by carl wilson

Makin' with the Meta

Over at, Scott Woods has held a little kitchen party to talk about music blogging. I brought the hummus.

Tom at Freaky Trigger had some smart side comments as did his comment box.

Meanwhile Idolator was having another music-blog fracas break out, though mainly about the other sort of music blogs. Bill Wasick provides the most elegant, in depth, meandering version of the discussion in the Oxford American (if you follow only one of these links make it this one) and Pretty Goes With Pretty has an extensive set of responses.

I get the irony that after all my blather in the roundtable about dialogue and indepth reflection, I'm not going to say anything further in response to all these reactions, for now. But it is late and I am tired all the way in, from chest to spine, so irony wins. (Don't get too comfortable, irony - I'm gonna cut you when you least expect it, sucka.)

General | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, October 11 at 1:07 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (9)



When I made the comments on FT I was trying to say that EVEN WITHIN the small old-skool blogosphere vacuum there would have been more discussion/anticipation/debate, though I appreciate it didn't necessarily read that way (and actually the debate has now got going a little more so hurrah).

Posted by Tom on October 15, 2007 11:50 AM



Sean, you're voicing stuff which has (quite fairly) been raised many times in the past about I could offer a lot of reasons as to why the piece is what it is--Carl's covered them pretty much--but the fact is, I don't really disagree with you as a general statement.

It's inevitable that when a piece like this comes out, it will look like the respondents are being touted as (to quote you) "the only representatives of today's musicblog world," but of course that's just silly, and was never the intention, and nothing of the sort is ever suggested (but again, I can see why it might appear that way to someone reading it). I mostly contacted bloggers whose work I'm fairly familiar with (some are newer to me than others), and who seemed like an interesting cross-section--people who wouldn't see eye to eye on many things, I was hoping (not that dissent was ALL I wanted). I honestly don't think there's that much in common between the five respondents at all, quite frankly, except in one important way: they are all kind of generalists in their approach.

Posted by scott on October 12, 2007 7:55 PM



I agree with you, Carl, and understand the rationale behind the roundtable being what it was. The criticism I was trying to address was the "Look how no one's talking about this!" point raised primarily in comments at Freaky Trigger. To the majority of the blogosphere, this is a discussion in a vacuum, that didn't deign to include them as part of the discourse, and the fact that they're ignoring it isn't suggestive to me of anything very powerful; that's all.

Posted by sean on October 12, 2007 7:59 AM



Sure, Sean, that's true (and don't worry about "old farts," because it's in music-blog terms true enough, though I think Idolator is somewhere in-between).

However in defence of the roundtable, it did happen on a site called "" which focuses its attention on more-or-less-professional or at least in-the-tradition, so if it was a discussion among people who care primarily about "writer/critic blogs," that makes a certain amount of sense.

Sure, the dorm-room cd-r makers are an important constituency but I don't think it's a bad thing to have a discussion that doesn't treat their issues or their project as the Big One. The old farts are allowed to talk among themselves too. Besides I'm not sure we all answer to that description either. Rich Juzwiak doesn't seem so much like one for example:

(And if you look at the rest of the blog it's not after the fashion of ye olde critics' blogs either.)

It'd be nice to have one of the over-demonized MP3 bloggers in there to tell us to fuck off, but again, I'm not sure they care about the issues Scott wanted to talk about. And it was his party, for which he was neither paid nor elected. Let 1000 discussions bloom elsewhere.

Posted by zoilus on October 11, 2007 4:25 PM



Bill Wasick's article was a pretty chilling indictment of indie culture. An endless stream of virgins sacrificing themselves on the eternal pyre where ambition meets a fickle, frantic, competitive search for novelty.

You're right, though, Carl, that it was an elegant indictment.

Posted by john on October 11, 2007 12:08 PM



and yikes, if it's not ALSO instantly obvious (which it seems not to be!), it doesn't mean anything remotely hostile, either! i am an old fart too, inasmuch as this stuff is concerned. i use the term self-deprecatingly and with affection. alls i mean is that we are not Shins-fans in our dorm-rooms burning cd-rs of early sufjan concerts.

Posted by sean on October 11, 2007 12:00 PM



oh, and if it's not instantly obvious, by "old farts" i don't mean anything whatsoever related to age.

Posted by sean on October 11, 2007 10:44 AM



I think it's to the detriment of the overall discussion that we're not better about distinguishing between the different *types* of "music blogs" when we talk about this. For example, there are the "writer/critic blogs" (Zoilus), there are the "hype/promo" blogs (Stereogum), there are the "curatorial" blogs (Said The Gramophone)... and of course, there's the "hype/promo blogs operating ostensibly as curatorial blogs" (not naming names). Don't get me wrong, I'm all for inclusion, and for a greater, wider conversation, but it's just that there's a pretty broad spectrum of stuff out there, and aspects of an argument about "the problems I have with online music criticism today" don't necessarily apply to "the problems I have with hype blogs today," (or "the problems I have with *music* today) and so on.

Posted by Ryan Catbird on October 11, 2007 10:33 AM




over at FT a few people are remarking haughtily that "no one's talking about this!", the demise of the discourse, etc. And while uh, i agree that the discourse is dead, the other reason no one at all is talking about this is that (and FT), um, didn't bother to talk to anyone except old farts. Maura, Carl, Stylus, VH1 as the only representatives of today's musicblog world? With no other sorts of voices? I mean you say some interesting things, but it's kinda as consensus-y and generation-gappy a panel as you could assemble. Why aren't there any devil's advocates? It doesn't surprise me at all that the musicblog masses would ignore a forum that clearly doesn't hold them in enough esteem to invite them to the party.

Posted by sean on October 11, 2007 8:45 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson