Facsimile Magazine, published by Haoyan of America. Volume One, Number Eight, 2007. ISSN 1937-2116.
By Tim Ivison
This marks the beginning of “Origins of Fear/Hatred of Disco” edited and serialized for Facsimile Magazine. Originally a message board thread that evolved over the last two years on I Love Music, “Origins of Fear/Hatred of Disco” is a volatile, solipsistic, hyperbolic, and often maddening conversation about the reasons behind a particular kind of vitriolic hate for Disco Music. Like many I Love Music threads, the conversation is constantly derailed by tangents, inane opinion and blatant flame-bating. Somewhere amongst all the confusion, though, this thread transcends the usual digressions, offering a compelling, insightful, and rewarding debate of dance music semiotics, technology, sexuality and class. Part one is a build-up that established most, but not all of the main protagonists of the conversation, with a good deal of personal reflection on the disco era. Part two will delve deeper into technical and sexual politics, introducing the more academic and theoretical threads of the debate. To skip ahead, add to the debate, or read the complete unedited text, see here.
Its interesting to often see otherwise open-minded forward thinking people dismiss the entire category of dance music including old disco, house, etc., IDM (even the term suggests that regular dance music must be dumb), and all sorts of electronica. Origins/reasons for this behavior? And how much does it annoy you?
-- Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:47 (2 years ago)
People who can't dance? People who are threatened by music that isn't overtly masculine or earnest in easily recognizable ways? (Those are two different groups of people)
Don't know really.
-- David Allen (David Allen), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:53 (2 years ago)
Women like it. Gay men like it. Black people like it.
-- Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:53 (2 years ago)
As someone who grew up on dance/disco music, and later discovered rock music in college, I feel I'm in the minority -- in brief.
That said, I think I was too young to understand the more practical reasons why disco was hated (not the more intrinsic, homophobic, machismo related issues.) Michaelangelo pointed out, during one of the times we were hanging out when a friend from Austin was visiting, that the output of disco product in the late 70s was so effluent that it almost bankrupted the music industry, essentially. It took Michael Jackson's Thriller to get things back to speed. Matos should DEFINITELY interject here.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 17:58 (2 years ago)
Here's a thought -- maybe some people just don't like it! Why doesn't everyone like Death Metal?
-- Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:00 (2 years ago)
"Women like it. Gay men like it. Black people like it."
yeah i personally think that has something, maybe everything to do with it.
-- Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:01 (2 years ago)
Lack of visual proof that the music is "real".
-- The Sensational Sulk (sexyDancer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:02 (2 years ago)
I think it is absolutely true that everyone who has ever refuted dance music, Dance Music, Dahhnce Muzik etc. have done so directly as a result of their own realization that they could not co-ordinate their own body movements in time to any sort of formulaic rhythm, probably via some sort of humiliating experience involving a crush when they were 14.
-- Sven Basted (blueski), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:02 (2 years ago)
I can only speak from my 11-year-old perspective: it seemed like people were reacting more to the disco culture (once gone mainstream) than the music itself. There was definitely some racism and (a lot of) homophobia, but it was also the polyester leisure suits, the discoing grannies, the how-to LPs, the TV shows like "Makin' It" and "Dance Fever." It was often called "soulless" and "plastic," which seems incredible these days - in what way was "I Will Survive" soulless??
-- mike a, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:03 (2 years ago)
As a resident of Detroit during the Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco (DREAD) card years, back when Steve Dahl was building bonfires at White Sox games, I'd posit that the album-oriented rock stations started the disco sucks thing mainly because they felt *threatened* -- like, financially, maybe, but also, it just made a good crypto-racist/crypto-homophobic (but also, just plain anti-city-slicker, and anti-morons-who-spend-way-too-much-money-on-fashionable-clothes-to-wear-on-Saturday-night) gimmick to rally around.-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:06 (2 years ago)
Plus Detroit had THREE AOR stations back then (WABX, WRIF, WWWW), which is a lot for a city to support. They had to defend their turf!
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:08 (2 years ago)
Oh, absolutely. It polarized people. In junior high in the late '70s, you couldn't like "rock" if you liked disco and vice versa. Never mind that the Clash, Talking Heads, Blondie and most of my other favorites of the time were constantly working disco elements into their own music.
-- mike a, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:08 (2 years ago)
in case its not obvious I'm talking about a different type of reaction other than the "oh that's not my taste" etc.
-- Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:08 (2 years ago)
“Here's a thought -- maybe some people just don't like it! Why doesn't everyone like Death Metal?”
Good point, but... Disco experienced a mainstream presence, and (more to the point) mainstream backlash that Death Metal never really went through.
There was never a "Death Metal Sucks" rally where people were encouraged to donate their Deicide back catalogs they could be blown up - Christian Youth outings excepted.
-- Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:10 (2 years ago)
“yeah i personally think that has something, maybe everything to do with it.”
Susan, no offense, but it seems like you asked a question with an agenda ready to go, having just ignored some already cogent refutations here, many of which bypass the taste issue.
While I'm not going to even think about flying the flag for the "Disco Sucks" cry, maybe you should hear the rest of the thread out before declaring one facet to be "everything" about the hatred?
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:11 (2 years ago)
“Women like it. Gay men like it. Black people like it.”
That's the conventional wisdom, which is as much as I know.
I had a similar experience yesterday. A room full of nice enough, seemingly smart enough people talked about how they liked all sorts of music, rattling off many different types of music, then said "I don't like rap, though," as though that made perfect sense.
“Here's a thought -- maybe some people just don't like it! Why doesn't everyone like Death Metal?”
Plenty of people simply don't like disco, but a lot of people go a lot farther than that. I've never seen any "Death Metal Sucks" T-shirts. I don't know of any nights where people blew up death-metal records in the middle of a baseball stadium. I don't know of anyone who doesn't like death metal who uses profane slurs when describing people who do like it. I think the vitriolic hatred is what this thread is about.
-- Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:13 (2 years ago)
in this past Sunday's paper, our style section gang did their annual "these songs are the worst ever" list. They do this when they get bored i guess. but one writer listed "get down tonight" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band and his explanation began "Nothing so swiftly recalls the vile sounds of the disco era as this aural claptrap."
so you don't enjoy this particular tune. you're probably not alone. but to dismiss an entire genre/era? it's so typical. what a jackass.
-- andrew m. (andrewmorgan), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:13 (2 years ago)
Also, remember, Travolta (playing a straight white man) was a NEW YORKER. The Disco Sucks movement hits its apex in the MIDWEST. So there was regional pride/chauvinism stuff at work in there as well. (Even though lots of disco acts themselves came from Mid-America, obviously. But Studio 54 didn't, which is more to the point.) (i.e.: disco sucks was mainly ANTI-BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, a prejudice I admit I relate to to this very day, despite its often unsavory aspects, and despite the fact that disco is one of my favorite musics ever.)
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:13 (2 years ago)
“There was never a 'Death Metal Sucks' rally where people were encouraged to donate their Deicide back catalogs they could be blown up - Christian Youth outings excepted.”
Fair point. Instead of some global misogynist/homophobic/racist agenda, however, mightn't the whole "Disco Sucks" campaign simply have been the backlash of an overexposed trend?
-- Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:14 (2 years ago)
“ANTI-BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, a prejudice I admit I relate to to this very day, despite its often unsavory aspects, and despite the fact that disco is one of my favorite musics ever.”
Chuck's onto something here. Given Studio 54's notoriously fickle door policy, along with being sick of the trend, might it also have been an ANTI-ELITISM movement?
-- Alex in NYC (vassifer), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:15 (2 years ago)
Mike that is interesting - i guess i don't remember much from the 70's but my sister, a little older, seems to fall into that category of hating it from a 'its too commercially driven, soulless, a personal, fake music' perspective. but she has the same take on queer culture. ????
-- Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:16 (2 years ago)
xhuxk onto something ... remember the economy and the overall tone of the nation at the time. Feelgood party music, glamor, and Studio 54 snobbery did not sit well with blue collar Midwesterners.
-- dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:17 (2 years ago)
"Instead of some global misogynist/homophobic/racist agenda, however, mightn't the whole "Disco Sucks" campaign simply have been the backlash of an overexposed trend?"
I think both parts of your sentence, Alex, are correct. Also, detractors are less patient with the genre's supposed superficiality than they would be in accepting the superficiality of, say, Led Zeppelin or Rush or (to choose a contemporary example) Radio head. To me, Donna Summer and LCD Soundsystem has a lot more to say about ecstasy and release than the rock groups I mentioned.
-- Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:18 (2 years ago)
i think xhuxk is otm here -- and speaking (like many of us are) as one of them Commie Innerlectual Snot-Nosed Kerry-Votin' City Folk in a very conservative, Christian, "America, love it or leave it" kinda country, i can definitely understand what the general tenor of things was back then (remember, '76 was the bicentennial).
-- jody von bulow (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:23 (2 years ago)
"Fair point. Instead of some global misogynist/homophobic/racist agenda, however, mightn't the whole "Disco Sucks" campaign simply have been the backlash of an overexposed trend?"
I think it's one of those "A little from column A, a little from column B" scenarios. Disco absolutely was overexposed as both a musical style and a fashion trend, but the resentment behind the disco backlash did have some very real underlying schisms.
What I find interesting is the number of late 80s naysayers who predicted that rap would have just as limited a shelf-life as disco. Nowadays, rap music is quasi-respectable, but dance music is still something of a redheaded stepchild, at least in North America.
(Incidentally, I love me some disco, hip-hop, and house.)
-- Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:29 (2 years ago)
"i think xhuxk is otm here -- and speaking (like many of us are) as one of them Commie Innerlectual Snot-Nosed Kerry-Votin' City Folk in a very conservative, Christian, 'America, love it or leave it' kinda country, i can definitely understand what the general tenor of things was back then"
yeah, but my point is that disco sucks had as much to do with class (which is rarely mentioned) as with race or gender preference (which are always mentioned). In fact, Travolta playing a WORKING CLASS tough white straight male clearly OPENED UP some mid-American ears to disco, at least temporarily; it gave disco a context that seemed more down to earth and less pie in the sky. But really, if I'm working on the Ford line and blasting *Night Moves*, why the hell SHOULD I care about a bunch of rich New York idiots snorting coke with no shirts on? Fuck 'em, you know? How hard is it see why they would be hated?
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:32 (2 years ago)
I like me some disco, tons of hip-hop, etc. but the alternating elitist/populist currents in dance music are very off-putting to me. Unappetizingly elitist in terms of the deliberately obfuscatory sub genres/labels/sub-movements and "aren't we the coolest" posturing, and unappetizingly populist in terms of its emphasis on lunk-headed "everybody dance NOW!" groupthink crowd/mob dynamics... dunno if those attitudes map onto disco (probably a little bit).
-- Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:34 (2 years ago)
I'm pretty passionate about this subject, because my love of dance/disco/R&B pop music as a kid REALLY isolated me. I grew up in a very Deadhead Republican surfside city in Los Angeles.. and talk about an early exposure to homophobia.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:36 (2 years ago)
“There was never a 'Death Metal Sucks' rally”
tell that to those kids in West Memphis.
-- Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:43 (2 years ago)
“The 'fear of looking like an idiot while dancing' thing is a red herring, though.”
I don't think so .. With disco, everyone, even your grandma, was learning how to do the Hustle.. Anyone that was pro-rawk/ anti-disco (that I knew) rejected the whole package of music & compulsory dance moves. I may be extrapolating, but I think a bit of that dislike was due to not feeling able to fit in to the scene. See also: Achy-Breaky, Macarena, etc...
-- dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:44 (2 years ago)
i learned how to do the hustle in gym class in 1976 and my sadistic gym teacher used to blow his whistle all the damned time, but luckily this did not make me hate disco or disco whistles. i did feel shy at the roller-rink though, cuz i couldn't skate good.
-- scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:50 (2 years ago)
“I like me some disco, tons of hip-hop, etc. but the alternating elitist/populist currents in dance music are very off-putting to me.”
This reminds me of a story I may have already told, but it bears repeating:
Summer of 1996. Downtown Toronto is having its annual street festival, and a Large Truck is set up outside A Large Chain Record Store for an "outdoor rave". A local "cred" DJ duo (known for their electro/breakbeat/tech-iness) come on and do their thing. Glowstick-and-backpack kids dance merrily in the summer night air, as do I, lacking both glowstick and backpack.
Then there's a schedule change. Outdoor Rave becomes Outdoor Dance Party. The cred DJs leave, and two local club "personalities" come on.
Fade down on Electro-Tech. Fade up on... Black Box. Cue a dozen or so rave kids, who run screaming for fear of contamination (I swear, I am not making this up). I shake my head in disgust, and stick around to dance to Culture Beat, Dee-lite, etc, etc.
-- Tantrum The Cat (Tantrum The Cat), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:52 (2 years ago)
in America, I think hating on hip-hop is mostly a generational thing. The sustained antipathy towards "Dance" music is a bit more complicated - I don't know if that's really an extension of the "disco sucks" undercurrent or not (I'm thinking mostly not).
-- Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:52 (2 years ago)
I tend to agree with Alex in NYC the most here, but it's not a very complex stance, doesn't take in huge issues such as class and race that people like to go on and on about, so therefore most people don't give it much credence. "there must be more to it than that! how am i supposed to make a thesis out of that?!!?"
-- ()ops (()()rps), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 18:59 (2 years ago)
I was pretty young in the late 70's but what i remember of the disco boom was not some scary sexualized gay Other. It was rather something that was taught in schools, practiced as Fun For The Whole Family in all middle class homes, and featured regularly on Sesame Street, Love Boat et cetera. Though there was obviously a huge element of Redneckism in the backlash against disco, there was also (by the time I was old enough to get into music on my own a few years later, anyway) just a perception of it as just completely square and lame and forced.
-- Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:00 (2 years ago)
I think with 70's disco a lot of people thought it was a fad like songs about CB radios and then it didn't go away and they got mad. i don't know much about techno-hate or house music-hate. It has never been huge enough to inspire that much hate (In the U.S.). i don't think. not public-burning huge, anyway.
-- scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:03 (2 years ago)
Alot of it is tied to an idea that disco is meaningless music; that it has nothing to say. At that crucial stage of adolescence when many people (and these are the people for whom music often becomes a lifelong obsession) are confused they often latch on to music that speaks to them very directly and explains to them why they are so unhappy with their lives (think of the popularity of the smiths among adolescents). Disco doesn't speak to people in the same way. Obviously it speaks to me in a hugely different and very personal way it speaks to me (and to most of you guys) but if you're a mixed up kid you usually relate to angst more than you do to "get up and dance" sentiments. Obviously homophobia plays a huge part in it but so does, as Alex says, just not liking the way it sounds.
-- jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:04 (2 years ago)
And having listened to a LOT of disco singles when vinyl shopping the past few years, I can tell you.. most of it SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED!
Sorry to say. I'm just saying that out of taste though. I still manage to find the gems in the very large haystack, but that wall of old used disco records is still, to this day, a very large haystack.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:11 (2 years ago)
"i don't know much about techno-hate or house music-hate"
That's because there has never been any credible evidence that these have ever really existed, any more than hatred of any other random genre. They were never an organized movement like Disco Sucks was; in fact, I'm a little confused about why they're even on the same thread (despite the fact that I believe a lot of techno and house IS disco.) Hatred of Ashlee Simpson has more in common with Disco Sucks than, say, Eminem pretending that "nobody listens to techno" does.
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:21 (2 years ago)
Also, I don't see how disco had a higher % of suckage than any other genre out there. Judging from my own couple decades of shopping for used vinyl, it's track record was actually way better than most.
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:25 (2 years ago)
hmmm in high school I remember the club of the uber masculine popular and mean high school boys were into like 4 acceptable rocks bands (pretty much older classic rock like Neil Young, so not really of their time). At the time that music felt really elitist and phoney to me and I did not believe it really resonated with the folks listening to it - just an aid to identify yourself with the right set of people, like wearing izods. Again no agenda here its just interesting how its similar sentiment to how some are saying disco was/is seen. Its just enlightening b/c reading I can totally understand that but at the time disco never felt that way to me - why? in fact more the opposite; maybe b/c I missed the early 70's but also b/c though disco I heard was def. a bit disappointingly upbeat and surfacey I could still sense it held a promise of darker more expressiveness, maybe not realized until later until more goth/disco bands like came about - but i think i was envisioning at the time something like what Arthur Russell was doing. Btw: now I love Neil Young and realize his music is really personal,takes a lot of chances, really open - but took years for me to break the associations.
-- Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:27 (2 years ago)
It's funny how the term "authenticity" mutates over the years, doesn't it? That's always the battle cry against Disco Sucks/Ashlee Sucks type sentiments. Today, "Authenticity" means "being able to play one's instruments and sing live and write one's own songs"... whereas in the Disco era, "Authenticity" meant "being able to showcase one's musical talents outside this very specific circus of fashion and flash that was mostly gaudy". Because no one can say musicians who played on disco records lacked talent...Then again "talent" is a highly mutable term as well...etc.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:30 (2 years ago)
Maybe if you dig deep enough it was a huge unconscious shift away from the excesses of the 70s, a move inspired by the fear that our deeply puritanical nation had gone to far, toward a more conservative 50s-style (Reagan) America that people were deep down more comfortable with. All the sex, drugs and freaky clothes kicked off in the late 60s had by 1979 finally gotten to be too much for people so next thing you know the Preppy Handbook is a bestseller and everyone is wearing Topsiders. The Baby Boomers finally backed away and decided to get on the straight and narrow, after spending the 70s getting divorced and fucking around. Maybe it was a generational thing, the older disco acolytes who gave the initial push in the early years grew up.
-- Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:32 (2 years ago)
"Today, 'Authenticity' means 'being able to play one's instruments and sing live and write one's own songs'[...] whereas in the Disco era, 'Authenticity' meant 'being able to showcase one's musical talents outside this very specific circus of fashion and flash that was mostly gaudy.' Because no one can say musicians who played on disco records lacked talent..”
But I think the anti-disco lobby would point out that those musicians were playing in a robotic and repetitive way - approximating "machines" and/or synthesizers, which is part of why the disco debate is a specific product of it's time (and not just another example of logocentrist values at work).
-- Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:41 (2 years ago)
I agree with someone up top who said that it had just become so all encompassing people rebelled as they thought it was lame and forced. I think the thing is, the reason why the backlash was SO big, like, bigger than everyone who would say "Fuck Friends, that show sucks" in stead of having giant crucify Mathew Perry rallies, is because something so... well gay... was the establishment. Every time something becomes the "it" thing, people will get sick of it, but when that "it" is associated with what everyone has already mentioned -- urban elitism, gay culture, black culture, blah blah blah the discomfort just becomes unbearable for a lot of people.
-- David Allen (David Allen), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 19:59 (2 years ago)
“But I think the anti-disco lobby would point out that those musicians were playing in a robotic and repetitive way - approximating "machines" and/or synthesizers ...”
I guess, but why would they say that when there's so much evidence that that's complete bollocks? Maybe more interestingly, why would they say that when Born in the USA, which sounded exactly like the large machines in the factory I was working in at the time, was less than 10 years away?
-- Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:05 (2 years ago)
A lot of the criticism of dance/disco music relates to its repetitive nature. The 4/4 beat, the locked extended grooves, etc. "Monotonous"=inhuman to some.
-- Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:10 (2 years ago)
Oh, I know, but sheesh - five years later, a lot of these same people were grooving to "Glory Days" and "Dancing in the Dark," no?
-- Rick Massimo (Rick Massimo), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:11 (2 years ago)
Do you think those songs sound like or are arranged like "Funky Town" or "Le Freak"???
-- Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:20 (2 years ago)
also on a real basic level, i think some of the electronics made people think it was "inhuman" or whatever. i know my dad for instance had a real hate for "i feel love" because it "sounded like machines"...
-- Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:24 (2 years ago)
And there are a host of reasons why some people don't like machines which are related I think to why those same people don't like homosexuals.
-- Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:27 (2 years ago)
True. Although the Studio Hack Guitar Solos so prevalent at the time now seem much, much more faceless than synths.
-- mike a, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:30 (2 years ago)
because they fear being anally raped by gay robots?
-- Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:31 (2 years ago)
Shakey I think that is actually a real fear
-- Susan Douglas, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:33 (2 years ago)
advance apologies for not reading this thread very carefully before posting, some of this might have already been brought up:
Walter Hughes' "In the Empire of the Beat" (from Andrew Ross and Tricia Rose's Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture anthology) has loads to say about the intersection of gay culture and machines (particularly in re: gyms and working out and clones and whatnot).
Bizwise, disco helped sink the music industry for a few years--there was such an excessive supply comparative to the demand of the audience. Labels figured they could print money by putting out loads of the stuff and there were enormous financial setbacks as a result. This is discussed in detail in Love Saves the Day by Tim Lawrence, which is a key book for all discussions of '70s disco.
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:36 (2 years ago)
(meaning that Susan Douglas--and all of you--should read it, it's f'ing great)
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:41 (2 years ago)
A nice piece of personal irony here: one of my first memories of experiencing anti-disco sentiment, back in early grade school, was when Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" became a huge radio hit. All the kids were making comments like "Pink Floyd is cool.. disco is lame".. although if you listen carefully, there are slight disco-ey elements to "Another Brick In The Wall" -- notably after each of the verses. (Obviously, you can't say that about the rest of The Wall though)
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:42 (2 years ago)
Aw man.. I'm almost at tears, all the memories this thread is bringing back. It really makes me wish I grew up in Western Europe instead.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:45 (2 years ago)
“Walter Hughes' 'In the Empire of the Beat'(from Andrew Ross and Tricia Rose's Microphone Fiends: Youth Music and Youth Culture anthology) has loads to say about the intersection of gay culture and machines (particularly in re: gyms and working out and clones and whatnot).”
This is interesting (and I'd admittedly never thought of it before), but I don't know what it would have to do with how, say, straight Midwesterners *viewed* gays. The claim that "there are a host of reasons why some people don't like machines which are related I think to why those same people don't like homosexuals" sounds completely absurd to me; believe me, at a time when mid-Americans had no idea the Village People or Queen were gay, I doubt it occurred to them that some gay people might have worked out a lot on bench-press machines. But maybe I'm missing something; if so, I'd like to know what. (I mean, obviously, lots of album covers by Silver Convention or Bionic Boogie or whoever juxtaposed machine visuals with gay visuals, but these were pretty subcultural records; Bob Seger fans never saw them.)
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:47 (2 years ago)
Jeanne: the aforementioned biz fallout (you couldn't call anything disco by 1980, even if it was disco) had a lot to do w/it. Plus Reagan getting elected. BTW, another great book I just read: The Fabulous Sylvester by Joshua Gamson, extremely well written and full of amazing, deeply researched detail about black drag in L.A., San Francisco during the '70s, and how people in the disco world dealt with the fallout. Similarly, there's a new book about Chic called Everybody Dance that's not so well written but has a lot of great info.
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:48 (2 years ago)
Chuck, the essay is more about gay life and disco, written from a gay and academic perspective. It has very little to do w/what you're talking about (which would make an interesting essay topic itself)
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:49 (2 years ago)
So technically Matos, it didn't have much to do with another genre coming in and pushing disco out of the limelight the way grunge ousted hair metal?
-- Je4nne ƒury (Jeanne Fury), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:51 (2 years ago)
Jeanne, grunge did not oust hair-metal!
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:52 (2 years ago)
no, not really, unless lite-pop pushed it out! by 1980-1 the charts were full of, like, Air Supply and Barbra Streisand's Guilty (produced by Barry Gibb! though it's not a disco album), at least to my memory. plus stuff like Foreigner. I think it was just a retrenchment of what had already been popular pre- (and during, aside from) disco, only more polished and synthed-up.
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:52 (2 years ago)
haha Chuck you didn't go to my high school. grunge TOTALLY ousted hair metal there.
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:53 (2 years ago)
some # 1 hits in 1980:
so disco was displaced by, um, disco, basically.
king's x, faith no more, jane's addiction, and living colour had already displaced hair-metal on MTV and the charts before grunge came along, Michaelangelo. the cause and effect thing was a total myth...
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 20:56 (2 years ago)
in other words, hair metal was already on the way out, or already out, before grunge came along. the romantic myth of grunge replacing it really came later, when people decided to make it in "history". but by '91 pretty much the only hair-metal left on mtv was adult ballads by extreme (who weren't really hair metal anyway, they were funkier and artier, like faith no more) and mr. big. ugly kid joe, who were basically punks, preceded nirvana by several months. etc etc
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:00 (2 years ago)
Yeah there's that quote in the Lawrence book...
"The disco department was renamed the dance music department. It was an issue of semantics. All this music was happening, but we couldn't call it disco." Caviano started giving interviews saying, "It's dance music! It's dance music!" while simultaneously blaming the media for disco's decline.
-- Lethal Dizzle (djdee2005), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:00 (2 years ago)
ALSO Madonna was basically disco, right? I mean, she even had the guy from Chic produce her like a virgin album.
-- Lethal Dizzle (djdee2005), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:02 (2 years ago)
Those songs Xhuck listed above may each have a number of disco facets, but none of them were anything resembling what was considered disco in the 70s... "Funkytown" being an interesting exception.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:05 (2 years ago)
(granted, I don't remember "Please Don't go".. I stopped listening to KC right around Saturday Night Fever)
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:06 (2 years ago)
In the disco died story, "Funkytown" is usually seen as disco's last gasp innit?
-- Lethal Dizzle (djdee2005), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:06 (2 years ago)
But yeah, after 1980, it was really a play on terminology more than a change in the music itself.
Xhuck, Lethal, you're also forgetting Kano's "I'm Ready" which was more disco than anything listed above, which became a big hit in 1981.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:08 (2 years ago)
“in other words, hair metal was already on the way out, or already out, before grunge came along. the romantic myth of grunge replacing it really came later, when people decided to make it in 'history'. but by '91 pretty much the only hair-metal left on mtv was adult ballads by extreme (who weren't really hair metal anyway, they were funkier and artier, like faith no more) and mr. big. ugly kid joe, who were basically punks, preceded nirvana by several months. etc etc”
Matos is right, Chuck. I was 16 in 1991, a big metal kid. Obviously, there had been little inklings of things that we liked that started to get us out of hair metal, like Faith No More and Jane's...and Bimetallics Misfits covers - which are totally underrated as a big thing for getting metal kids like me into punk - but after Nirvana, things were DIFFERENT for us...we all totally jumped on the alternative bandwagon....it was a big thing to us, just typical small town (pre Internet!) kids with little in the way of exposure to punk and alt stuff before that.
-- M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:19 (2 years ago)
Kano never even hit the Top 40.
And I'll be damned if I can understand how blatant Eurodisco moves and Chic songs sounded nothing like "anything resembling what was considered disco in the 70s," but I've argued with that bizarre perception repeatedly on other threads, and don't have the energy to do so again here. Suffice to say that disco encompassed many, many different sounds in the '70s. The idea that it suddenly turned some drastic sonic corner in 1980 (or '81 or '82 or '83) is completely absurd. It changed it name, basically, or rather, it had a name change thrust upon it. And it continued to change, like it always had.
-- xhuxk, Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:22 (2 years ago)
Kano was the #1 hit at the Top 40 station I listened to in L.A. I remember jumping up and down when they announced it. (KIIS FM?) Maybe they were just a regional phenomenon? Perhaps they were big on R&B radio, which spilled over to the local stations?
Which reminds me to mention, we seem to be talking strictly in the context of Top 40 here. R&B radio was far less trigger-happy to drop disco off their playlists just yet. (Probably because all the musicians behind those disco platters already joined new R&B/dance/funk bands that were less anonymous, and just carried the disco/funk along with them...)
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:24 (2 years ago)
I think Chuck has a point, though--hair metal was kind of on its way out, but Nirvana totally sealed the coffin in that respect. sort of like there was rock and roll before "Heartbreak Hotel" but that record made it official.
obviously the big differential re: disco dying is terminology, because 1980 was a HUGE year for disco. but 1980 was also the year when disco "died"--and turned into a verboten word if not sound.
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:25 (2 years ago)
S.O.S. Band, Con Funk Shun, The Gap Band, The Jacksons.. all had big R&B hits in 1980... Rick James would come along a year later...
Disco definitely lived on, just incognito and a bit more mutated into what we now call 80s funk/R&B.
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:27 (2 years ago)
ah! but funk and disco were considered EXTREMELY different back then--in fact, few music people disliked disco as much as hardcore funkateers. see George Clinton, for example. (and yes, he did a couple disco tracks, but later renounced them.) Rickey Vincent's book Funk has loads on this ideological/musical split.
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:28 (2 years ago)
the funk vs. disco wars were not at all unlike the rock vs. disco wars. maybe MORE heated because funk got stigmatized as "disco"--"fake, phony, mechanized bullshit" rather than "live, played by people," etc.--by white media. when disco fell, funk fell with it--it's one of the major reasons for P-Funk's collapse (that, and all the drugs)
-- Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:33 (2 years ago)
surely they're still considered very different, and split along similar battle lines too? the whole fake phony ("gay" or perhaps if people are being polite "girly") thing still exists as a common criticism of disco or particularly discoey deep house, and the authenticity thing seems to me to be quite big in funk/soul, though it's interesting how alot of people heavily into disco nowadays discuss it in terms of authenticity, at least alot of guys I know from work etc.
I think it threatens to sort of ruin a genre really, this "this is the old stuff, yes sir" sentiment. I remember Simon R saying something about how difficult it was for him to enjoy Aretha Franklyn because he kept thinking of the stuffiness of the language used around soul and I empathized alot with that.
This is a bit of a tangent perhaps, sorry!
-- Ronan (Ronan), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:40 (2 years ago)
"ah! but funk and disco were considered EXTREMELY different back then--in fact, few music people disliked disco as much as hardcore funkateers. see George Clinton, for example...
the funk vs. disco wars were not at all unlike the rock vs. disco wars. maybe MORE heated because funk got stigmatized as "disco"--"fake, phony, mechanized bullshit" rather than "live, played by people," etc.--by white media. when disco fell, funk fell with it--it's one of the major reasons for P-Funk's collapse (that, and all the drugs)"
Heh, I wasn't saying the MUSICIANS were embracing the abandoned disco puppy. Just R&B radio. In this one Rick James greatest hits CD, he describes "You and I" by basically saying "Yeah, we hated disco, but our record company wanted something disco-ey, so I made the first 10 seconds of 'You And I' disco-ey, then brought on the funk." Rick James's success in 1981 with his fifth album Street Songs (namely "Give It To My Baby" and "Super Freak") was a major milestone, as, acc.acc. to Bootsy Collins, it really brought the funk back into Top 40... given your prelude there, Matos....and Bimee and Jously, there had been little inklings of things that we liked that started to get us out of hair metal, like Faith No MoObviously, (Then again, i thought the Gap Band did that a year before, but I guess they didn't strike it as big as James did.)
-- donut debonair (donut), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:47 (2 years ago)
“the funk vs. disco wars were not at all unlike the rock vs. disco wars. maybe MORE heated because funk got stigmatized as "disco"--"fake, phony, mechanized bullshit" rather than 'live, played by people,' etc.--by white media. when disco fell, funk fell with it--it's one of the major reasons for P-Funk's collapse (that, and all the drugs)”
This brings up the Mojo Chic article...did you read that? Nile and co. were totally about the "real musician" thing...they wanted to be respected like a great rock band and Nile has this anecdote about having Kurtis Blow open for them and being totally disheartened because (as he saw it) Chic's brand of pro-musicianship was being usurped by the drum machine, etc.... -- M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 21:48 (2 years ago)
“The claim that 'there are a host of reasons why some people don't like machines which are related I think to why those same people don't like homosexuals' sounds completely absurd to me”
Why exactly? This is a pretty old idea. I guess I should clarify that the discomfort is not necessarily conscious and people probably would not even make the connection in their own mind - but the causes are similar.
-- Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 22:11 (2 years ago)
I don't mind what machines do in the privacy of their own home, but do they have to be so upfront about it? The other day, this computer calculated pi to 80 decimals right in front of me and the kids!
-- M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Tuesday, 5 April 2005 22:13 (2 years ago)
All James Harvey wanted was to make fine art. Thanks to Andy Warhol, he did—anonymously
On April 21, 1964, James Harvey, with his friend Joan Washburn, walked into New York’s Stable Gallery to see an opening for a rising artist named Andy Warhol. The show—which attracted a line around the block, despite mostly negative reviews—consisted of 400 large replicas of supermarket product boxes for brands such as Heinz, Del Monte, Mott’s, and Kellogg’s, stacked around the gallery as if in a stockroom. The ones that attracted the most attention were the 120 containers for Brillo cleaning pads. “Oh my god,” Harvey said to Washburn when he saw the Brillo boxes. “I designed those.”
At the time, Harvey was known, if at all, as a second-generation abstract expressionist painter who applied his oils so thickly that a 1961 New York Times review described him as “obviously having a love affair with his paint.” (Washburn worked at the Graham Gallery, which had hosted several of Harvey’s exhibitions.) But his day job was as a commercial artist for the industrial and package designers Stuart and Gunn, creating redesigns for companies like Philip Morris and Bristol-Myers. Three years before, Brillo implemented his drawings for a redesign of the company’s packaging.
Like most artists of that time, Harvey made a great distinction between his commercial art and his fine art. Warhol famously recognized these consumer objects as the most elemental creations of our society. By refusing to separate fine art and commerce, Warhol, who had also been a commercial artist during the ’50s, turned Harvey’s Brillo box into Brillo Box. In the book After the End of Art, the philosopher and art critic Arthur Danto asks, “What distinguishes Warhol’s Brillo Box from the Brillo boxes in which Brillo comes?” On that day in April, the difference had never been so small.
For two artists whose aesthetic philosophies and levels of success were diametrically opposed, Warhol and Harvey had much in common. They both came from blue-collar, immigrant families. Warhol was born in Pittsburgh in 1928, Harvey a year later in Toronto before his family moved to Detroit when he was three months old. Warhol earned a degree at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon), moved to New York, and started illustrating for Glamour. Harvey studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago; after a brief move back to Detroit, where he designed window displays for retail giant J. L. Hudson (Warhol designed windows for Bonwit Teller), he moved to New York to break into the art world.
Like other painters unable to support themselves with fine art, Harvey applied for a job as a commercial artist. He secured a position in the studio of Egmont Arens, an industrial and packaging designer who helped usher in the “streamlined” style before World War II. Harvey started at $55 a week and apparently had little enthusiasm for his work. In a 1963 interview with Richard Brown Baker for the Archives of American Art, he discussed his redesign for Philip Morris cigarette packaging, which was precipitated by the success of Raymond Loewy’s famous red-and-white design for Lucky Strike. Harvey and his colleagues had worked for two years on sketches, completed 200 final comps, and did 200 final designs, changing the package’s “quaint-looking, brown, old-Englishy, shoppe look” to “[these] red-and-white, geometric, rather banal, modern-looking things that you can’t tell from any other cigarette package.” The executives gradually pared down the numbers, and the winner, thought Harvey, was the most mediocre of the bunch. “It’s a committee-arrived-at thing,” he said.
Warhol always had a fondness for commercial art, and with his trademark blotted-line technique and eye for color, he became one of the most sought-after commercial illustrators in New York. By 1959, he was making an impressive $100,000 a year.
That same year, Egmont Arens fired his creative team. Two of them, Whitney Stuart and William Gunn, took Harvey with them as a freelance designer when they started their own company, called Stuart and Gunn, where Harvey completed the work for Brillo. One of his talents was drawing lowercase letters, which represented a simple way to update blocky, all-caps design left over from prewar days. (His lowercase i for Ipana—especially the i’s oval dot—prefigured the i that appeared on the Brillo box.) This sort of creativity was not a point of pride for him. “It is a totally mechanical process,” he told Baker. “I could do it in my sleep.” He bemoaned his lack of control: The agency was in charge. “This doesn’t look like Pepsodent. Make it look more like Pepsodent,” the agency would tell him. “Or we’ll do a soap-box thing,” Harvey continued, “and they’ll say, ‘But couldn’t you give us something that looks more like Tide? Make it look like Tide, but make it different—but make it look like Tide.’”
Of course, it was that very banal consumer environment that so inspired Warhol. In 1962, the artist exhibited his Campbell’s soup series in Los Angeles, to mostly dismissive critical response. But when his silk-screened portraits of Elvis, Marilyn, and Liz debuted, he began to attract more notice. Other artists were helping to create a climate of acceptance for such works. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg had incorporated graphic elements and ephemera into their paintings, and Lichtenstein was turning comics into flat, linear canvases.
Harvey regarded pop art with distaste. He thought its practitioners were simply recreating the technical underpinnings of an image, instead of plumbing the depths of the soul as abstract expressionists did. “I can’t possibly relate to Andy Warhol as a painter,” he told Baker a year before Warhol would take his own Brillo redesign and turn it on its head. He called pop art “an anti-art movement.”
By 1964, Warhol was only a minor sensation, but the Stable Gallery exhibition—which became known as “the soap-box show”—launched his persona, and made him an artist people loved to revile. One patron wrote “SHIT” in big capitals in the guest book, and critics panned the work. Washburn says that when Harvey saw his design in the gallery, he laughed it off. He and Warhol, who knew each other slightly (though Warhol wasn’t aware of Harvey’s Brillo connection), even chatted during the opening.
The Graham Gallery was less amused. It issued a feeble press release on behalf of Stuart and Gunn (and Harvey) that stated: “It is galling enough for Jim Harvey, an abstract expressionist, to see that a pop artist is running away with the ball, but when the ball happens to be a box designed by Jim Harvey, and Andy Warhol gets the credit for it, well, this makes Jim scream: ‘Andy is running away with my box.’” But the final line practically admitted defeat: “What’s one man’s box, may be another man’s art.”
History has been as kind to Warhol, the aesthetic maestro, as it has been harsh to Harvey, the romantic on the cusp of the age of irony. James Harvey’s last show, at Graham in November 1964, presented paintings that were “dynamic, restless, and painted with rich skill,” according to the Times. But by July 15, 1965, Harvey was dead in New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital. He had succumbed to what was described in his obituary as a “long illness” (according to Washburn, this was a cancer of the blood). His family came and picked up his photographs, unsold canvases, and remaining possessions, and took everything back to Detroit, where it remains.
As for the brand on which he and Warhol had put a spotlight, Brillo enjoyed a spike in popularity after the show but faded away in the ’70s with the advent of dishwashers and Teflon. The company, sold in 1984 to Church and Dwight (makers of Arm & Hammer products and Trojan condoms), doesn’t even own any of the old boxes. According to Brillo’s brand manager, Wendy Bishop, Brillo packaging has been redesigned “at least a dozen times” since Harvey’s 1961 creation.
One of the few surviving examples of Harvey’s box is owned by the art historian Irving Sandler, who keeps it in his Manhattan apartment encased in Plexiglas. When Warhol was autographing copies of his Brillo Box at the Stable Gallery for $300, Sandler suggested that Harvey sign copies of his Brillo boxes at Graham—and sell them for 10 cents. Harvey signed only one and sent it to Sandler as a gift, a half-hearted gesture to reclaim something he never much cared for in the first place.
Original article appears in the July/August issue of Pint Magazine.
Written by James Gaddy.
Additional reporting provided by Sharon Clott.
Chau: Do you believe in the power of design? If so, to what extent.
Tim: To design is to act from a position of power. If by "the power of design" you mean the power to change people's lives, then I would have to say yes _ design is changing people's lives every day. I should also say that, by "design" I am referring not only to products but to the fields of industrial and architectural design, as well as urban, social, political and vernacular. As Michael McDonough says, "Design is the first sign of human intention." It is the nature, the quality and the affects of that intention that are of interest.
Chau: Is it possible for an artist to make amazing work after "selling out"?
Tim: This depends on how you define "amazing" and how you define "selling out". Selling out is different for every group, and one's allegiances are a delicate balance of social and ideological forces. But to address your question at face value, I would say no, an artist cannot make amazing work after selling out because selling out is a form of betrayal and has to do with the strategic leveraging of exploitative social relationships. After selling out, your work becomes an outgrowth of these relationships and helps to reproduce exploitation.
Chau: Madonna or Goldfrapp?
Tim: Early Madonna was pretty great, iconic work. She has totally sold out, though. I don't know enough about Goldfrapp to comment. I am a philistine. I am sorry if this does not help resolve your argument with Kit.
Chau: What do you think about the current electronic music scene?
Tim: When every major genre of music in the entire world uses some kind of electronic equipment to produce their music, the idea of electronic music loses its relevance. Justin Timberlake is electronic music. Konono No.1 is electronic music. Maybe you mean music that sounds like electronics? That's cool.
Chau: Which one do you think is more powerful/influential: Architecture or Art?
Tim: Both Art and Architecture have some degree of power. Unfortunately, the field of architecture as a professional, creative practice seems to be only powerful/influential for a select few individuals who use it to symbolize their power and wealth over those who cannot afford the luxury of "architecture" even though we move through some form of the built environment every day. This is unfortunate because society at large could benefit greatly from the creativity and knowledge of thoughtful architects. Art on the other hand, has been a huge influence on architectural ideas and the world of ideas in general. So in that sense, it also has great power and influence. It is also suffering from its pathetic role as a luxury device for class war.
Chau: What CD would you bring if you were stuck in a desert island with Chau, and why?
Tim: Well, I like to keep Chau happy, so it would have to be a Goldfrapp CD. I don't know which one is his favorite, though.
Chau: Have you ever fallen in love? If so, describe the experience.
Tim: Every time I fall in love, I think that the last time must have been a mistake because this one feels different but really that's just the difference between people. I think it deserves mention that describing the experience of falling in love has been the elusive objective of the majority of popular culture since the beginning of our existence. Has anyone ever been able to accurately describe the experience? We keep trying, though.
Chau: Which city do you imagine yourself settling in and why?
Tim: Perhaps the more accurate question is "do I see myself settling in?" In the near future, no. Let's say Berlin for the sake of argument. Other possibilities include rural Montana and Reykjavik.
Chau: Twincest... Hot? or Disgusting?
Tim: Nothing surprises me any more. Hot.
Chau: Your biggest fear in life is...?
Tim: Gruesome, painful, accidental, premature death.
Colin of Japan sends us these pictures of him and his english class by way of electronic mail...
By Chris Anderko
You have to realize that you are working in a factory and you're part of the mechanism. If you break down, you'll be replaced.
- Mel Gibson
At the beginning of Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner decides he doesn't want to be an amputee, so he shuffles himself up on horse and rides the lines in front of Confederate forces rathering be shot than sawed. Last week, Stephon Marbury called out Michael Jordan. Earlier in the year, Marbury responded to a slight from LeBron, saying "I'd rather own, than be owned." Bron had criticized Marbury's line of $15 kicks targeted at kids who can't afford to have The Global Icon's brand stitched on their shoes. Now, Marbury is imploring Jordan to follow his social justice business model and start producing affordable Nikes.
The fall of the Jordan icon since his return with the Washington franchise has not been humanizing. Jordan was not admired because he was human, but superhuman. A transcendent athlete with an [otherwise] inexcusable amount of determination/ego/ruthlessness. Jordan's initial humanization was mediated through Nike and Spike Lee. It had to be the shoes. Jordan's transcendence was an inherent part of his build; a ph7 of nature/nurture. Likewise, Spud Webb, Sky Walker and Tom Chambers were not admired for their will but their way. Failure within a character creates depth, but for superheroes its just a reason to move on.
On May 18th, 1990, Bird on a Wire opened as the number one movie in America. Five years later, as William Wallace, Gibson refused a serum to numb the pain of his impending torture death. A tenement of the Catholic Church, which Gibson had not at that point disavowed, believes embracing unnecessary pain is the sin of Pride. Without the chance for repentance before his death, a Mortal Sin. Mel Gibson's father was a Nazi or something, so we let it slide. But once he told police that "Jews were responsible for all the wars in the world" putting a gentile on a pole to get hit by lightning a couple times seemed even more indefensible.
Stoned Marbury Interview
Since Marbury's appearance on Oprah his reality's gone from being "the most reviled athlete in New York" to urban visionary. He reported today that he hopes to play in Italy when his contract expires in 2 years. People are liking basketball in Italy. He'll be 32 then. This coincides with the expiration of his contract with his shoe partner, Steve & Barry's. With respect to King James, his position in being owned vs pwned vs owning is apparent. A Finals bow out with a shitty team that's getting shittier; lackey host of corporate awards shows; his only public redemption comes from a choosing to play in a 4th class city that's geographically close to his birth place. LeBron's promise was about transcendence, not placation. Sincerity in form, not sublymonal commercialism. As other stars and non-stars seem to be gauging the changing landscape of perception better, the public discontent with LeBron is escalating. Less attention was paid to his refusal to "be a witness" against genocide without talking to his people than his on-court disappointments. His inability to ascend to champion will turn him into MJ the failed GM instead of MJ the phenomena.
There's been a marked shift in hero-worship after Jordan. Mainstream culture's inability to quantify a hero since Jordan has caused extinction. Hollywood's retardation of its product in conjunction with the lack of clout to authentically own celebrity has created the revolving door of stardom. The first time a picture of Lindsey Lohan's pussy is available she's already considered spent. She's 22. Lebron's 23 this offseason. Short of a championship in the next 2 years the window will have closed on his legacy. With increasingly contemptible revelations of failings by marketed icons, it's getting harder to insist that it isn't the shoes.
Lisa Rienermann looked up in Barcelona and found letterforms in the sky created by the negative space of buildings.
“It began with the Q,” she tells Slanted. “I was in a kind of courtyard in Barcelona. I looked upward and saw houses, the blue sky and clouds. The more I looked, I saw that the houses formed a letter Q.”
This unique font is specially created for those that eat and breath architecture, it is highly recommended that all students should use it in their architecture presentation board in order to score an A in their design.
In today's complex society of higher education we frequently discover some seemingly unacademic elements like guitarists, ethnic folk singers, humorists, just plain singers and interested students, who unite to fulfill a very definite need on campuses everywhere. Combine these and other variables and from time to time a group will hit the scene that is both very talented and has the ability to fraw on the above-mentioned sources in such a way as to create a very refreshing and entertaining styyle. Such a group is Dewey Decimal and the Librarians, who produced a sensation at Macalester College and throughout Minnesota during the 63-64 school year.
They have gone their seperate ways now: Dave Howard, bass and producer of much of the group's color, is in grad school in Los Angeles; Pete Malen, tenor with a pleasantly relaxed style, is traveling the country for General Mills; Bob Stimson, guitarist, bangoist and baritone who invariably forgot punch lines, is in grad school at the University of Minnesota and Don Mackenzie, guitarist and baritone and possessor of a delightful, subtle wit, is a junior at Macalester. This album, then, is a tribute to their work, which now lies in the past. Unfortunately, we can not recreate the stage presentation which made their shows so enjoyable. However, if it had not been for the music that these four fellows could produce, no amount of stage technique could have made them more than just another group.
Here, then, are Dewey Decimal and the Librarians at their best, singing the songs they enjoyed the most.
Special thanks to Ellen Holt-Werle, Leslie Mollner & Denise Tyburski of the Macalester College Library & Media Archives.
Listen to the entire album here (Quicktime RTSP Protocol).
By Frisbee Jackson
I was thoroughly content riding my little pink bike-- the standard pink with the white basket in the front number. In fact, as the streamers that hung from the handlebars brushed against my arms as I ventured through my suburban neighborhood, I thought I was a pretty sweet kid. Except for that one pesky little thing that stood in the way-- the training wheels. The little plastic foes, the tiny wheels whose customary purpose was to help me keep balance, but in actuality were holding me back from all the wonders of "Two-Wheelerdom." My brother would often speak of the wonders and majesty of "Two-Wheelerdom," trying to convince me to at least try it out. I had been adamantly refusing because everytime I'd think about going without training wheels, I could only see images of my six-year-old body slumped on the sidewalk, scratched and bruised, and my bent-up pink bike stuck in a bush nearby. That's when my brother went vigilante on me. He mercilessly ripped the training wheels off my defenseless bicycle. And I don't use the verb "ripped" in this case to mean "unscrew and gently take off." He literally snapped them off in front of my eyes, probably just to add a dramatic touch. I sobbed and begged him to stop and through blurred eyes saw the pieces of splintered plastic that defined my childhood days lie there defeated on the driveway. But at the same time something inside of me beat excitedly. I couldn't put off riding my bike without training wheels any longer. I would have to at least try and ride my bike on its own two wheels. And sure enough within a week, I was cruising around, holding my own in Two-Wheelerdom.
This is when I had my first real taste of an important life lesson. Sometimes you just have to take action. Or to take a page out of Nike's brilliant marketing team's book, "Just Do It" because sometimes that's the only way to get it done. Too much time is wasted in hesitation, overanalyzing, worrying, biting your nails. In the time that it takes to form a pro/con list, venn diagram and bar graph of possible options, the task could have been completed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating following through on every whim and impulse. Just because you cut some of the hesitation and mental chart-making out, doesn't mean you cut out the logical reasoning as well. Basically, if you want to ride a bike without training wheels. Give it a try. Or ask your older brother to use brute force to break them off for you.