Six more golden rules of music criticism (with explanations)
By Everett True
- Reviewing music is never just about ‘the music’. If it was, then… uh… music criticism would be fucked.
- I have no problem with anyone who takes issue with people who dislike music they like. Insulting people who like music you don’t like doesn’t automatically make your criticism invalid. Often, it makes it more entertaining.
- Maybe you liked something… or someone (a music critic, say)… in the past. Maybe you don’t any more. Maybe it’s not them who changed, but you.
- Hiveminds form wherever people regularly congregate (message boards, say). Often, these hiveminds are unaware of their own behavioural patterns. Often, this doesn’t matter. Obviously, the people who communicate within these hiveminds like to consider themselves individuals. And sometimes, they are.
- Disliking certain pop groups doesn’t make you sexist, or even (shudder) rockist, or even (worse shudder) elitist. Not automatically, anyway. Often, it means you just don’t like those pop groups.
- Just because you miss the 80s, doesn’t mean everyone does.
“Within liberalism, tolerance is linked to rationality, and, like freedom, is powerfully supported by scepticism. The enemy of liberal tolerance is fanaticism. Two lines of Yeats have been repeatedly quoted by liberal apologists in recent years:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. (‘The Second Coming’)
It must be agreeable to have no convictions, yet be able to account oneself among ‘the best’. What the endorsement of these lines indicates is that liberalism inclines to tentativeness (to use Russell’s word) and even uncertainty, and is suspicious of too strong convictions.”
Anthony Arblaster, The Rise and Decline of Western Liberalism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), pp. 55-59; 66-91)