Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /homepages/7/d309872558/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/meta-ographr/index.php on line 572
Quantcast
 Everett True

These people are the enemy

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Beavis and Butt-head fighting

I couldn’t let the following exchange of views pass without comment.

There seems to be a certain type of person who hates anything that doesn’t support their worldview … I have no idea why, maybe they feel threatened or something. The sort of sweeping, patronising, arrogant statements and gratuitous insults made by Chad Parkhill below are indicative of a certain attitude that is prevalent everywhere, especially on the Internet, not just among people who write about music for money, and certainly not just in Australia. It’s just that I happen to live in Australia, and these were made by a fellow who writes for the street (music) press in my hometown.

(These blank ciphers, these willing sheep whose idea of a great review is one where they got free entry AND free drinks, they’re the ones that hold the balance of power through sheer weight of numbers, not us. That’s why we get shit like Gotye passing through mostly unchallenged in Australia AND people up in arms when we state we’re not sure that’s a good thing. “You’re just hacking down the tall poppies,” they bleat to overseas critics who have no idea what the fuck they’re going on about. How is such myopic parochialism going to help anything? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” they cry. And, for fuck’s sake, do NOT think about, or question, what you’re doing. What’s the point in that?)*

Doubtless, Chad thought he was offering Collapse Board and all who sail in her some sage, worldly advice. Sigh. Weird how he got so offended after I mildly disagreed with his reductionist theory of pop music: this, after an uncalled-for deluge of personal insults.

We can’t let people like this get away with it. These people are the enemy. Make no mistake.

Taken from the comments section to Response To A Disgruntled Goyte Fan

—————————————–

Chad Parkhill says: Much like the question of whether or not Gotye’s music is enjoyable, the question of whether this is a dialogue about or an in-house circlejerk is in the eye of the beholder. Surely we’ve all had enough of this?

—————————————–

Everett True says: Surely we’ve all had enough of this?

If you’ve had enough of this, why are you here?

—————————————–

Chad Parkhill says: Everett: I come here to read the vanishingly-small number of pieces that actually engage in writing about music (some of it decent!), as opposed to the increasingly-large number of pieces about Collapse Board itself, or how much Pitchfork sucks, or about how everyone other music critic in the world is crap, or about how Everett True is such a legend, mad contradictory bastard that he is, etc.

I know that your response to that will be “If you don’t like it, don’t read it,” and you have every right to continue on with the project of installing new chips on your shoulder and building up CB’s insular little mythos. I’ll simply observe that every truly wonderful and successful cultural product (book, album, website—whatever) I’ve ever encountered has succeeded because it has its eye on the task ahead of it, not on its posterity and self-mythologising. Something to consider amongst the flood of manifestoes, meta-whinges, and complaints about how others suck at music criticism.

—————————————–

Everett True says:

I’ll simply observe that every truly wonderful and successful cultural product (book, album, website—whatever) I’ve ever encountered has succeeded because it has its eye on the task ahead of it, not on its posterity and self-mythologising.

You’re obviously not a fan of the following then:
Bob Dylan
The White Stripes
The KLF
The Beatles
PJ Harvey
Nick Cave
Nirvana
Banksy
(I could go on and list another few hundred thousand, but I’ve got to put the pizzas on the barbie)

Good on ya, mate. Clear head, and all that. Stick to the straight and narrow, that’s best.

—————————————–

Chad Parkhill says: I can take some of that list and leave some of it, too. They’re all very talented artists, though, and I can guarantee that any self-mythologising in their work is subservient to the focus of the work itself, *or* represents their artistic nadir. (Yes, some of that list have put out crap albums. Happens to everyone, often when they’ve stopped focusing on the work and started focusing on themselves.)

But, y’know, keep doing what you’re doing, man. Keep working on the myth of Everett True and his merry band of fellow critics who stood up to Pitchfork and the general crapulence of modern music criticism and won. Maybe if you repeat it enough times it will magically come true.

—————————————–

Everett True says:

I can guarantee that any self-mythologising in their work is subservient to the focus of the work itself, *or* represents their artistic nadir.

You really don’t understand the first thing about popular music, do you?

—————————————–

Chad Parkhill says: See ya, Jerry. Good luck with your site.

—————————————–

matt says: I’m with Chad. I’ve had enough. You guys are just mean.

—————————————–

Lucy Cage says: “Mean”? Seriously? If you respond to criticism from readers, you’re mean?! Even if the criticism is in the form of a personal attack?

I responded to Adrian’s critique of Scott not because I thought Scott was offended (he wasn’t and nor would I be) but because I thought Adrian had misunderstood what music criticism is for. There were fundamental differences between the way he thought a review should work and how Collapse Board approaches writing about music: the reply was for the sake of clarity. It’s not a question of being surprised about the level of disagreement and certainly not one of not taking what you dish out: this is a dialogue, it aims to boost critical thinking about music and about writing. If anyone wants tick boxes and points, go elsewhere. If you’re fascinated by the process, stick around and argue, because a critical, self-conscious approach to the way that one’s adoration or loathing of music is articulated is part and parcel of anyone’s (not just a writer’s) relationship to music.

What I love about Collapse Board is that it sets the bar high: for music, for writing, for critical thought: that goes for its readers too! Better music, better writing, better listening. Passion in all things. That’s a good thing.

—————————————–

Everett True says:

I’ll simply observe that every truly wonderful and successful cultural product (book, album, website—whatever) I’ve ever encountered has succeeded because it has its eye on the task ahead of it, not on its posterity and self-mythologising.

Someone needs to tell Daniel Johnston – and quick!

P.S. Two good Australian music magazines. The Vine. Mess+Noise.

* This paragraph isn’t aimed at Chad particularly. He has at least identified himself.

16 Responses to These people are the enemy

  1. Greg September 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    How is this necessary? I’ll admit, the “Gotye debate” has inspired an interesting back-and-forth about the nature of music writing, in addition to a thoughtful piece about responding to negative criticism (at least I’m assuming that Wallace Wylie’s “8 Things You Should Avoid…” was a response to the Gotye backlash). More than an album comprised of background music for Australian coffeehouses has any right to inspire. Yet singling out a commenter and labeling them as the “enemy” of righteous music criticism just seems excessive. And yes, mean-spirited. I’ve only been a CB reader for a few days now, but you’ve obviously got a talented stable of writers, who are capable of covering a wide berth of artists, genres and topics. Let this fucking go.

    Or at least focus your ire on a more interesting target.

  2. Everett True September 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Greg, this is writing. It’s not like being stuck in the toilets at the Powerhouse with terrible stomach cramps while they pump Phil Collins through the speakers. If you don’t like the way that the Internet is changing music criticism from a one-sided conversation into a multi-sided dialogue, you can always turn the page.

    There’s plenty – plenty – to divert your attention elsewhere. Welcome on board.

  3. Joseph Kyle September 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Greg–I don’t see how it would be any different, were ET just to comment beneath it. He’s merely highlighting a conversation, and weighing in…

  4. Johnny Danger September 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Greg says: How is this necessary?

    Entirely necessary. It is this collective uncriticalness of aus. music Industry that creates the stacks-on-lets-get-behind-this-so-we-can-get-our-paycheck. Because middle of the road adult contemporary shite sells to the desperately trying to hang onto cred gen xers because they are the only ones who spend a cent on the Industry.

    For some bizarre reason young people are believing the hype (I guess they always have – Phil Collins and Sting did sell back in the day).

    (see I don’t have a hat the ring due to being semi literate but DO have a hat in the ring ’cause I have ears and they hurt whenever Gotye, Seeker, Lover, Keeper or any of middle and upper tier of touring oz acts of the beige brigade)

    There is waaaaay more interesting music being made in this country right now – music that is exciting, festive, fun, thrilling, makes you want to get up and dance and scream and buy booze and cd’s and listen to the radio. NONE of it is in the Industry, what we get is so stupidly safe that Gotye is seen as edgy. As the Industry gets less bums on seats the safer the music is getting – which I think is a stupid, patronising and offensive response.

    The last few years I have seen quite a few great acts play to twenty people – and the next week see 300+ in the same venue packed for a dull as dishwater ‘name’ that the Industry is behind. The public – and that means in my town the ‘no I’m not really square’ gen X brigade with $ – only goes to things and buys the music that the Industry tells them to — because they do not want to not like what their peers (colour supplement alert!) like.

    The Industry does not depend on music – it depends on the human need to maintain status within the group.

    We can do better than this, and it starts here with us music listeners and lovers championing the brilliant and bollocking the bullshit. THAT is why it is necessary, otherwise the music dies, the Industry dies and my ears will wither off.

  5. Everett True September 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    There is waaaaay more interesting music being made in this country right now – music that is exciting, festive, fun, thrilling, makes you want to get up and dance and scream and buy booze and cd’s and listen to the radio. NONE of it is in the Industry, what we get is so stupidly safe that Gotye is seen as edgy.

    Dude, quick! Link us to five! Or 10. Or whatever.

  6. Greg September 22, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Maybe I should clarify my post slightly. I’m okay with music criticism initiating a “multi-sided dialogue.” Hell, I’d like to see it more often. There’s a lot of complacency and slack in the global music press, and most “professional” reviews are too placid and boring to generate any kind of a discourse. And yes, a lot of great alternative music is unfairly brushed aside for not conforming to record industry or Pitchfork standards. No argument there. That said, this particular debate has run its course. Everyone has more or less said their piece, and by this point, it’s starting to sound like internet drama played for insightful meta-commentary. This post especially adds nothing to the debate (the reason I asked “How is this necessary?”). You’ve singled out one of your dissenters and called him the scourge of music criticism for disagreeing with you. It’s gone from a thoughtful discussion about the critic’s role to – well, Beavis and Butt-head punching each other in the face. Again, I respect what you guys are doing on this site, but I see no point in dragging this out. Not only have you beaten it to death, the bones are starting to disintegrate.

  7. Everett True September 22, 2011 at 7:03 am

    It’s gone from a thoughtful discussion about the critic’s role to – well, Beavis and Butt-head punching each other in the face.

    I think there’s an element of that, yes. Which is why I ran with that visual. But only an element, mark you.

  8. Darragh September 22, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Hi ET. I’ve regularly read and occasionally contributed here to Collapse Board and enjoy most of its content but this post bothers me. It says that there “certain type of person who hates anything that doesn’t support their worldview ” in a post labelling these people as ‘enemies’. It doesn’t strike me at constructive dialogue at all but rather a conversation that’s got heated, got out of hand etc. I think Greg here has hit the nail on the head when he says that it’s moved on from a thoughtful discussion.

    Furthermore, I disagree with the portrayal of street press as one that’s intimately hand-in-hand with industry. From my time contributing to the local rag, I’ve never got free drinks or anything of the sort. I know from other people there that this rarely would be the case. I think you have to accept that in Australia there are limited opportunities for people to write about music without working for street press. (In the interest of disclosing my comment, I should point out that I happen to write for the same street press publication as Chad though I would hold this reviewer regardless).

    Also, I’m pretty sure Mess+Noise and The Vine reviewed Gotye favourably, so I’m not sure they’re the best examples to use for talking about quality Australian music publications assuming that the underlying argument is to state that street press review stuff like Gotye positively and other more ‘high-brow’ publications don’t.

  9. Everett True September 22, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Darragh, you know I love ya. And I was quite at pains to stress within this post that I don’t think all the Australian street press behaves this way, just certain elements. Of course I think that most people writing for the street press are doing it for the love of music. (Doesn’t make them good writers of course, but that’s more a failing with their editors than with the writers themselves.) If I really felt otherwise I sure as shit wouldn’t be publishing your work now, would I? But you also have to appreciate that when someone layers personal insult after personal insult at me – uncalled-for, as well – then I will react. It would be fucking weird if I didn’t, don’t you agree? I listed M+N and The Vine because I think they step outside the (self-imposed) boundaries of the street press every now and then. I’m sure that if I look hard enough I ‘d find some decent articles within the main print street press as well.

    It’s absurd to think I despise the street press unreservedly. I would imagine that pretty much every Australian writer who contributes here to Collapse Board also contributes to the street press, and I sure don’t hate them. What I do not like, however, is the prevalent belief – as exemplified by Chad’s comments – that there is only one way to write about music, and if you disagree with that you must be an idiot. Or self-serving. Or something.

    His comments were particularly pompous, asinine and gratuitously insulting. That’s why I picked up on them.

  10. Everett True September 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

    P.S. Good on ya for having enough pride in what you do to be moved to defend it, though. That pride in your own work is one of the reasons I use you, for sure.

  11. emma September 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

    ET, have you, in your time of being a music critic, been offered free entry and free drinks to write a review for an artist?

  12. Everett True September 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Plenty of times. Free drugs, sex, plane tickets, hotel rooms, hard cash … Of course I did. In my time, I have been an incredibly influential, well-known music critic. Still am, depending on where you look.

    And did I accept these offers? Of course I did … depending on the situation, and what was on offer, and how it was offered, and what sort of strings came attached, etc. Mostly it came down to one simple question: Would I have liked the music under offer without any of these inducements? Yes? Then fucking induce away. No? Then be prepared for me to bite yr hand and bite it fierce. I might give you fair warning, I might not. (I have never been a *tame* music critic, as many PRs and record companies and band members can attest.)

    This is all a matter of (considerable) record.
    I’ve never been anything less than upfront about what I do, and how I do it.

    But I’m guessing you already knew that. Correct?

    This question appears to be referring to, but missing the delicate nuances of, the phrase:

    …these willing sheep whose idea of a great review is one where they got free entry AND free drinks…

    Communicating my love for music through my writing has always been way more important to me than the inducements on offer. Just a free CD or guest-list place alone seems to be motivation enough for the majority of folk who write about music. “Who gives a crap what the quality of writing is like? It’s only music criticism. I got a free CD.”

    No. It is NEVER *only* music criticism.

  13. HowlingEverett September 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Wait, what, Mr. True?

    You’re the kind of journalist who takes kickbacks “depending on what’s on offer and what strings are attached” and you’re making the cardinal sin of assuming that your experience is the same as everyone else’s in the music industry?

    The ‘kickbacks’ journalists from Rave such as Chad Parkhill (full disclosure, I’m a personal friend of his) get are tickets to the show they’re attending (without which, many of them wouldn’t be able afford the quantities of shows they review). Period. Aside from that, the per article wage a Rave journalist receives is so laughably small (as in, less than $50) as to be negligible. The only reason to get a job for Rave is because you’re trying to step up the ladder into serious journalism or, and lets just pause on this one: because you really, actually love music.

    What you seem to be saying in your post, Mr. True, is that you think the people who continue to critique music in the face of the fact that they can’t even make a living from it are the enemy. It’s dishonest to review music because you love music. Unless you’re making a living and taking ‘Free drugs, sex, plane tickets, hotel rooms, hard cash’ then you have no right to have an educated opinion on the quality of music.

    Funny old world you live in. Sure isn’t any one I’ve ever seen.

    As an amusing postfix, all of the bands (and one visual artist) you mentioned are as amazing as they are strictly because of the way, in their time, they redefined (or in some cases defined) the genres in which they worked. Each new Beatles album was exciting because it was different from the last, and because the songs were fucking amazing, not because of the mythology that grew up around them. The mythology comes afterwards, so that the old fans who have stopped listening to anything new can get themselves a warm fuzzy with people of like mind.

  14. Everett True September 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Someone else unable to read what’s on the screen in front of him/her. Sigh.

    I’m not quite sure why I have to repeat the same answer twice, but here goes.

    The question above appears to be referring to, but missing the delicate nuances of, the phrase:

    …these willing sheep whose idea of a great review is one where they got free entry AND free drinks…

    Communicating my love for music through my writing has always been way more important to me than the inducements on offer. Just a free CD or guest-list place alone seems to be motivation enough for the majority of folk who write about music. “Who gives a crap what the quality of writing is like? It’s only music criticism. I got a free CD.”

    No. It is NEVER *only* music criticism.

    Next time you leave gratuitous insults anonymously, you’re barred.

  15. Everett True September 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    @HowlingEverett says: What you seem to be saying in your post, Mr. True, is that you think the people who continue to critique music in the face of the fact that they can’t even make a living from it are the enemy. It’s dishonest to review music because you love music.

    Yeah, that could have possibly – possibly – been what I was saying if I hadn’t already taken the trouble to further clarify my post in this reply to Darragh. Here’s the first paragraph of it again. And I really, REALLY am not sure why I have to repeat the same answer twice.

    Darragh, you know I love ya. And I was quite at pains to stress within this post that I don’t think all the Australian street press behaves this way, just certain elements. Of course I think that most people writing for the street press are doing it for the love of music. (Doesn’t make them good writers of course, but that’s more a failing with their editors than with the writers themselves.)

    Please learn to read what’s on the screen in front of you before commenting next time. It will save an awful lot of time and effort.

  16. Wallace Wylie September 23, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Just for the sake of it I’m going to throw in my tuppence worth about the mythology surrounding bands. In regards to The Beatles, while in hindsight it’s easy to create some narrative about The Beatles changing the world with each new release the truth is actually very different. When The Beatles became huge, their created mythology helped enormously. They played up to the idea of ‘four lads from Liverpool’ and, even if Lennon grumbled, they all willingly made “A Hard Days Night” and “Help”, which were huge, expensive exercises in mythology building. People often forget that they made these movies in conjunction with the albums, with one promoting the other. The thing that nobody mentions is, by ’65 The Beatles sales were dipping. No, not in some huge noticeable way (the albums and singles were still going to number on), but behind the scenes there was talk that the new direction they were taking would ultimately lose them their fanbase. When “Revolver” came out it was the lowest selling Beatles album up to that point. The music press was very different in those days, so it’s not like it was greeted with the overwhelming praise that something like “Kid A” was greeted with (and which everybody now pretends it wasn’t greeted with). Then, when the band released “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever”, it didn’t go to number one. Many people were writing articles asking if The Beatles were done. What saved them? The unbelievable act of self-mythologising that was “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Everything about it was designed to create a new myth for The Beatles. The songs, the packaging, the front cover (very expensive, the likes of which had never been seen before). It worked, and “Sgt. Pepper…” put The Beatles back on top and cemented their reputation as the biggest band in the world. Yet it was a triumph of image over substance as “Sgt. Pepper..” is their weakest album, by a country mile. I’m not saying it’s a disaster but it struggles to exist outside of the context of 1967, and is the only Beatles album that seems trapped in a time-warp. The much superior “Revolver” did not have the same self-mythologising pizzazz and as such sold much less in comparison. Hindsight often allows people to create false narratives about important events, but instead of parroting accepted truths it sometimes helps to dig a little deeper.

    Bob Dylan self-mythologised from day one. He changed his name, made up stories about his past, got involved in a folk-music scene that he contributed some era-defining songs to but which he ultimately didn’t care about that much. In private, and since, Dylan admitted that he really didn’t give a shit about many of the social concerns of other Greenwich Village folkies but instead he saw a way of making a name for himself. He had the talent and the chutzpah to pull it off, so that’s exactly what he did, but once he had made a big enough name for himself he abandoned it and recast himself as a hyper-literate, jive-talking James Dean. Right now Dylan seems to have convinced the entire world that he is some kind of national monument that guards and protects American folk music. This development in self-mythologising actually fueled some of his best work in years. “Modern Times”, however, was almost all self-mythologising and, outside of three songs, had nothing of substance. Nobody noticed and it was praised to the heavens as another late-period Dylan classic.

    The White Stripes got all that press not only for the music but their excellent image building. Red and white, brother and sister, faux-naivety and the simplicity of the blues…these were all masterstrokes in self-mythologising and it happened straight out of the traps. In fact it fueled their best work. The more the mythology faded the less interesting The White Stripes became.

    I could go on, and I think this is exactly the kind of stuff Everett was referring to when he made that list. I’m also sure he thought it didn’t need explaining. That surely everybody knew more often than not self-mythologising and great works of art go hand-in-hand. In fact they need one another.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.