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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

Full slate

(sorry for the pun)

Three interesting music articles over at Slate today:

Jessica Hopper and Sasha Frere-Jones hate Stephin Merritt for being racist; let's just say I agree with the article (and yes I've read Hopper's numerous retractions and defences, and no I'm not convinced).

A fantastically even-handed and reasonable look at rockism and poptimism by Jody Rosen. I've found stuff to dislike in just about every summation of that whole issue, but this one pretty much totally avoids that.

And best of all, the nearly-always incredible Hua Hsu finally manages to articulate the reasons I love New Order so very, very much. Key moment, for me:

New Order's music described new feelings, new possibilities of experience: lost in thought at a club, Godlike (or bored) on drugs, anxious about nothing in particular, hesitant to say anything too direct, alone but unafraid of modern life. It's why the band still sounds as though they're of a different vintage. Others may have mimicked New Order's dance-rock sound, but not that oddly affecting, dampened-down stillness at its heart.

Just beautifully written, and absolutely on-point about Sumner and co.



My favourite is her whole "Lastly, I resent being called a journalist. I'm not and never have been." schtick, myself. Especially since the CBC posted a pretty anodyne evaluation of Pink by her recently. My tax dollars at work!

Although she's right, Carl Wilson's response is very well done.

I think my first experiences with Hopper's writing (which is never journalism, never forget!) were positive, but I can no longer remember why I liked her stuff.

Not that I know anything at all about pop-culture, but I could've sworn Pink married that race car guy? And at the end of Hopper's article, she claims that Pink doesn't have the guy of her dreams? Last I checked, actual "journalists" did research. Her method is to just spout shit until someone calls her out on it (the stephin merritt transcript debacle proves this also).

So no! her work is NOT journalism!

more importantly, why the hell did I read that entire pink article??

I would ask myself the same thing, but it was only by getting to the end that I discovered it was Hopper. And yeah, even I knew about motocross dude. I guess my main problem with the article, though, is that it's not just poorly researched or anything, it's boring - shouldn't she at least be provocative? What is the point of her writing?

the point of her writing is to make money and to satisfy her dire need to let people know that she's NOT A JOURNALIST. She's been provocative enough with her stephin merritt adventure to make up for the rest of her work, I guess.

Oh, and that's not all, if you remember the "Wait" blow up a year or so back.

And it's not as if the issues Frere-Jones wants to raise around this are ones that aren't worthy of discussion, it's just a shame to see Hopper tank the whole thing.

(of course, I don't think Merritt's a racist either, but I'm clearly biased - if I start talking about my favourite music, you're going to see an awful lot of honkies)

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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