Monday, February 9, 2009

The Boys Consider Facebook Memes and Hipster-Band Feuds!

Perhaps the most popular 'meme' on Facebook right now is "25 Random Things About Me," in which people list their chosen facts, 'tag' their 'friends,' and request they do the same and pass it on. Like all quick-spreading phenomenons, it has drawn as much ire as praise, with Facebook 'groups' quickly forming to express their hatred of the meme. A recent Salon article documents how the author's initial dislike of the phenomenon slowly blossomed into an appreciation of how the task sometimes reveals hidden depths in one's most seemingly superficial 'friends' list.

But how do the boys feel? Well, of course, they love this meme (Chip: "What's a meme and is this really a word people use now?"), but at the same time feel that 25 random things is a lot to process in one sitting. So the LC will now parcel out 25 random things about Chip and Richard over the course of a few weeks, starting today:

1) Sometimes I eat gravy by itself with a spoon.
2) I take bubblebaths to help me relax.

1) I secretly prefer Patrick Swayze's Point Break to Welles' Citizen Kane.
2) Once I hit a guy over the head with a frozen corndog at a party, but only because he asked me to do it.


How bad must a band be to receive a 1.6 rating from Pitchfork? And how could a band receiving accolades from so many other hipster publications attain such a low score? It's hard to say, but it's happened to Airborne Toxic Event, who'll be riding a wave of sold-out shows into Larryville's Jackpot next week.

Pitchfork says this:

"In a way, The Airborne Toxic Event is something of a landmark record: This represents a tipping point where you almost wish Funeral or Turn on the Bright Lights or Is This It? never happened as long as it spared you from horrible imitations like this one, often sounding more inspired by market research than actual inspiration. Congrats, Pitchfork reader-- the Airborne Toxic Event thinks you're a demographic."

Chip: "First off, I already wish those albums never happened, every day. Second of all, of course Pitchfork readers are a 'demographic.' All it takes is a visit to the Replay or Jackpot and a can of PBR to realize this."

Dissatisfied with such poor treatment from the taste-makers at Pitchfork, the Airborne Toxic Event fired off an open letter defending their merits, which is worth quoting here at length:

"You compare us to a lot of really great bands (Arcade Fire, the National, Bright Eyes, Bruce Springsteen) and even if your intention was to cut us down, you end up describing us as: “lyrically moody, musically sumptuous and dramatic.” One is left only to conclude that you m ust think those things are bad.

We love indie rock and we know full well that Pitchfork doesn’t so much critique bands as critique a band’s ability to match a certain indie rock aesthetic. We don’t match it. It’s true that the events described in these songs really happened. It’s true we wrote about them in ways that make us look bad. (Sometimes in life you are the hero, and sometimes, you are the limp-dicked cuckold. Sometimes your screaming about your worst fears, your most trite jealousies. Such is life.) It’s also true that the record isn’t ironic or quirky or fey or disinterested or buried beneath mountains of guitar noodling."

Cl.thier, local Pitchfork-hater: "Amen!"

Richard: "Will I be at the Airborne Toxic Event show? You bet I will! Their name, as you will know if you are hip, is a barely-veiled nod to Don DeLillo's White Noise, and I'm betting there will be more than a few quirky, indie-chick DeLillo readers in the audience who might want to discuss Great Jones Street and have sex, not necessarily in that order."


cl.thier said...

Wow...while I've listened to A.T.E. once (in a car ride involving a highly detailed speakerphone conversation with a stripper about the sordid types of things you think strippers talk about), I applaud them for taking Pitchfork to task for its highly dogmatic approach to music "criticism." I believe A.T.E. cut to the heart of the matter, that The 'Fork is more concerned with the sounds of its reviews than whether they make any sort of sense. Rather than offering up coherent discussion of the actual musical merits of a record, Pitchfork resembles an English undergrad's misguided love affair with the thesaurus. One can only suspect that avid readers of The 'Fork are similarly misguided English majors who are content with the self-satisfaction of knowing the definitions of the majority of these words, regardless of whether they're used in such a manner to produce logical arguments. It's like Dr. Seuss for the pseudo-intelligentsia of Naismith Hall...hooray!

For a clearer and more concise version of my rambling, I recommend the "Heartbreaker" chapter of Nick Hornby's Songbook.

And perhaps, Richard and Chip, if asked nicely I will regale you with the details of said conversation. Shocking stuff indeed!

high fidelity said...

I thought you'd enjoy seeing Pitchfork put in its place! I too applaud the "Event" for their willingness to challenge the hipster-Bible.

Yes, we demand that any tales of strippers must be shared (in graphic fashion and preferably with pictures!).