Saturday, April 22, 2017

Combining a few minor news stories: political identity and musical tastes

You may have noticed a few things here.  1)  I am obsessed with music.  2)  I have eclectic tastes.

Recently, a pair of hack musicians visited the White House, along with Sarah Palin:  famed child-molester Ted Nugent and... uh... Kid Rock.  Nugent has been a Republican icon for a while, mainly for his association with the NRA, but it means that listening to The Nuge is a kind of statement of Republican identity.

The second story, also kind of obscure, won't matter to you unless you are a user of Bose headphones.  The newest iteration of their Quiet Comfort noise-canceling headphones may or may not track things like your music listening habits and report them back to Bose if you are dumb enough to install their "app" on your device.  That could give them hints about things like your politics.  Yes, more personal things too, but this is a blog about politics.  Mostly.

And yet.

My genre tastes range from jazz and blues (the Friday series and Monday series) to country and bluegrass (the Saturday series and Sunday series) and far more obscure than that.  Jazz and blues listeners tend to lean left (yes, this is measurable), whereas country and bluegrass listeners lean right.  If Bose (no, I'm not dumb enough to load their app, but I do like their headphones) were to try to track my listening and figure out my politics, they'd get confused.  And youtube is definitely confused.  I can tell from the ads I get.  I dug up Junior Brown for today's music clip, and Buddy Emmons for yesterday.  Other days, I'm pulling up clips of Charles Mingus or Miles Davis, followed by Merle Travis or Doc Watson.  My musical tastes don't make algorithmic sense, politically speaking. (However, there is a fertile musical subculture mixing jazz, country and bluegrass associated with David "Dawg" Grisman, sometimes called "dawg" music.  I love it.)

With the "If you don't love __, you hate America" thing, I'm playing with that.  The phrasing is intentionally jingoistic to contrast with what one might expect from both a professor's blog (note all the Carlin-speak here), and the origin of the series.  The series began with Friday posts for jazz.  Jazz, being associated mostly with lefty politics given its racial history, not to mention the overt politics of musicians like Charles Mingus.  That contrast works for the Monday blues series too.  When I expanded the series to a Saturday post with country-- a genre which I sincerely love-- I did it with the snark of contracting America to 'mer'ca so that the right-leaning jingoism of the title played with the left-leaning cultural elitism of demeaning rural accents.  The Tuesday music series subverts the whole jingoism thing, then, by playing music from Turkey or wherever the hell else is relevant (or whatever the hell else I feel like playing that day).

If you have to explain a joke, it isn't funny, and if I needed to explain this, then I wasn't structuring the series well, but fuck it.  It's just a bunch of music clips, and this is just a Saturday morning rant.

Ted Nugent sucks.  But, if your musical tastes are too connected to a political identity, then something is wrong with how you listen to music.  That sort of brings me back to the title of the blog.  Be unmutual.

No comments:

Post a Comment