in which each group tries to express contempt for the other as quickly and noisily as possible.

Oh god I think I might be both.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:08 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cabbage tastes like farts

Haters gotta hate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2011


I don't see a problem with evaluating something with an eye for context. Social networking means that we'll be seeing a lot more amateur, semi-pro, and pro performances in contexts that fall well short of a professional concert. So on "Nerdgasm," I've heard better and worse filk music, and I'll give it a pass because everyone was having fun with it. (Interesting that we didn't have nearly as much outrage at "Amazing Horse.") But "Ira Glass" is just plain bad on every level and I couldn't sit through the entire video.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought 'How could sex get any better?' and then later the police showed up.

Opening line to a great novel, or opening line to the greatest novel?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:23 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, honestly, Bill Hick's pandering stuff was all homophobic hate-jokes, not dick jokes.
posted by absalom at 10:24 AM on April 6, 2011


philip-random: " Okay, how about this? The issue with the ukelele driven quirky pop song is that it's very limited pallet which long, long ago exhausted its possibilities. Time we put it down for a while."

How about this instead: If you don't like anything that's posted, you can exercise your mod-given right to flag it and move on. If you really, really don't like a post, you can even take your gripe to MeTa.

That system works quite well as is. No one is forcing you to read every post or click on every link. Your personal tastes in music and musical instruments shouldn't dictate what the rest of us get to post to MeFi.
posted by zarq at 10:28 AM on April 6, 2011


I'd say "dick jokes" were Bill Hick's third most common theme, following politics and consciousness. And his homophobia didn't strike me as anything but authentic.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:40 AM on April 6, 2011


Okay, how about this? The issue with the ukelele driven quirky pop song is that it's very limited pallet which long, long ago exhausted its possibilities. Time we put it down for a while

Still an opinion, although more clearly articulated. Why do you think it's a limited pallet? And do you mean palette?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:42 AM on April 6, 2011


I think he meant pallet, because ukes are very small and thus require tiny little platforms for delivery.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:45 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still an opinion, although more clearly articulated. Why do you think it's a limited pallet? And do you mean palette?

Palette is correct. The spell-check I'm working with isn't.

I never suggested it wasn't an opinion. It's a limited palette because I (and clearly a few others around here) have grown exhausted of what it seems possible to achieve with it. A year or two ago, I doubt I would have felt this way. I would have watched the link and smiled a bit and got on with my life. But not now. Now, it's equivalent to how I guess I would've felt about so-called Grunge music in 1995. "Enough already, guys. I get that you're full of bitterness and rage and society's to blame. But have you heard some of the cool dub stuff that people are doing with their computers." Times change. Culture ebbs and flows. What once was fresh either gets eaten or it goes OFF. I feel the ukelele driven quirky pop song has gone OFF.

No one is forcing you to read every post or click on every link. Your personal tastes in music and musical instruments shouldn't dictate what the rest of us get to post to MeFi.

My curiosity motivated my clicking on the link. But then I wasn't gasmed by what I saw so I commented as such, rather benignly I might add. If, in doing so, I've somehow dictated what the rest of you get to post to MeFi, all I can say is, "Wow. I had no idea I had such power. Maybe I should get a cape and use it to fight crime or something."
posted by philip-random at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wired News is a total joke. Figures the place would attract a peanut gallery of comments of that caliber. What a pack of dicks.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2011


philip-random: " If, in doing so, I've somehow dictated what the rest of you get to post to MeFi, all I can say is, "Wow. I had no idea I had such power. Maybe I should get a cape and use it to fight crime or something.""

Sarcasm aside, you're asking us to censor ourselves for your benefit.
posted by zarq at 11:31 AM on April 6, 2011


Wired News is a total joke. Figures the place would attract a peanut gallery of comments of that caliber. What a pack of dicks.

I actually think any unmoderated comment section sends out some sort of magical clarion call to assholes, saying "Come hither, come hither." You'll see it on YouTube, daily newspapers, web forums, and anywhere else where people can gather, mostly anonymously and without oversight or accountability. And I don't think it's that people's impulses are to be so prickly. No, I think it's like countries where there is genocide going on, in the sense that usually it is a very small group of people committing the genocide, and a much larger group of people trying to jeep out of its way. And it's hardly surprising. Just as in the wild, a web that abandons those things that make civilization work quickly reverts to redness in tooth and claw. It's like a rhetorical "Lord of the Flies" out there, except sooner or later we all get our turn and being Piggy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:32 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sarcasm aside, you're asking us to censor ourselves for your benefit.

No, he isn't. That's completely untrue. You're the one asking people to keep their negative opinions of posted material to themselves. No one has suggested that this post should be deleted.
posted by enn at 11:46 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: "any unmoderated comment section sends out some sort of magical clarion call to assholes"

If I knew it was that kind of comment thread, I would have stuck my dick in the taters.
posted by idiopath at 11:52 AM on April 6, 2011


Metafilter: we're generally gonna be specific
posted by owtytrof at 12:02 PM on April 6, 2011


enn: " No, he isn't. That's completely untrue.

Obviously, we disagree.

You're the one asking people to keep their negative opinions of posted material to themselves.

I am? Where?

No one has suggested that this post should be deleted."

No, they're not. Did you read his comment? I ask because you seem to be addressing a discussion someone else is having. philip-random is asking people not to make posts about ukulele music. I was and am responding to that statement.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on April 6, 2011


It's not the uke that bothers me, it's that there's such a low bar for "quirk," and that tweeness (which really is part of the association with the ukulele) has overtaken the non-chart pop environment to such a huge degree that there's just not a tremendous amount of room for innovation within the sub-genre.

A lot of that is tied to twee through the reactionary nostalgia of the form — it's almost always a childlike naiveté that drastically limits the palette, and part of my antipathy is that I feel like a real sense of history of music and a broader view of what childhood is like is truncated down by what I see as almost uniformly privileged kids harkening back to the '80s and early '90s but without anything that would recommend it to someone who lived through that time. It's like if hipsters were making Hummel figurines and using their lack of technical skill as a sop to ironic distance.

Ukuleles signal kitsch, and there's a dead end that comes with kitsch where you really have to make the sensations it evokes much more powerful in order to overcome the limited conceptual avenues that you have with the work.

This is combined with a general lack of acknowledgement of the broader sounds and forerunners with ukuleles — I don't hate when they're doing Hawaiian sounds, I don't even hate it when they're used as part of a broader arrangement (like in Lawn Dart, by uke-heavy semi-novelty twee band Ed's Redeeming Qualities). Even a lack of interest in the twee forerunners seems to decouple current quirk-uke from their history — that twee was a pretty legitimate reaction against the hyper-macho hardcore punk scene seems to have been mistaken for "these are cute instruments for girls to play!" I almost never hear anyone trying to make flat out beautiful or sublime music with the uke, it's always tied up in humor, when a girl with a lower voice and a uke could kill a cover of Beat Happening's"Indian Summer".

There's also the problem, for me as a listener, that the pandering of Nerdgasm is close to me, but not at me. I generally resent pandering, but I fall for it pretty often I'm sure. However, while I'm a great big ol' nerd, I really don't like 90 percent of the references in that song, and the song itself seems pretty forced and awkward — there are a lot of off-meter lines and throw aways, so the songwriting itself seems kind of sloppy and lazy, and I'm more likely to notice these things precisely because I'm already annoyed at the fanboy squee over stuff like Neil Gaiman.

So it didn't work for me.

But here's the thing — I used to work as a music critic, and my schtick was pretty broadly snide and dismissive. There was so much good music out there, I thought, if we could just clear away the bad music everyone would see that. I burnt out pretty hard on music writing, though, because I'm better at slagging than I am at cheerleading, and there really isn't a huge market for music criticism that isn't one or the other, and I got sick of slagging shit. That I don't particularly care for "Nerdgasm" is fine. It's just not a song that I think is ready for prime time, and I think that even Teeter understands this — it's a bit of professional hackwork (and I say that as someone with great respect for professional hackwork) that is more about winning fans than it is about standing on its own. I think it's totally fair to criticize the song based on the song's merits (like I think I have a bit above, though that wasn't really the intention so much), and yeah, if I were writing about it, I'd drop some zingers in there in order to pander to readers like Decani who seem to think that articulating a particularly corrosive gob of bile is a critic's duty. But it's not, really, in large part because the criticism is never more important that the work itself, a viewpoint that's a large problem with the generally accepted view of critics as gatekeepers. The snark will always be less consequential, and this isn't a terribly consequential song to begin with.

Finally, when I see something like this, I do try to (in my better moments) ask myself how I'd react if a friend made it. I have a lot of creative friends, and I don't like everything they do. But something like this that reads as so amateur, from filming to performance, there's no point in slagging it. It's much more humane and much better criticism to acknowledge the flaws and then point to things that it does well (like the Torchwood/Doctor Who bit) and recognize that in this case, a lot of not liking it comes from it not being for you. That it got posted to MetaFilter is a little bit of a shame, because it's really not for a lot of us.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 PM on April 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


Also, if your brussel sprouts are bitter, you're doing it wrong.
posted by klangklangston at 12:04 PM on April 6, 2011


Everything's bitter when I'm done with it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:06 PM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am? Where?

When you write:
How about this instead: If you don't like anything that's posted, you can exercise your mod-given right to flag it and move on.
I ask because you seem to be addressing a discussion someone else is having. philip-random is asking people not to make posts about ukulele music.

Perhaps you can link to the comment in question. I don't see where he has asked any such thing.
posted by enn at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2011


> People say that there's a difference between constructive criticism and personal vendetta, but I'm not so sure about that. Or, at least, the difference is that you have to unpack one level of passive aggressive fake-friendly smirking with the constructive criticism.

This is utter bullshit, and the cynical attitude it represents reflects on you and no one else. It is not only possible, it is common to criticize things without any "passive aggressive fake-friendly smirking" and yet without being an asshole. When I've moved in writerly circles, my writer friends and I have criticized one another's work honestly, sometimes savagely (like Ford Madox Ford rolling around on the floor to express how much he hated the artificial diction of Ezra Pound's early poetry, which Pound said saved him three years), but always with underlying affection and respect. If you don't think that's possible, you probably don't believe in friendship or collegiality. Which, again, speaks about you and not the human race.

> If you think your artistic fruits are so very delicious that you feel justified in trotting them out on stage, or in print, or in any other public format, then I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.

Note to Jennifer: This comment is utterly representative of the poster's comments in general, but it is not (thank god) representative of MetaFilter. Congratulations for joining and dealing so well with the killing fields of MetaTalk!
posted by languagehat at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


He hates the ukelele.

130 years of Hawaiian musical culture laughs at his ignorance. And pities him.
posted by rtha at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's also the problem, for me as a listener, that the pandering of Nerdgasm is close to me, but not at me. I generally resent pandering, but I fall for it pretty often I'm sure. However, while I'm a great big ol' nerd, I really don't like 90 percent of the references in that song, and the song itself seems pretty forced and awkward — there are a lot of off-meter lines and throw aways, so the songwriting itself seems kind of sloppy and lazy, and I'm more likely to notice these things precisely because I'm already annoyed at the fanboy squee over stuff like Neil Gaiman.

Here's the thing--I suspect from the lyrics (and correct me if I'm wrong) that Jennifer is, too? Unlike the last nerd-pandering video I saw on here (I forget the title--the one that included the line "I'll be Doctor Who so ride on my TARDIS" or some tripe like that?), it actually seems to be a parody of the drooly reactions of men to geek women. It's hard for me not to read this as tongue-in-cheek: "Go ahead baby. You're about to spew/A thick hot stream of Star Wars knowledge."

That was my reading of it, at least.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:24 PM on April 6, 2011


enn, I'm going to reverse the questions in your comment:

enn: Perhaps you can link to the comment in question. I don't see where he has asked any such thing."

He said:

"Okay, how about this? The issue with the ukelele driven quirky pop song is that it's very limited pallet which long, long ago exhausted its possibilities. Time we put it down for a while." (Emphasis mine)

Which was in direct response to these two comments:

So, now there's ANOTHER identical girl-with-ukulele-singing-about-nerdy-stuff SLYT post. That's what bugs me about the ukulele. It's the SLYT of instruments. Sorry I don't give positive feedback about stuff that I don't like. I try to articulate what I dislike about the phenomenon of ukuleles. Yes, ultimately my criticism boils down to: it's not interesting to me.
posted by fuq at 12:50 PM on April 6 [+] [!] [quote]


That's not criticism, though, that's a statement of personal taste.
posted by KathrynT at 12:52 PM on April 6 [+] [!] [quote]


In that context, "Time we put it down for a while" seems pretty clear to me. If I'm somehow misreading him and he's not telling us we shouldn't be posting about ukulele music, I'm sure philip-random will enlighten us further.

"I am? Where?

When you write:
How about this instead: If you don't like anything that's posted, you can exercise your mod-given right to flag it and move on.

The sentence immediately following that one points out that rather than tell us what we should and should not be posting to MeFi, he is able to attack a post's merits in MeTa: "If you really, really don't like a post, you can even take your gripe to MeTa." Telling someone he has the ability to express himself in MeTa if he likes is not an example of censorship.
posted by zarq at 12:25 PM on April 6, 2011


More often than not, haters are really just lovers who don't love you.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


klangklangston: "I almost never hear anyone trying to make flat out beautiful or sublime music with the uke, it's always tied up in humor, when a girl with a lower voice and a uke could kill a cover of Beat Happening's"Indian Summer". "

Klang, John King.
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


philip-random is asking people not to make posts about ukulele music.

Actually no. To be specific, I was asking people not to make ukelele music. Period. For a while. Which, I realize is a bit broad. What I would really request (not demand) is that people not perform ukelele driven quirky pop songs for a while, and then imagine that I could in any way be gasmed by them ... unless there's such a thing as a BOREgasm.

Or what klang just said (not that I've even read the whole thing yet).
posted by philip-random at 12:37 PM on April 6, 2011


Man, could you at least spell ukulele right.

Anyway, I'm really struggling with what you're defining as "ukele driven quirky pop songs" because there's stuff like Jennifer's (which is indie/filky) and stuff like the Ira Glass woman, who is clearly writing parody stuff, but I haven't heard very much at all of what I'd teem pop songs played on the uke. I mean, there's Julia Nunes, but even though her stuff is indie pop, it's also pretty heartfelt, not so far from what Klang is claiming doesn't exist: "I almost never hear anyone trying to make flat out beautiful or sublime music with the uke, it's always tied up in humor, when a girl with a lower voice and a uke could kill a cover of Beat Happening's"Indian Summer.'"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:48 PM on April 6, 2011


Klang, also.... yes, I agree. Too many people treat the uke as twee. I have a great deal of respect for people like John King, who are able to transcend the mundane and create something uniquely wonderful.

But I also wonder if there might not be a more widespread dichotomy between listener perceptions and artist intentions. I keep mentioning my Iz post in this thread, (sorry!) but I remember trying to figure out a way to explain this while putting it together and failed. I knew it was important to convey that his work had deeper meaning, but couldn't figure out how to put that into words. Finally gave up and decided the post was long enough. I was thrilled when Joey Michaels explained it so perfectly.

I think we all take something different away from music when we hear it, and sometimes that's not what the original artist intended.
posted by zarq at 12:50 PM on April 6, 2011


Less of that, more of this.
posted by theodolite at 12:57 PM on April 6, 2011


Ukelele is an acceptable alternate spelling, especially in the UK.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on April 6, 2011


philip-random:Actually no. To be specific, I was asking people not to make ukelele music. Period.

Oh. I apologize. I misunderstood you.

For a while. Which, I realize is a bit broad. What I would really request (not demand) is that people not perform ukelele driven quirky pop songs for a while, and then imagine that I could in any way be gasmed by them ... unless there's such a thing as a BOREgasm.

Amanda Palmer will be crushed.
posted by zarq at 1:01 PM on April 6, 2011


That Julia Nunes is pretty great, and this cracked my ass up.
posted by klangklangston at 1:11 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tend to dislike the twee uke thang, but I also think that every genre has one great thing to offer; I love Kate Micucci singing "Walking in Los Angeles."
posted by Bookhouse at 1:18 PM on April 6, 2011


Of course that's a guitar that she's got there, so, you know, nevermind.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:19 PM on April 6, 2011


oh, and sorry for misspelling ukulele at least seven times in this and the other thread. I can't blame my spell-check for that.

And this I really, really like. Nothing quirky about it.
posted by philip-random at 1:25 PM on April 6, 2011


Yay for people discovering awesome ukulele songs.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:27 PM on April 6, 2011


Klangklangston, based on your ability to express what I'm thinking in a clearer, much more productive way than I, I would like to hire you to be my brain.
posted by fuq at 1:32 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to push back against the music critic and the request for beautiful or sublime. We have about eight centuries of comic songwriting and performance in the European tradition, much of it delightfully filthy. It's especially been the foundation of popular music going back to the start of the last century, and certainly has attracted its share of brilliant performers and performances.

Quirky? So what? Pop music can make you cry and rage. But it can also make you grin or laugh. That's almost all of the B-52s, most of Frank Zappa, Lux Interior fellatiating the microphone during a song, a good chunk of the Ramones, more than a little Beatles, and Screamin' Jay, (along with just about everyone else in the music business.) Don't hate a song or performance because it's quirky, hate it because it's so bad that it's not remotely fun.

Which is certainly true of that Ira Glass song, but The Two Man Gentleman Band can bring the ukulele to my town in May because I'm a sucker for their style of novelty jazz.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:57 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't care for the ukulele. How about a hollowed out armadillo being played by a ninja?
posted by phoque at 2:20 PM on April 6, 2011


Kirk, I think you misunderstood me: The reason I want to hear beautiful and sublime uke music is because I've already heard too much same-same quirk shit and I want a contrast. It's not necessarily about quirk being bad (though in general, I do think quirky is wildly over-rated next to the weird, and that privileging the quirky leads to less room for the weird — and I'd argue Lux Interior is more weird than quirky), but simply that there's really very little new indie uke that stands out against all the other indie uke.
posted by klangklangston at 2:26 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]




Ok, I'm happy to be corrected.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:30 PM on April 6, 2011


Bizarro MetaTalk: I'm happy to be corrected.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:40 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


fucking ukuleles, so perniciously cheerful they got us happy to be proved wrong
posted by philip-random at 3:31 PM on April 6, 2011


I do think quirky is wildly over-rated next to the weird, and that privileging the quirky leads to less room for the weird — and I'd argue Lux Interior is more weird than quirky

Indeed.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:33 PM on April 6, 2011


quirky is the uptight, acceptable form of WEIRD. quirky means you can keep your day job, stay off the no-fly list, and be seen with fifty yards of playgrounds.

WEIRD requires serious commitment and sacrifice. Or as Daevid Allen once put it:

"It will cost you everything you've got. The risks are multiple. Society's going to take you for a fool if they find out. You'll have to forget success. You'll have to learn to be seen as a long shot, a dead loss, a zero. And the fact is, you may never find out why you're doing it. You might simply blow all your fuses and burn out your circuits and go trudging through bad visions for the rest of you wasted life. But then. Maybe. You may just see where we're headed."

All hail the WEIRD.

And for what it's worth, I've never seen Daevid Allen and a ukulele in the same picture.
posted by philip-random at 4:05 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


People don't "hate" the ukulele because it's small or inferior as an instrument as Cortex suggests in the other thread. They hate it because it's usually a vessel for crap songs. The instrument is now synonymous with ironic rubbish and unpalatable reworkings of popular tunes played by people with no mastery of the instrument. It might be reassuring to think that the ukulele has become some sort of niche pariah instrument, in reality it's a red flag which acts as an immediately recognisable, easy indicator of ignorable content. A bit like the "23 hot girls in your area" line on a website or someone holding a flourescent sign at a soldiers funeral. The constant nerd references and layer of irony applied in these songs is, for the person singing them, a quick ticket to acceptance and approval. This is the easy alternative to work, artistry and creativity. It's pathetic in its cynicism, and its largely supported by others in the same boat. Remove the nerd references and nobody would be defending this average recording. It's completely okay to criticise someone's creative endeavour without "hating" the person, it's been happening for centuries. Metafilter is full of smart people - the song is garbage and almost everyone defending it knows that.

Some people just hate on things, and they're just going to.

Sure, but don't mix this up with genuine criticism, because you might actually just be terrible. I love all sorts of stuff, but I hated this with a passion. Most people have loves and hates. The whimpering, rainbow-infused idea that any old creative effort is laudable "just because" is why we are sailing in this excrement in the first place. Your rambling about bad days, gender and clothing reveal it is you that is misguidedly concentrating on issues other than the performance in question.
posted by fire&wings at 4:21 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you think your artistic fruits are so very delicious that you feel justified in trotting them out on stage, or in print, or in any other public format, then I reserve the right to say they suck in words as gentle or harsh as I deem appropriate.

This comment is stupid and ugly and stupid and sucks and is bad.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:11 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The ukulele is a symbol of how bloodless indie music is getting. I don't mind twee or indie pop but guys like Belle & Sebastian have some bit or something to say beyond 'look at how cute I am'.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:15 PM on April 6, 2011


Jennifer, I doubt that you're a genuinely terrible singer/songwriter. I don't even think this song is bad musically, although I admit that my own (unironic) affection for Don Ho makes me an easier mark for the uke than most, perhaps. Nevertheless, I do not like this song. I'm telling you this because I think that I'm not like this incredibly special person, and that therefore what I don't like about it is what most people who don't like it probably also don't like about it, but they're too busy being dicks or just don't feel like it's worth the effort to tell you, I dunno.

It's the pandering, but it's not just the pandering. The problem really is gender, but not in a way where negative reactions are misogynist (in my opinion). Like, I'll put it this way: Can you imagine a man singing this song? I can't, because there's nothing especially remarkable about a man singing about how cool it is that you like Neil Gaiman or Firefly or whatever. But although huge numbers of women also enjoy these things, the song attempts to capitalize on the perceived novelty of a woman who enjoys this "boy" stuff. Fairly or otherwise, this sets every fandom mentioned in the song back to a sad place that...well, Christ, I hope this stuff doesn't live there anymore. The song panders, but it panders to a stereotype, and the stereotype is just not pretty. Is it accurate? Fuck, I hope not, but in some cases, certainly, yeah...though the kind of guy who would respond positively to this song is probably not someone you'd want to know. I shudder. I am shuddering right now.

And that's just a male reaction. Would most women in these fandoms really like this? I kinda don't think so; I think they'd just be embarrassed by it, largely; but I don't know.

Anyway, you seem all right, and your musical abilities seem sound. I hope that you keep writing songs. I hope you write fewer songs like this one. I hope this is constructive and not just unpleasant. I don't even know that you were looking for constructive criticism, to be honest, but I felt like some sort of explanation of why (I think) the song is rubbing some people the wrong way was in order.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:18 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's almost all of the B-52s, most of Frank Zappa, Lux Interior fellatiating the microphone during a song, a good chunk of the Ramones, more than a little Beatles, and Screamin' Jay, (along with just about everyone else in the music business.)

please don't compare The Ramones, the Beatles, or Screamin' Jay to quirkly ukulele singers. if one of them had written Pet Cemetery it would have lines like 'sometimes dead is better/than seeing you in that sweater'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:18 PM on April 6, 2011


This is what happens when culture is democratized. Everybody gets to play their instrument at their level, and make the songs they want to play, and find the audience that enjoys them. Don't like it? It's a big web. If you see a ukulele, there may be some hot keys you can push to make them go away. But don't think that a vaguely superior, exclusionary sense of what culture should be or who should be allowed to do it is going to hold back the tide that is washing up on you. Culture is no longer the exclusive creation of those who we think are supposed to make it, or who have the skills or talent that you suppose they need. Will it be a better world? It depends on your tastes. But it will be a new world, and complaining about it isn't necessarily going to make you a good critic, just a sadly out-of-date one.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:29 PM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


please don't compare The Ramones, the Beatles, or Screamin' Jay to quirkly ukulele singers. if one of them had written Pet Cemetery it would have lines like 'sometimes dead is better/than seeing you in that sweater'

Somehow I don't think the Beatles would have minded.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:08 PM on April 6, 2011


Oh crap, am I too late for the drinking?
posted by nenequesadilla at 6:27 PM on April 6, 2011


philip-random: quirky is the uptight, acceptable form of WEIRD. quirky means you can keep your day job, stay off the no-fly list, and be seen with fifty yards of playgrounds.

I'm trying to be nice and polite, but really this strikes me as bullshit. The big problem is shifting the focus from the art to the artist. The second problem is that it's a inarguable rationalization around a subjective feeling. I don't think it's possible to come to a consensus around "weird." The third problem is that it's completely irrelevant. Weird art isn't automatically good. Commercial art isn't automatically bad.

Sticking well within the bounds of tradition isn't automatically bad either. Which was my point that you missed by a good country mile. Comic songs are a central part of the pop-music tradition. They don't need to be beautiful or sublime (although in rare cases they can be). They do need to be fun and well-performed.

fire&wings: Remove the nerd references and nobody would be defending this average recording.

Of course, but then, it wouldn't be filk. And I'll fully agree that filk is rubbish as popular music due to it's dependence on in-culture jokes.

Lovecraft In Brooklyn: please don't compare The Ramones, the Beatles, or Screamin' Jay to quirkly ukulele singers.

Which ones you object to? Tiny Tim, who was a damn good showman? Amanda Palmer? George Harrison? The dozens of pre-WWIII ukulele performers who gave Paul the sexual subtext behind "drive my car?" That's a mighty big brush you're painting with. (Which, if I pick up a ukulele, it's not going to be for self-written filk, it's going to be for Cole Porter, who was weird, quirky, AND hilarious.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:34 PM on April 6, 2011


Guess not.
posted by nenequesadilla at 6:39 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


They hate the ukulele for its freedoms.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:45 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The dozens of pre-WWIII ukulele performers"

I know it's a typo, but out of context, this is a pretty great line.
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 PM on April 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


The whimpering, rainbow-infused idea that any old creative effort is laudable "just because" is why we are sailing in this excrement in the first place.

That's a nice idea, but it's incorrect. There's just going to be a range, always. In this thread and the snark thread there's a view put forward that the alternative to being aggressively negative about things is to never say anything bad about anything, or only offering fawning praise. I don't think that's what I'm saying at all, though I may have gotten my point across poorly.

My point is there are some decent reasons why someone wouldn't want to be a total asshole in delivering whatever their critique is, first and foremost among them that you're more likely to have your criticisms listened to if you don't seem like an angry troll. So if your point is to actually raise the standards of discourse, to help people's creative endeavors out of "this excrement" that you rail against, why don't you make a sincere effort to help people improve instead of being a grouch that no one will take seriously? It just seems like a tactical choice if what you claim you want is the improvement of the general creative efforts presented to you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:57 PM on April 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


"The dozens of pre-WWIII ukulele performers"

I played my uke, right up til world war three
they said it was quirky, they said it was twee
so then I tried a banjo (on my knee)
but everybody said "that's too filk", you see
then I tried the mandolin, but it's so hard to tune
so I sang a cappella, 'neath the harvest moon
but just then world war three broke out
so now all I do is just twist and doubt
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:59 PM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Which ones you object to? Tiny Tim, who was a damn good showman?

I could never object to Tiny Tim. He was inarguably weird. And I mean that in the best possible way.
posted by philip-random at 7:00 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


klang, as a music critic i decided
never to be negative about anything and
only to review stuff that i utterly
adored. and i still burnt out on it. writing
about music is like dancing
about architecture--it's easy to do but you soon realize it's fucking
hard work and you're sweating blood and but you're still
only on the top floor and you've got a long way to go before you reach the
foundation.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:31 PM on April 6, 2011


my iphone decided that comment was a poem
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:31 PM on April 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


ok...an electric ukulele, HA!
posted by clavdivs at 7:43 PM on April 6, 2011


You guys still masterhatin' in here?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:44 PM on April 6, 2011


P.o.B.: "You guys still masterhatin' in here?"

♩ fap ♫ fap ♪ GRAR! ♬ fap ♫ GRAR! ♪ fap ♫ fap ♬ fap ♩ GRAAAAAR! ♫ fappity ♪♪♪ fapaaaaaah.
posted by zarq at 8:28 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: please don't compare The Ramones, the Beatles, or Screamin' Jay to quirkly ukulele singers.

Which ones you object to? Tiny Tim, who was a damn good showman? Amanda Palmer? George Harrison? The dozens of pre-WWIII ukulele performers who gave Paul the sexual subtext behind "drive my car?" That's a mighty big brush you're painting with. (Which, if I pick up a ukulele, it's not going to be for self-written filk, it's going to be for Cole Porter, who was weird, quirky, AND hilarious.)


I'm talking about the current trend of self-consciously quirky performers we're discussing in this thread. Though Amanda Palmer's uke covers are exactly the sort of pandering I'm dismissing. I saw her do a few beneath the Opera House steps. They could be okay but they were mostly annoying.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:50 PM on April 6, 2011


I am not going to hold myself solely to "what was said in this or the blue thread", that is a seriously restricting limitation, particularly when what happened there was merely a drop in the bucket of "what happens ALL the time on the internet" -but if you think I am taking something you said out of context, I wrote this yesterday, and it is not a response to "someone", more to a phenomena - not intended as a "refutation" of any one person or comment - if you are reading this (and you are encouraged actually not to), I am sure you are way nicer than I am maliciously making you out to be, and things are not as bifurcated as I [may] seem to suggest; thing is, I have been participating in a thread -on metafilter- when the "looks" of an 'unknown' young woman musician who shared a 'silly' song, that was pretty fun actually were deemed relevant (by one, or maybe two people, so, again, not "reflecting" on some "always", or "common" thing 'here'), up front, I say, you are not a "single comment caricature", just as Jennifer there is not a "slyt". surfaces, books, covers, onions, complexity of humanity.

...it is a problem'...
I am left wondering, are you saying, Decani, that the Ukelale is, to you, a problem? -if so, you should say so. If so, huh, that is a piccadilly of a peccadillo circus on the surface, but, to me, meh, I won't be restricted in my interests or exploration because you close that avenue off. The abundant voices describing why it isn't a tool of bad spirits seem to have swayed me, it is as valid as a snarling dogs Whine-oh WahWah Pedal, or PedalSteel guitar, or a Dreadnaught (sp?) guitar. When you get down to it, everything is a gimmick, sometimes gimmicks play out and ring true with a spectator/audience, sometimes they grate, or disappoint, sometimes winking to the audience works, other times people think it rings false. What's with the Sax? Huh, why is it so curvaceously tubular, and why are there little Sax's, and why are some not curvy. What kind of sax isn't the same as Lisa's. That is THE WORST!!

I mean, would it be conducive to having a rational discourse if, when music was referred to, I made comments yelling at people about how BIG guitars are "Bad", they scare me, and demanding information on the artist, so I can know for sure if they use big guitars, because they sound weird, and they aren't pretty, and they are more expensive, thus elitist... Oh, and I can't play them because they are different from my comfort zone instruments. -no; that is something that I should deal with on my own time, or bring up in a manner that doesn't say "anyone who disagrees, or sees the world of big guitars in a slightly brighter shade is ALSO bad" [or, more gratingly, a "withering flower"]!

The problem to me with this, "misguidedly concentrating on issues other than the performance in question."

is what multiple people have tried to point out, where people came along saying "I HATE this and all things LIKE this"... Just because Jennifer turned up on our door as a "slyt", she clearly, and obviously, is Much more (like, a Human being's worth more) and ignoring that multiple people noted that "they didn't particularly love the particular song/performance... but having looked deeper (at a more full picture of this Person who we stumbled into a small moment in her life; some judged on instinct and first impression, others didn't), they found things in her catalogue which DID speak to them; so, where some couldn't hold their fingers back from dropping a sardonic, angry dismissal, and aggression towards ELEMENTS of one particular performance by the young woman who certainly didn't "trot" her little piece of creativity onto Our lawn, we brought our lawn to HER doorstep; some set up shop to convince all who would hear that she was "bad", others said, I don't care, others looked closer, and found enjoyable things, others, who were not so twitchily judgmental found that they LIKED other things she had done! What the angry dismissals had the effect of doing is to say "don't go listen deeper to this artists catalogue, which would cause a missing of things which actually did speak to people who had the same (legitimate) critical examination of the "themes" and currents of culture that Jennifer was tapping into.


Re:"...aren't deer. They're antelope. So stay afraid, is what I'm saying".
For something to be deeply worried about, look to the Musk Deer in Frozen Post-Soviet climes, they are Vampire like I tell you; having evolved the growth of their antlers as vampiric tusks, in their mouths -- their antlers migrated to their mouths, yes, and have a gland that makes musk, which humans dab on their daubles... but that is neither here nor there. They are the Honey Badgers of the Frozen Tundra.

It was not just the "criticisms" that made me urged to comment, criticism is, as you note, and no one disagrees with, useful, it was the perfect storm of being cryptically cruel, the irrational (it is always irrational, no matter how much you think Shia Lebouf or lady gaga, or "fixies" whatever that oft hated thing is -- is destroying our modern world, or desensitizing us to mediocrity it isn't them, and "sticking it to" any modern actor/popstar isn't actually going to help in any meaningful manner, people who like them are not always the stereotypes you imagine; the "not my pop culture", "your favorite band angers me" anger, and the vehemence and invectives used; particularly when pressed, the actual critique was about ... "spray painted water guns and steam punk" or something. Something decidedly not the young woman who we stumbled upon a recording of in a small live venue (and looking back, the people in the audience appear to be having a roaring time... glad no one from here was there... because your "telling it true" would have RUINED the very real GOOD TIME being had by other people [if disruption of perceived power structures is the goal... that should be noted on the cover of your invectives, and it should be noted that your critique is not to "help artist/performer x grow, but rather to register overbearing displeasure to the world, and commiserate with like-minded people].

I am sorry this is long winded, and gabbles, and dallies, the "seen it all" phenomena is uniquely fascinating to me, and I am pretty sure it has roots elsewhere, but I haven't been able to coherently tie it up. But the phenomena fascinates me.

I dislike Grocer's "hack" as much as the next person (the incorrect application of "hack" [as in hungry, "hack a samwhich"], I didn't like that Will Smith Steampunk movie, I don't particularly get steampunk, though I am steampunk-curious, and have definitely seen cool things that are in the milieu of Steampunk...
So I certainly don't "love it" either... but I totally don't think the world is going to fall into "confucianism" because of it (sorry P-r, I read your comment as suggesting by allowing mediocrity we promote confucianism, and it was funny -- to me -- for a little bit).

I think the thing is that there are a whole lot of other people who don't see it as... bleakly (binarily?) as you wish to portray this Decani. it isn't "express instant dismissal", or "rainbow happy feelings and love of things that aren't super" (a conception expressed multiple times here)

Some people would be totally ok with someone like her (or the next person, or the next) staying here, and participating in a function other than "entertain me now with this post! NOW I said! Hey -- you Trotted out your ideas on the internet; fair game! TRUTH!" , and when their performance of whichever type... doesn't meet 'your' arbitrary "carefully studied, critical eye" (which - ultimately, EVERYTHING could, and shall fall victim to this; the beatles suck, their four chord sound is played out bro - Bin Done! As in, I often see posts about, or tangentially connected to this 'Dr. Who', and I see pictures, and even a couple clips, and I am like, what's up with the phone booth, and why are there multiple Doctors, and what is it even about -- but here's the thing, people like it, they gather to talk about it, and even get giddy about it, who on this bluegreen earth am 'I' to come along every time there is something tangentially related to it, laconically lamenting "oh, hey, guys, guess what! I am wiser than thou, more rational, I mean, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, what is the plot even really about! Those look like poor production values! It seems Cheesey. And what is wrong with people always wanting to talk about this thing that I don't care about!")... That merely shows my ignorance for all to see on my sleeve.

The phenomena, as on display here, begins to not only look at the direct cultural arifact before us (this one song), but to link a particular item to the OTHER artifacts that YOU assert are "the same" ('anything on boing boing I hate'). It is like conspiracy theory logic... everything is connected; rather this young woman ought to be seen as singular, regardless if you see trappings of some 'cultür-zeit' -- you are extrapolating if you attack one thing, based on disapproval of a tangential concept/reality.

Do you not also see where this leaves your "critiques"... or do you think that you ought to be able to denigrate people, and their culture, their community, tie people up with those who are not them. -and not face dismissal, or a rejection of your assertions (I am not telling you to love her, or to "grin and passive aggressively say you like it", no... but your marshmallow mouth stuff might have pushed away someone that other people would want to interact with [this instance the person was 'cool', but not everyone is making punk music, or rap, or heavy metal -some people are little sensitive flowers -- and there isn't something intrinsically WRONG with that, it is equally valid as "free thinking care-free hard Dudes of rock and roll" what if there was someone SUPER sensitive who created something I liked... I would actually stand between you and them if that were the case, because... seriously, there isn't a "law" that all "performers" be "hard"... some are soft, wimpy, weak, sad, manic-depressive, suicidal... whatever, everything; but no since you asked -- it isn't some sworn "duty" of an arbitrary audience to make people feel bad (it isn't a duty to make them feel "good" either... but no one was trying to force a "feel good" response... just not an ignorant one.

I mean, by this logic, metafilter would have called out Cobain, Foster-Wallace, and any number of people who were not "all rainbows", but also not "hard" (Cobain, was arguably hard, but I'd wager he would have rather seen his daughter grow than to die in a pool of addiction and depression; there is such thing as 'too real', it was more likely the squishy soft inside -self-doubt and loathing- that led to the pit of despair than the hardness of his experienced life).

Do you feel your "opinions" are free from this? Why should anyone not simply dismiss your "critique" (and really, I want to stop using that word, because the word critique, in real world lexicon of people who 'do' critiques, is tied up with a deep love for some aspect of the object of examination... to "critique" something that you couldn't care about for a hole in the dirt... is just Whining. I have followed along with the script at home long enough to have a general idea of your take on whining.

But people letting their canon fly free, asserting that not only do you not like this but dislike everything that follows a similar form, sees enjoyment at particular sites, etc,. -this is gratuitous despising of a web of interrelated culture forms, and not actually any examination of this young woman, no one saw a performance, just dim, grainy video footage of five minutes - no atmosphere, no context.

But yeah, I get your point, we should all seek to "stress test" every person who doesn't hide away their thoughts, loves, hopes, dreams or goals in a treasure chest (because that is the way the world is going; textsmessages [what were 4 years ago thought of as "direct private messages" are massively duplicatable, and I could give examples for miles of how people often are not "trotting themselves out" when they are noticed by the internet, homework is basically becoming "blogs" online in many educational forums, rather than paper essays, which grow mildew and are trashed in a decade, and more examples come to mind, but it is equally often a "suprise" to people when they are noticed, it was not all some grand plan to plant themselves squarely in front of "You"] finding someone on the internet is akin to serendipity, I never 'sought out' Julia Nunes, but one day I saw her, and was like, hey, neat).

There is great pressure in most arenas to make sure our lives are being recorded, and a byproduct of the services that are used to to capture, or share our discussions, creations, writings, are that they end up distributed, and not really deletable, and for you to say it is "trotting"... like everyone is just jumping up and down in front of YOU demanding attention, I feel this disingenuous, not really "being honest"... as appears to be the thesis presented.

The other option in the reality of today is to hide ideas away, cloister our thoughts, because there will ALWAYS be someone who thinks they are smarter, thinks they "get the world" better... but often they don't (maybe they do), but it is tragic if it leads to even one mind hiding their sensitive, troubled, even mass-market pandering thoughts from public sharing and re-creation, re-examination, clutching at thoughts as if they will accrue value by staying locked away, hidden and treasured -- unshared. There is no value, nor virtue in that (as I see it; this is totally up for legitimate tearing down now; but I would suggest not getting hung up on the trappings).

I don't personally 'like' (or really explore/care for/invest mental energy in) boing boing, nor hipster culture generally... but the "I am the opposite of hipster therefore better, now hear me hate it loudly"... grate on me. By how it grates on me, I suppose I sympathize with the opposite viewing of it, that there is a limited ammount of "praise" that may be doled out; as I, again, personally, only me, see it, there is no shame in praising someone for attempting, for trying. -for, as others have said, Sharing.

I'd take 100 badly mangled SLYT 'talent free' sharing little things over a bunch of people telling some stranger they 'suck', after hearing maybe one song, which was certainly not "bad", and displayed skill, bravery, talent, self expression (note, Jennifer, 'talent free' is not about you, this part is about a wider comment, a recognition that yes, there are people who aren't "mega talents", or professionals, or even actually all that musical, or creative, who share their 'stupid' creations (I say stupid, as I think about my own droppings, I am one, I will rise as much as an unleavened boiled bagel, and my "talent" is slimmer than threadbare well worn egyptian cotton... but yet, meh, putting things on paper, or to music is a release, allows forgetting, remembering, imagination, even helps think through thoughts, so I do it, even though it isn't "good". Perhaps it's not for you -- it's for me (and that idea doesn't necessarily have to invoke "vanity publishing", or ArkMusicFactory rhetoric).

(again though, there are several comments referring to "Jennifer"'s song/banjo songs/Uke music as "slyt" clearly showing that one doesn't think of posts as "Gateways"... but rather as "single serving entertainment delivery packages" in and of themselves. Like single serving sugar packs, rather than a shoot on a larger sugar cane, perhaps not even yet processed into refined sugar -but one day may be (*though here, filtering, so no, it is often not best practice to take some singular thing a person made in a SLYT, and make a post of only that... a slyt can lack context [context doesn't matter at all in a slyt honey badger, or Musk Deer clip - but might when talking about a hipster-appearing musician, or something, I mean context is important])

See, if you think of a Metafilter Slyt post on a person as "just that", an End, not a Means... you likely aren't inclined to go deeper, I can not say loudly enough; this is a valid form of Metafilter exploration, but by no means universal, certainly not "truth", it inclines to preclude looking deeper, at other postings, homepages, or the 'channel' of people who made something; often what we "notice" here, are just the tip of the creative ice-burg, and there is almost always more behind the "gateway" than what just happens to be "highlighted" by any given user, in a given Post here on metafilter.

I guess I just don't like whining (particularly when all Glamour-glitzed up as being hard and about Truth). But this is just more whining now, and really isn't meant to degrade, or shout down someone for not-liking something; more like vacillation and boring, and I played the purposeful fool, so, no intended hard feelings because you probably have a lot more behind your points than I noticed from my vantage point of not being in your thoughts, it is ok to just be tired of some cultural phenomena, maybe you know better how annoying X thing is; unless conflict is what you thrive on, in which case... Keep yer Grar!d up, watch them lefty jabs - watch for rib shots.
Sorry that I am not conciser though. I only post this because you are interesting, if you weren't interesting to me, or leading me to think, and wish to respond, I guess I wouldn't be here, right, so there's that common ground.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:14 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You make a lot of points.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:30 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I dunno. he probably makes some good points. Some people would be totally ok with someone like her (or the next person, or the next) staying here, and participating in a function other than "entertain me now with this post! NOW I said! Hey -- you Trotted out your ideas on the internet; fair game! TRUTH!" , and when their performance of whichever type... doesn't meet 'your' arbitrary "carefully studied, critical eye" (which - ultimately, EVERYTHING could, and shall fall victim to this; the beatles suck, their four chord sound is played out bro - Bin Done! As in, I often see posts about, or tangentially connected to this 'Dr. Who', and I see pictures, and even a couple clips, and I am like, what's up with the phone booth, and why are there multiple Doctors, and what is it even about -- but here's the thing, people like it, they gather to talk about it, and even get giddy about it, who on this bluegreen earth am 'I' to come along every time there is something tangentially related to it, laconically lamenting "oh, hey, guys, guess what! I am wiser than thou, more rational, I mean, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, what is the plot even really about! Those look like poor production values! It seems Cheesey. And what is wrong with people always wanting to talk about this thing that I don't care about!")... That merely shows my ignorance for all to see on my sleeve.

the difference is that this is a New Thing that we're being asked to evaluate. when I made my Doctor Who post I wasn't saying 'hey, check out this cool British sci-fi show!'. it was 'hey, here's some Doctor Who news for Doctor Who fans'. it was a thing that already had a fanbase and a history and all that. and it would have been cool for someone to say 'hey, this doesn't make sense' and someone else could say 'yeah, probably, but in the context of the show it works' or 'it's been around for ages, just go with it' or something.

whereas if I posted one of the short films i've been watching recently that's a New Thing, and people are evaluating it as a New Thing and can say 'hey, this is actually pretty boring and not scary at all'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:36 PM on April 6, 2011


Perhaps it's not for you -- it's for me (and that idea doesn't necessarily have to invoke "vanity publishing", or ArkMusicFactory rhetoric).

i think the reason I and others were commenting on it was because it was MEANT for us. I don't comment on dance music threads 'cause I just don't like that genre. But I like nerd things, i like indie music, and I like all the signifiers she's talking about. I think most of the people were in the same boat. We were predisposed to liking it, but we evaluated it and said 'no, we're sick of this kind of this kind of thing'. To continue the Doctor Who analogy, somebody who's a sci-fi fan or a British TV fan or an old Doctor Who fan could come in with a bunch of criticisms (as some people did) and it would be valid.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:39 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ukulele is brought in to a court of law
The judge and the jury
Twelve members of the jury
All listening to records

Is this a crime against the state?
This is the verdict they reach:

Never listen to ukulele
Never listen to ukulele
Never listen to ukulele
Never listen to ukulele


(Someone controls ukulele)
posted by Dumsnill at 11:14 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never said never.

... except the four times I did, but it was always in context, and I certainly never meant to suggest that there's anything inherently wrong with the ukulele, except when it is wielded by hipsters too lazy to learn a six string instrument.
posted by philip-random at 12:10 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


and not 'lazy' in a badass punk way
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:27 AM on April 7, 2011


I certainly never meant to suggest that there's anything inherently wrong with the ukulele, except when it is wielded by hipsters too lazy to learn a six string instrument.

One thing that I can always learn more about is how hard stringed instruments are to play. So, the ukulele is easier to learn than a guitar, but the banjo, despite having fewer than six strings, is very hard to learn to play.

So, would it be a grand gesture to give a woman I think is beautiful a ukulele?
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:18 AM on April 7, 2011


I play the autoharp, which has 36 strings. It's six times harder than the guitar! PROVEN FACT
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:55 AM on April 7, 2011


...too lazy to learn a six string instrument.
Aren't you being a little Sextetist there philip-random? Must you continue to privilege such an arcane tool? Keytars; those, those are the future.

More seriously, but still far from serious; by that logic, does that make people who play 12 strings like ultra-sicians? And those with multi-neck guitars like cops among men. Are people with 6-six strings supposed to be seen as lazy to 12 string players? Is this the new "great chain of being", only, the great chain of instruments -let us know here! People have appearances of arbitrary quality-preferential-coolness-valuation to keep up.

Seems like you guys there are ultimately just talking about things you like, or prefer, which is totally cool; but important you come to see as not being -universal- thus not like, judging the VALUE of things on how much they relate to your interests (also note that "quality", and "value", are different metrics; Multiple people have commented on the "Quality" of specific ukulele songs or presentations, without making judgements on the VALUE of people who like them, or on women who play them; judging the merit or worth of existence for things that aren't that particular thing you like, it very much feels like your metric is scaled simply by not being that particular specific thing you like.

I guess I don't see how this position;

"The ukulele is a symbol of how bloodless indie music is getting. I don't mind twee or indie pop but guys like Belle & Sebastian have some bit or something to say beyond 'look at how cute I am'."

actually suggests you are the target, or as who this particular just-for-fun song which is played on the Ukulele was "meant" for, I would even suggest it might mean that you are not who it is 'for' (there are people who like the same genres, and all, but also feel the Ukulele is a valid tool for creation. Though I am not sure that your ascribed characterization of the "motivation" is true, or accurate, or valid. What is "something to say", something virtuous? What is deep; you know what? Today any modern fool can repeat the words of the deepest-master, quoting the best and brightest can be done with no citation and passed of as insight, and by communal dint, take on some of their luminous glow; perhaps it is a sign of true depth to quote the fool, and extrapolate from the darkness, showing therein the insight and illuminating virtue of wisdom entrenched?
posted by infinite intimation at 2:23 AM on April 7, 2011


I guess I don't see how this position;

"The ukulele is a symbol of how bloodless indie music is getting. I don't mind twee or indie pop but guys like Belle & Sebastian have some bit or something to say beyond 'look at how cute I am'."

actually suggests you are the target, or as who this particular just-for-fun song which is played on the Ukulele was "meant" for, I would even suggest it might mean that you are not who it is 'for' (there are people who like the same genres, and all, but also feel the Ukulele is a valid tool for creation.


Huh? You can't define art and music so narrowly that "if you don't like it, you're not part of the audience". I'm in the two subcultures this is targeting. I own cutsey indie music and I own stuff by Gaiman and Whedon and all that. Hell I even liked 'Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury' which was funny because it was so specific. People are allowed to critisize things. It's not a personal judgement on the singer. And yes, it might be a bit of a value judgement. And that's fair enough. A group of people can say 'you know what? I'm tired of being pandered to, and I don't like this specific style'.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:26 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Question: Mark King of Level 42 was known as the world's best living bassist in his pomp. How does that match up to guitar? Journeyman session musician, or good-but-not-great guitar legend?
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:08 AM on April 7, 2011


I don't know, but man, he gave me some lessons in love.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:13 AM on April 7, 2011


I learned a lot from his son, funnily enough. I guess it runs in the family.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:42 AM on April 7, 2011


and I certainly never meant to suggest that there's anything inherently wrong with the ukulele, except when it is wielded by hipsters too lazy to learn a six string instrument.

See me holding my hands very far apart? That is the distance between not knowing how to play an instrument in the guitar family and having a basic set of working instrumental skills on one.

Now I am holding my hands very close together. That is the distance between having a basic set of working instrumental skills on the four-string uke vs. on the six-string guitar.

The uke is a relatively accessible instrument, which, anybody's taken-as-read annoyance with uke meme saturation, I was trapped in a McDonalds with a hipster horror stories, blah blah blah notwithstanding, is a really good thing because it means people who might not be making music otherwise have something they're not afraid to try learning to play.

There's a lot to recommend it as a first step into musicianhood: low cost, easy to store, easier on the fingers than steel strings for the beginner, chord forms a bit easier to learn than for the guitar (and nicely transferable to the guitar, along with the rest of the mechanical skills a uke player has to learn). You still have to learn to play it, but a lot of people are going to be less intimidated by the cost and the learning curve than if you just said "go buy a guitar, learn to play it". Which is important, because learning to play an instrument from scratch is difficult.

So don't slag the uke for being the lazy instrument. I've seen it be the first instrument, or the first instrument after an unhappy forced-musicianship childhood, for a number of friends, and love the fact that they're getting some joy out of strumming that little thing. If you're annoyed at hipsters, be annoyed at hipsters, but try not to let that put you in a place where you're basically taking a crap on people who are actually learning to do something musical just because you're tired of the instrument they picked.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 AM on April 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


If you are unhappy about being trapped in McDonalds with a hipster spending an hour ordering with a ukulele, remember that you were there by choice. Then try to be extra nice to serving staff for the rest of your life to make up for, effectively, condoning terrorism.

(If the ukulele-slinger was your ride home and you were at the Uluru McDonalds, sentence is commuted. But still, tip your wait staff!)
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:03 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't define art and music so narrowly that "if you don't like it, you're not part of the audience."

I will say that you can, for some value of "art" and "music." Broadly speaking, pop(ular) music (I include in this category "pop," i.e. Gaga/Beyonce-esque dance-pop, pop vocals, rock, "indie" rock, r'n'b, hip-hop, and to the extent that it shares some qualities with these musics, country-rock/pop) is music that privileges style and artist-audience identification over innate talent, training, and education, over, fundamentally, difficulty. This is one quality (the main quality, I'm inclined to argue) that distinguishes popular music from some kinds of jazz, or various kinds of orchestral, symphonic, chamber, or art musics. If it sounds like I'm proposing a banality here, that is, that popular music is popular because it isn't difficult, what I want to insist on is that out of, or because of, this refusal of difficulty, popular music instead always speaks to its audiences of a way to be one among many. Popular music is, or wants to be, democratic. This is the central myth of rock n' roll ("three chords and a guitar"), but it's also the myth of celeb pop vocalists from at least Sinatra and Crosby all the way up to American Idol, as well as an aspect of the story of Afro/Carib-American musics like reggae, r'n'b, and hip-hop. Anyone can do it. You can get it if you really want it. The performer of popular music speaks for an audience and the audience speaks (or wants to speak, or wants to believe they could speak) through the performer.

But if popular music speaks of a way to be one among many, it speaks also of the many ways to be one among many. And so in the place of wrestling with difficulty, popular music (as a condition of being popular music) wrestles with identities, with styles, musically. Among audiences, fans, of popular musics this same wrestling with identities characterizes the endless debates about the nature, status, and place of those styles. When a popular song, or the performance of a popular song, doesn't speak to you, more so, when you can't imagine speaking through the artist, in the same way, then you aren't the audience. In this sense, then, yes, you can say that if you don't like it, some particular instance of popular music, then you're not part of the audience.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:10 AM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


In this sense, then, yes, you can say that if you don't like it, some particular instance of popular music, then you're not part of the audience.

Well, my standard response when someone I know presents me with a work of their art (a song, a movie, a story) that I don't really like is to politely say something along the lines of, "Well, I'm not really the target market for this thing ... " And then try and change the subject.

But in a way, that's bullshit, particularly with regard to something like POP music because, as you sort of point out, octobersurprise, POP is a cultural battleground where all manner of styles, genres, ambitions, agendas have it out (with the audience essentially getting the final say in terms of who they applaud, or whose merchandise they buy). Which makes the audience the EXPERTS, and yeah, I'm definitely one of them ... sometimes anyway.

So the degree to which I care about anything POP is the degree to which I get to have a say about it. For instance, I don't care very much about most so-called Death Metal (or whatever the correct designation is these days), so I generally don't say anything about it at all. But POP, those two-to-five minute wonders that all in their way are fighting hard for my attention sometimes to enormously annoying effect -- I've often got a lot to say about them ... and so I do. And just as the music itself is, as you say, a more or less informal case of "... style and artist-audience identification over innate talent, training, and education, over, fundamentally, difficulty ..." then it follows that my critiques also don't need to come from a formal (ie: academic, scholarly) place.

That is, I'm allowed to throw in and shout Yay! or Nay! with pretty much the same level of sloppy, albeit enthusiastic commitment with which the piece was created in the first place.

And it's fun. Long Live Pop! And arguing about it.
posted by philip-random at 9:05 AM on April 7, 2011


Ever since joining Metafilter I have wanted something I say or post to be discussed in MetaTalk, and here I am, away from Metafilter for two days, and I miss all the fun! Ack! I am going back to my obsessive Metafiltering where it is never off, I am always logged in, and I MISS NOTHING.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:48 AM on April 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


This unfolds like a magazine article...

"The uke in popular culture and critical responses in a new medium."

Today any modern fool can repeat the words of the deepest-master, quoting the best and brightest can be done with no citation and passed of as insight, and by communal dint, take on some of their luminous glow; perhaps it is a sign of true depth to quote the fool, and extrapolate from the darkness, showing therein the insight and illuminating virtue of wisdom entrenched?

The Sinope response should suffice.
posted by clavdivs at 1:26 PM on April 7, 2011


This is the central myth of rock n' roll ("three chords and a guitar")

That's 'three chords and the truth' and it's about punk.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:45 PM on April 7, 2011


By the way, Nerdgasm Furore would be a great name for an album. Maybe even a band.
posted by philip-random at 5:34 PM on April 7, 2011


In addition to what Cortex has identified as the Why Am I Not Being Correctly Entertained/entitlement crowd, there is a small-but-vocal subset of humanity for whom complaining IS the entertainment.

These are the people who seemingly love nothing better than to encounter a Metafilter thread about something they care little about (like fonts, or Lady GaGa). The people who see a link about someone playing a nerdly song on the ukelele and click it with glee while thinking, "Oh boy! I hate all of those things! I MUST WATCH THIS I BET I'LL HATE IT."

This phenomena is what is encapsulated by the pithy phrase, "Haters gonna hate."
posted by ErikaB at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's 'three chords and the truth' and it's about punk.

I'd always heard "Country music is three chords and the truth," and after digging around, it appears to have originated with a Nashville songwriter named Harlan Howard.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:16 PM on April 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Devil's Rancher- the subtlety of that quote can only be appreciated in the original Klingon.
posted by Jpfed at 9:49 PM on April 7, 2011


I'm listening through the list of Teeter's works, and tottering towards totally liking it (sorry). Anyway, her stuff is on my list of songs worth acquiring, or at least listening to on occasion.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:58 PM on April 7, 2011


the subtlety of that quote can only be appreciated in the original Klingon.

What we have here is a Kadir beneath Mo Moteh.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:13 AM on April 8, 2011


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