nov 1


Perusing the blogosphere at this moment, it appears far fewer people are making a big deal out of the Eminem lip-synching performance on SNL (Lisa Rein doesn't even mention it as she posts the video) as were the Ashlee Simpson debacle last week. The cultural critics are likely already at work with reasons why.

In the mean time, this week Kelefa Sanneh deconstructs rockism, which he defines like this:

    A rockist isn't just someone who loves rock 'n' roll, who goes on and on about Bruce Springsteen, who champions ragged-voiced singer-songwriters no one has ever heard of. A rockist is someone who reduces rock 'n' roll to a caricature, then uses that caricature as a weapon. Rockism means idolizing the authentic old legend (or underground hero) while mocking the latest pop star; lionizing punk while barely tolerating disco; loving the live show and hating the music video; extolling the growling performer while hating the lip-syncher.
It's a seductive duality that Kelefa has set up. But I see all this differently: rock critics today (at least the ones that have risen in the last five-to-ten years, including the ones who are friends) are completely anti-rockist. In this new age of uber-populist music writers (have you read Blender lately?), we are actually witnessing the exact opposite of rockism: it's immensely uncool to diss Avril Lavigne and Usher (or Liz Phair) for being pop. But it's way cool to devise reasons why Britney is important. It's the anti-'90s right now: I can't not like something that's popular. So I spend hours listening to crap I don't really like, but which I am told is very popular, so I should try to figure out why. Seriously, Kelefa, the only rockists left are at Rolling Stone.


I'm not sure why there's no link to ILM (I Love Music) in the story, but it's here. Here's the post with that community responding.

Google search for "rockism".

Blogosphere starts talking about rockism.

BlogCritics post on Rockism.

NOTE: The commenting window has expired for this post.