1.23.2009

Simply Put

The moments when genres and scenes are having their little convulsions and crises in meaning is not the moment when they should be dismissed, but rather the moment when they should be looked into more deeply.  

1.22.2009

RA Critics Discuss 2008 Part Two

Well, as Simon states, I am only interested in the "abstract contours" here, and the second set of emails (which were published hours after the first, and on the same page) begins the process of shying away from them. So I don't have much to add to what I have previously posted.

Peter and Phil add some helpful specifics on the sound of music in 2008, and I am looking forward to checking out the records they mention. Since Simon is reading, I should mention to him, and to everyone else, that, as discussed in the exchange in question, the terminology has really failed the music. Sure, there are some records which bite to heavily on Theo Parrish's style, but the interesting story to me was the "slice of deep" that used house as a way of undoing the introversion that had plagued the minimal sound. Rather than being anti-minimal, although the producers may have thought they were, these records modified the minimal sound palette to bring a new sense of openness and communication back to the music. The ketamine aspect of the music, the sound of lying around in your own world, was replaced with a new ecstasy-like sense of unity. The idea that all of this music shies away from innovation is one borne of the language used to discuss the music, not the music itself. So Simon, everyone, try listening!

I really do appreciate Ronan's attempt to keep the more abstract aspect of the debate going. I also appreciate his call for deeper analysis into issues of the production and dissemination of the music (ie the industry). 

Lastly, under a picture of Diplo, someone commented that "Diplo's distaste for minimal techno made much more sense in 2008." Really?

Here is a story about Diplo. A friend of mine, who is not, in any way part of any critical discourse on music, and who grew up listening to pop and r&b, whose perspective is "authentic" within the context of this discussion, even if I still maintain there is no such thing as authenticity in general, recently got turned on to the whole Diplo/M.I.A./Santogold/Baltimore House axis. He went to go see Diplo play, and reported on the night. Not knowing the anything about hipsters, he mentioned the silly, superficial conformity of the people he encountered, and stated that Diplo was mostly playing early 90s house hits. He couldn't understand what the big deal was, why Diplo had such huge popularity from playing records like "I Like To Move It". He likened the experience, the playlist, to dances he went to in High School, and all of the easy, safe musical choices that that entails. He asked me, without any prompting, whether the underground was dead. Can we really say, based on the records of 2008, that techno and house was so bad, so uncreative, that we would rather be one of the people paying "£20 To Get In" to hear only the most crowd-pleasing classics thrown back in our faces "ironically"?

1.20.2009

Adding Another Voice To The Choir

Simon Reynolds make a great point in the Wire's 2008 Rewind issue, already posted here by a different writers as part of an excellent essay regarding the difficulty in holding exclusive convictions in the face of so many different musical ideas. 

“As young musicians develop in a climate where the musical past is accessible and available to an inundating degree, you encounter artists whose work is a constellation of exquisite taste, a latticework of reference points and sources that span the decades and the oceans but never quite manages to invent a reason for itself to exist.”

Perhaps the showing of reference points and taste is the reason for the music to exist.  

What I find interesting about this state of affairs is how much it implicates genres that have a history of rebelling against this sort of thing.  It used to be that it was solely pop, solely "the mainstream", solely, ultimately, capital, that had this sort of blind yet voracious desire for anything and everything that could keep itself going.  What defined any genre that stood against this was distinction, was specificity, was a tangible agency.  Pop was seen as product, something that didn't need a reason to exist, it just was.  

A quick very general theory of recent American rock history:
80s: Pop is crap, meaningless, lacking rationale.  The antidote is to make music specific and meaningful, underground.

90s:  Pop is meaningful.  The popularity of Alternative pushes the heartfelt convictions of young men and women out to the forefront of consciousness.  Three reactions:  1) not seeing this meaning as the corporate product it became and buying into Alternative and its aesthetics, in which case you may still listen to modern rock radio to this day, 2)  seeing meaning as corporate and taking meaning in music in direction that is more quirky, more individualistic, less universal or communal or, 3) seeing meaning as corporate and using irony as a way to interrogate questions of meaning, as a way out.

00s:  Pop is meaningless again but refreshingly so.  Indie reactions against the popularity of Alternative are unsatisfying, Justin Timberlake is not.  Now all music is equally valid.  Irony becomes a self-delusional tactic.  You do like Britney, you do like disco, you do like Christopher Cross, and the fun of music is showing these likes off, but you don't believe.  Irony is no longer a tactic to interrogate values, it simply shows the lack of them.  

RA Critics Discuss 2008 Part One

RA has posted the first of two sets of exchanges between Peter Chambers, Ronan Fitzgerald and Philip Sherburne here.

I will comment further as the rest of the exchange is published, but what struck me most upon my first reading was the weird tone of regret that has become so predominant in dance discourse. While there were certainly disagreements in the past of this music as to what was good, what was forward-thinking, what was bland or repetitive, I can't help but feeling that there is something unique about the way in which past ideas, past genres, in this case both minimal, and now nu-deep-house, are considered somehow as mistakes. Ronan's use of the word Catholic is entirely apt: there seems to be so much guilt associated with the past; self-abandonment to the pleasure of the historical moment is something to be atoned for later.  

This is perhaps another reason why online writing hasn't, for the most part, created an explosion of new ideas, but has instead contented itself with smaller and smaller refinements of pre-existing ones. Within the collapsed narrative of the postmodern, the constant availability of the past, any ardent passion is preserved in perpetuity. The truth of the moment of belief is not allowed to take its place in history, not allowed its integrity, and must be accounted for years later, must be seen as wanting in light of new information, read as if this new information was available then.  All belief becomes foolish in hindsight, all commitments and convictions unworthy.  

****
Peter seems content with house and techno as genres, ie specific collections of aesthetics to be endlessly reconfigured with occasional breakthroughs and mutations. I will attempt to dismiss this style of thinking in a later post. 

The fact that Ronan calls his online collection of writing "House Is A Feeling" denotes the possibility that there can be feelings, beliefs and thoughts that are, on the one hand, part of a genre but also able to be discussed separately. Although he acknowledges the music is still functional, writing "Of course you could go to a club and just enjoy it. Hell, you could go to several clubs and just really fucking enjoy it...", he rejects the idea of the music being defined in such a small way, and maybe even understands the redundancy of this position, ie dance music is something you can dance to. Instead, he laments the lack of new blood, and the seeming powerlessness of dance music to entice this new blood in. The constant hand-wringing of the discourse seems to either reveal weakness or create it, or both.  

While I will address the issue of evangelism, and the process of expanding dance music in a later post (there are two really big ones coming up that will run me dry of ideas for months!), I do want to point out one difficulty that Ronan's words raise. If we identify genre here as both aesthetics, sounds and sound-ideas, and also the feelings, beliefs, etc. mentioned above, what genre, what world of musical thought, could techno and house borrow from? Whatever problems techno and house are facing now, other genres are suffering even worse. Electronic dance music was the last of the uber-genres to evolve. There is no more-vital uber-genre to borrow from. Collisions with jazz, with classical, with rock, with rap, with "world", will, for very different reasons in each case, do little to improve techno and house music as it is now. Something different is called for.  

****
Ronan writes:

Perhaps a coherent dance discourse is increasingly impossible and irrelevant, as an online world which allows users to inform themselves finally seems to have stabilized? In 2009 there may be even fewer stories to tell. For the vast majority of fans, this probably doesn't matter in the slightest.

All I can say for now is that context is important, perhaps even more important now than it ever was, and that perhaps the most important route of inquiry the writer must take now is to figure out why there is no desire for it. In other words, what is wrong with these so-called fans? Especially in a genre where the idea of the collective was and is so important, the willingness of the fan to have the entirety of experience reduced to their own is problematic. This is not unique to techno and house of course. This is a global problem.


1.13.2009

Another Banned Word

Following from my last post, I add:

Represent. 

If there was ever a word to describe the artistic practice that spelled the death of its own medium, this is it. It is a word that denies creativity, denies interpretation. The artist becomes merely a conduit, and usually to things that are easily observable otherwise, and therefore don't need to be represented!  

The "B" side of "represent" is when the word is used the denote the practice of acting in accord with the symbol of yourself that you have created or that has been created for you. To represent is to try to become the person you are seen to be.

Try and identify these quotes from Generation Ecstasy:

"That was during the years after the separation [of techno into different styles]. It was a depressing thing for a lot of us. I 've always enjoyed playing longer sets. When I do them, I take things up-down, fast-slow, encompassing different kinds of music."

"It was about [the] two [+8] DJs playing the whole night, embracing the old principles of house, when there weren't enough records being made to play one style all night."

The quotes are from Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva respectively (the editing belongs to SR and myself, respectively as well).  

Not to pick on Hawtin, who takes quite an unjust beating for the fact that some of the music his label has released has become a parody of itself (of course, it was all so exciting when it seemed new, both to the current "haters" and, of course, to him and his labelmates), but I point out these quotes simply to show what happens when DJs, any DJs, ally themselves too specifically with a sound. The circle that runs between what you want to project as an artist and what others expect from you tightens until it becomes a noose.

At the end of the day, I am all for purism. Those DJs that want to show themselves off by picking out any and every record they have ever heard to prove their eclecticism are just representing in their own way, only they "represent" eclecticism instead of minimal or house. The hard work of the DJ has always been to recontextualize, to make a Chain Reaction record a sexy vocal house record, or to take some bonus beats cut at the end of an old 12" and make it a minimal classic. In this way, genres remain open and fluid, capable of change and evolution. The first step down the road to the death of a genre is when the DJ doesn't play anything else.  

1.12.2009

Music Post-Baudrillard

Words banned from 2009:
White, Black, Authentic, Fake.

These words lead us away from the truth, because they no longer describe anything else but themselves, or possibly, their speaker. And, like any opposed concepts, they are only two sides of the same coin. Neither word can undo the other. The more vehement the defense of "the real", the more starkly defined the fake becomes. If you believe so passionately in one versus another, the only way out is to deny both. While this is true for both those that believe in the fake, ie those that relish the role of postmodern magician (best exemplified by Cindy Sherman and other photographers), and those that believe in the real, the authentic, this will be a harder challenge for the latter. Those that love their little referential games can only gain pleasure from what must seem like the tedious and pitiful defense of the real that the real's defenders mount. As soon as something is declared authentic, that is when it is at its most ripe for the playful to consume it, chew it up, and spit it out. The digested thing that was real becomes a shadow of itself, "real" still on it's surface, even to those who defend it, but unable to function.  

So even though the ghost of authenticity is harder to give up to the actual "real", which is the real of play, of consumption, those that believe in the authentic have more to gain by giving it up. Why? Because another word for authentic is roots. The authentic is self-sustaining life form. The real of the fake is more like a scavenger, contingent on other life forms. In a sense, any new form of the authentic is an invitation to its own consumption, its own destruction. Better to abandon the concept all together, to leave scavengers to their own starvation.  

All of this being said, while I have never enjoyed the work of Koons, of Sherman, or even of Beck, I am one to find the defense of the authentic tedious and pitiful. I never know what the word means. It always seems to boil down to a lack of agency or intelligence. The authentic blues artist is one who has never heard any other music? Who has never even seen another county than the one they grew up in? Who has never had an impure motive for creation? The one who has never read a book of cultural criticism, or criticism in general? Perhaps authenticity in the artist has something to do with belief? But even then, theology changes, and the authentic artist with it (in fact, reality is change, preservation is fake). So does authentic mean to change without being an agent of it? What worth does this have? Why, even though my taste runs more towards music that is passionate, music that "means something", am I not tempted to develop autism and retire to a shed in the woods to survive only on the cosumption of my own flesh?

In his liner notes to Arvo Part's Alina on ECM, Hermann Conen writes "...in an era that admits of no overall style, only personal idioms... the more highly developed a style, the more it excludes." This exclusion reveals another side of creation. On the one side, the actual music produced and, on the other, "the well-developed sense of responsibility" that the "artists' pre-eminent position imposes on them." Put another way, the more developed the artist and his or her idiom, the more responsible they are for what they exclude. In fact, the artistic process becomes a process of explicit exclusion, as opposed to incidental exclusion.

In earlier times, when it was actually feasible not hear, well, any style of music at all, the case could be made for the possibility of authenticity (but even then, my original complaints about the retroactive claim of authenticity still hold).  However, in the current postmodern age, ie the age of the flat, compact, and easily traversable space of information, there is no excuse anymore. All artists must bear the responsibility mentioned above. All must come to terms with all, and make their choices informed ones. The defense of the authentic is a defense of the irresponsible. 

And what holds for genre, which is what I have been thinking of mostly, holds for instruments, for sounds, as well. Who can mount an argument for any one sound over another? Who can claim the authenticity of the guitar? The futurism of the synthesizer? All sounds are car commercials! We are truly at the end of the era of aesthetics, the point at which all symbols are empty signifiers, incapable of denoting whatever lies behind them, incapable of even ensuring that something lies behind them, if there was even anything at all. And since discussions of both the fake and the authentic rely on these symbols themselves, these discussions are bound to fail. 

And the music fails. The more reliant the music on signifiers, on referents, on anything but itself, the more weightless it becomes. The desire for roots, for connectedness, for history, undoes itself. The perfect analog is the icon sitting right on your computer desktop, which only refers to the real program, but is not the program itself.

So what is the solution? All music is under fire here, everything. The only options left seem to be noise or silence, which, even given the above, are the worst options available. Silence, inaction, the absolute lack of communication, is not an end worth seeking. There is nothing vanguardist about saying nothing. Art itself is born of lack. It cannot succeed in undoing its own rationale, its own motive. Even the desire to communicate nothing, perhaps borne of a desire to not add to the endless stream of information, to not be part of what is may be the problem, is a desire, and must be manifested. The lack of manifestation becomes the lack of the desire, there is no other possible interpretation. There is no martyr without an explicit cause.

And what of noise? Well, there is noise music, and, outside of the general tame critical statement about any genre, ie there must be a good album of it out there somewhere, noise is possibly even more irresponsible than silence. Depending on your perspective on postmodernity, as defined above, there is either too much information, all valueless and flat, or, too much detail, too many lines on the map, too much delineation (or both). Noise, as a style of music that is, at least according to one practitioner I have discussed it with, concerned with these issues and yet fails to resolve either issue. It is either just adding to the stream of crap, just "representing", ie giving up on interpretation and/or communication, redundant, or it is too delineated, an avant-garde of aesthetics, not of practice. Music that is, in its own way, just as conformist as any other, only seen as superior for conforming to artists that are more likely to appear in The Wire than Rolling Stone.   

So silence and noise are out, we must deal with what is left between these poles, the landscape of empty signifiers. We know we cannot seek out the authentic for fear of destroying it (in fact, Baudrillard said somewhere that retro itself is demystification, a way of undoing the power that the past could hold. Retro makes the past valueless, seamless and integrated to the present, which I would contrast with nostalgia, which, defined here, means missing the power of the still-mystic). We also know that the endless recycling of signifiers will not create the New.  What is left?

(I plan on answering that question, but only after these ideas have been applied more specifically.) 

And The Inevitable Minimal Is Not Prog Follow Up

Maybe this is implied in my earlier posts, but, in the interest of clarity:

At least from how I experienced it, the pre-history of minimal was tech-house in the absolute broadest sense of the phrase, encompassing all of the different styles I mentioned below. At this point, there was still an interest in maintaining the more experimental spirit of the history of techno and house by finding a place outside of hard techno and big-room house, which was essentially US vocal garage.  

Prog always seemed to me like an attempt at refining out those experiments, whereas this occurred over time with minimal, and almost accidentally, which is why the original practitioners were the first to abandon it.  

Minimal is like a language formed solely from the specialized terminology and unjustly antiquated phrases of other language. When it became its own language, however, new words became outliers as the vocabulary went through the same narrowing that had allowed minimal to exist in the first place.  

And the last thought:
Minimal likes acid, liked electro, liked rave, liked early trance. Prog didn't (the TB-303 was used, but never with the intensity of acid house or acid techno).  They started at different places, in different mental spaces, and ended up similar at the end.  

And now I have to stop this while I can.  

1.11.2009

Minimal as Prog Notes

Half-thoughts and improvisations:

1.  The minimal-as-prog idea has been rolling around in my head for a long time, and it really began a few years ago when I got a computer again and started to read the forums. The intense belief in long, seamless blends that is and was prominent on minimal forums gave me flashbacks to the way in which Sasha was valorized a decade ago.

2.  The advent of digital DJing technology frees up a lot of time a DJ would use to beat match, but this technology has not created a legion of people stepping beyond Walter Gibbons, Derrick May, Jeff Mills, etc. Where are the tension-building re-edits? The acapellas layered over drum tracks The quick inter-channel flipping? Most DJs seem to take advantage of this technology to either perform the seamless blends maligned above, or cut the records into indistinguishable bits and take all of the tension and contrast out of the night. If I were using Final Scratch or Ableton, I would try and sound like Derrick May if he grew six more arms!

3.  According to RF, anyone who does not go out regularly in Europe does not understand how ubiquitous minimal has become.

4.  The most tiresome aspect of being on online music production forums are the constant threads where young producers ask for advice on how to mimic their favorite producers. I have begun to see that happening more and more with minimal. When new producers start prioritizing aping others as opposed to developing their own sounds, the records, well, record the result. Reading those sorts of posts always frustrates me. There is a vast difference between wanting to learn how Villalobos made a certain sound vs. wanting to sound exactly like Villalobos.

4+. There is a weird resignation evident on these forums where anyone who still feels some sort of reverence towards the Modernist ideal of at least attempting to do something unique, if not new, responds to the more cynical "I want to sound like my favorite minimal producer NOW (and I will buy whatever it takes!)!" threads. Either they will try lecture the original poster about those ideals, and will end up coming off as some old hippie lecturing the "kids" on How It Used To Be, or they will cynically point the original poster in the wrong direction.

4++.  The idea of "the kids" is an important one when discussing hardcore past and present. I get the impression that the original disjunction between proper house and techno heads and ravers in the early 90s was partially based on age. Part of Reynolds' critique of the "defenders of the proper" seems to implicitly or explicitly call out these older DJs, producers and punters on their inability to recognize the innovation that was going on within the rave scene. But what happened in rave was that the "average punter" was seeking out the weird, the strange, the extreme. Given the recorded output of that period, it seems that to be the cool producer on your block, you had to to combine as many formerly un-combinable elements as possible. There was an inadvertent avant-garde-ism that was not weighed down by the legacy of European and American Art Theory. Given the evidence from production forums above, which, although I do not cite evidence, is voluminous and easily found, the intentions of the "young and 'avin it" are totally different. Because minimal, like progressive, is a scene that is independent from yet completely contingent on history, and especially the above-average knowledge of musical past on the part of the average club-goer, the "new blood" in the scene seems to end up killing it by refining out all of the references that the older producers put into their tracks. So on the one hand, you could say the kids are to blame by not knowing their history, but I disagree (though I think the rampant cynicism evident throughout the world of music is something to discuss!).

5.  Instead of blaming the kids, it may be more fruitful to examine the way a genre like minimal  is built. It is inbred, weak, but peculiar, whereas other genres, like straight-up bangin' NY house are strong, but somewhat banal. The strong genres have maybe a more typical life, vibrant when they start off, and slowly tailing off into repetition as they age. Other genres are more like mutants, with shorter and more unpredictable life cycles. They may seem resilient when they are kept in the house (ie amongst the connoisseurs who created them or who have a more direct interest in their survival), but once they go out, they are easily corrupted and die.  

5+.  Perhaps I didn't make it clear enough, but the above is not some bullshit "money/mainstream success/popularity kills unique things" sort of argument. It is not inevitable. The idea is more that genetic mutations within a species may be more vulnerable (and sometimes even more resilient) than more typical examples of a species.

6.  Another way of seeing it:  Tolstoy once famously said that all happy families are alike, and all unhappy ones different, and in its own way. The unhappy genres, born of dissatisfaction, of a desire to try something new, whatever, are safe inside their own dysfunctional family, but once they crossover into the wider world, they have three options: adapt, and lose their integrity, continue to suffer without ever really fitting in, remake the world entirely in their image, or die.  

Anyways, enough for now. Some of the above needs further development and revision, but not tonight!

1.10.2009

Deep House (For)(N)ever

SR adds to his earlier thoughts on the "dance is dead" malaise that has attacked a few prominent writers recently, including RF and PS, whose websites, along with SR's, are linked to here.  

I sympathize with Reynolds' concern, at least partially, with the regressiveness that has, depending on your perspective, either intermittently or perpetually plagued dance music since the beginning of this decade, but I disagree with his locating the past that is being regressed to so far back. Rather than a back-to-1989 initiative, the current scene reminds me more of the mid- to late 90s. Dance music operates, it seems, on closer to a ten-year "retro cycle", and is usually a step ahead of indie, which is somehow a compliment, I guess(!). 

Rather than the new German deep house sounding like Ten City or Jomanda, or even Mr. Fingers (that revival already happened!), the sounds that have been returning to prominence since around 2006 belong to 1995-1999. In that period, the second wave of Chicago represented by Balance, Prescription, Guidance, Cajual and Relief co-existed with Basic Channel and Chain Reaction, the still-not-quite-too-fast minimal techno of certain Detroit and European producers, and the reconfigurations of those sounds that eventually became known as tech-house. This was also the period when many of the currently-in-vogue Detroit house DJs first made names for themselves. Pick any of those sounds, and recently-formed and "hip" labels such as Smallville, Ornaments, Ostgut Ton and Yore are covering them figuratively and sometimes literally. Since many of the aforementioned historical sounds laid the groundwork for Perlon, Playhouse, M_Nus, etc.,  the current revival is less a revival and more the sound of minimal (d)evolving back to the moment right before it was birthed. The clock has not been turned back past the 90s, nor past Europe, but the clock is mostly being turned back by Europeans admiring earlier European innovations that were more consonant with Detroit and Chicago than the European innovations that weren't.

I also disagree with Reynolds' idea that there is some fear of or revulsion towards "the hardcore". First off, if minimal was ever hardcore, it was, as Reynolds himself notes in the latest revision of Energy Flash, a purely middle-class one. No bourgeois propriety was being subverted (drugs and casual sex are mainstream now, self-indulgence, not pragmatism, has been the ascendant ethos of consumer capitalism for decades), nothing truly transgressive was happening. The records were and are excellent, but the world changed around them. Moreover, the hardcore continuum that Reynolds so brilliantly described in Energy Flash was one of expansion, of explosion. Acid, breakbeat hardcore, jungle, etc., were truly musics one could not imagine before they happened. Even the creators of those musics couldn't conceive of them; the evolution was quick but not abrupt. Minimal, on the other hand, was and is a refinement of all of the different ideas embodied by the labels mentioned above.  

If minimal is a refined music, not an expansive one, contingent on past styles, yet independent of them, and caters to a global coterie of middle-class pleasure seekers, than its closest analog is actually progressive house. If progressive, like minimal, was ever any good, it was because of the clash of standard house sounds and trance. However, when it broke off and became its own genre, the gene pool narrowed, and all of the genetic mutations of the techno/house endeavor were slowly bred out*.  The same thing happened with minimal. Circa 2004, "minimal" was maximal, encompassing a huge arrange of sounds and ideas, until, gradually, the music purified itself to too high of a degree, hence the backlash. If minimal is more akin to progressive, the idea that the "hipsters" of techno are somehow anti-'nuum, doesn't work. The current reconfiguration is an attempt to expand the gene pool once again, and this attempt may or may not lead to new configurations. 

The caveat is that the new configurations that may arise will be contained within a fairly circumscribed aesthetic context.  

* Further writing on this to come.

Why Not "Blog"?

From a discarded essay written last November published now because you may find the writing mildly amusing:

I refuse to call this website a blog, as the word "blog" hurts my ears. If you had asked me, years ago, before the advent of blogs, to define the word "blog", I would have defined it as "the act of regurgitating something from your lower intestine". Given the quality of most online writing, I think the definition above is still appropriate.  

The word "blogger" is, in some ways, even more distasteful to me, both because it is derived form the word "blog", as defined above, and because of the way it is spoken on the nightly newscast. Imagine, if you will, the host of a nightly newscast or 24-hours news channel. This newscaster's renown is a step below that of whatever anchor is the most famous on the network in question. Perhaps this particular newscaster lacks the ability to "perform gravitas" in a way that is comforting to your particular nation when it faces the terrible calamities it must face as long as time passes, and is therefore on at odd hours, or when the main anchor is ill or on vacation. This newscaster is too-well groomed and probably drank his or her way through an unchallenging communications degree at a mediocre university. There are many ways to lack character and distinction and, for whatever reason, this particular newscaster's lack is read as charm, and so he or she is on TV.

After announcing the death of schoolchildren with less emotion than one might use to order a slice of pizza, the topic switches to politics, and with that segues comes the inevitable mention of "political bloggers". This phrase is always uttered with a wink and a smile that says, "it's 200x and we, the 'stodgy old media', know a thing or two about this whole technology thing." As if the news, and how it is reported, isn't disheartening enough, we are now subject to the kneejerk opinions of those whose only profession is to formulate kneejerk opinion. As I believe in facts and the possibility of contingent truth, the world opinion can be understood as a synonym for the word "blog", defined above.

False Start

At the turn of the millennium, every writer I "knew" via the internet was complaining about the decrease in the amount of space available to them at their respective periodicals (a problem which has only gotten worse).  "Blogging" was seen as the antidote.  A few years later, it has become apparent that, rather than allowing writers to truly open up and publish long, deep, critical pieces that would be unmarketable in the world of "old media", online publishing has actually engendered mostly laziness and the publishing of half-ideas and half-thoughts.  

My resolution for this writing collection was to only publish real essays.  As I have worked towards this goal, I have found myself suddenly sympathizing with the writers I (mis)identified as lazy above.  It IS worthwhile to have a scratchpad, to take all of the small and medium ideas that will eventually become larger ones and write about them, publish them, and gain feedback. So, until my 20 million word book called The Problem With Music Is Not Music is published sometime before the year 2060, I will, for better or worse, follow my fellow online writers down the road of short posts, and also remind them that, like me, they should at least feel a little guilty sometimes.