by carl wilson

Organic Vs Silicon Intellectuals

Here's another take on the class-and-rock (slash adult alternative) issue via the Guardian's blog: "Where are rock's working-class intellectuals?" Personally I doubt that even in the very different ranks of "indie" as they're defined in the UK, there aren't still bass players reading esoteric books, but working-classness and lack thereof in rock gets a good workout (amid various feuds and nonsense) in the comments there, since it's Britain, where nobody gets freaked out by using the word "class." Meanwhile of course in North American indie/adult-alternative, there's no shortage of well-readness and literary reference (which is all the poster means by "intellectual" there, which is a dubious usage), but nearly all in a liberal-arts register, not the autodidactic, knowledge-as-escape/weapon/secret that it seemed in the examples given (and often in the post-punk examples Simon Reynolds details in Rip It Up & Start Again). Pardon the hastiness of these thoughts - no time to expand further right now - but it does tie in to the bohemian-vs-middle-class distinction that Frank Kogan draws in the column linked yesterday, which I don't think is very viable in reference to "rock" culture now.

General | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, November 07 at 1:00 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



But don't many folks eventually realize that "rebelling against the mainstream" is too simple a philosophy (and move on to popism versus rockism). Scores of posters on ilx and music fans and critics and musicians realized years ago that commercial rap had value (although the whole backpacker/underground rap versus mainstream rap discussion plays out in the same way with some folks knee-jerkingly rejecting one for the other). And years before that the Talking Heads and others were embracing aspects of 'mainstream music' (Al Green covers and adding funk and funk musicians). Also, in the UK punk groups had hits. So the whole rebelling against the mainstream played out differently there.

Posted by Curm on November 8, 2007 11:58 AM



I think Frank made quite a few points that resonated with me, especially the idea that the most blandly commercial music out there "owns" miscegenation. The indie philosophy of being unhappy with the status quo demands that we rebel against such a mainstream.

Posted by Half on November 8, 2007 8:48 AM



If you don't focus on Kogan's longtime Rolling Stones fixation and move on to the present doesn't he suggest some things worth thinking about? If American "modern rock" commercial radio is just playing the Foo Fighters and American commercial "active rock" radio is also playing the Foo Fighters and VH1 is showing videos by them and uh, Nickelback (yuck), while indie exists in the US on the internet and college radio and other high tech outlets, are you suggesting that most middle classers are listening to the indie rock or just the upper middle classers, and who's listening to the Foos and uh, Nickelback? Frank Kogan is suggesting that bohemian middle classers are rejecting what uh, mainstream white college kid middle classers are listening to (rock, pop, rap), are you disagreeing with that? And what are blue-collar and poor rockers listening to? So isn't the class issue complex? As for making the music are you suggesting one has to suffer or be poor to make meaningful critic-worthy music? And haven't bohemians adopted certain aspects of African-American minority culture for years and years while at the same time rejecting mainstream culture? Or is that now changing in the folkish indie end of things plus because of politcal correctness (although LCD and the various new indie bands incorporating afropop may prove otherwise).

Posted by curm on November 8, 2007 1:30 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson