ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2017 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mailvox: DISCO SUCKS and the Evil League of Evil

I was less interested in the analogy drawn here than the important conclusion drawn by the emailer:
I mentioned that we were now in the "riot grrl" phase of SFF. Today, after reading the following link, I came to more conclusions:  1) The Evil League of Evil is the "Disco Sucks" of SFF, and 2) NEVER let your opponent have the opportunity to speak on your own behalf and not answer in kind:

"So how did racism and homophobia get attached to Disco Demolition?

In 1996, VH1 was attempting to expand from the music video template of MTV by creating documentaries and original programming. One of their first was “The Seventies,” a look at the decade in popular culture. A producer asked me to contribute a commentary about Disco Demolition. I saw the event as a romp, not of major cultural significance. I had no interest in claiming responsibility for killing disco. My target was Disco DAI, which was smothered in spring of 1980. The interview coincided with my quitting WMVP (a story for another day). I missed it.

Blowing off that interview was a mistake. The producers reframed the event through the lens of 1996 sensibilities. For the first time, the event was labeled racist and homophobic. It was a cheap shot, made without exploration, and it served as a pivot point for their documentary. It has lived on, thanks to Google....We were a bunch of disenfranchised 20-something rockers having some laughs at the expense of older brothers who had the capital and the clothing to hang with the trendy social elite. We were letting off a little steam. Any statement to the contrary is just plain wrong."


I remember the VH1 documentary he's writing about, and I remember the saddened, wistful, "knowing" looks of the disco artists bemoaning the "Disco Demolition" and the "Disco sucks" movement in general, and yes, I specifically remember the charges of racism and homosexual backlash they labeled it with, completely unchallenged.  I even remember a cutscene of Tom Petty smashing the shit out of a drum machine around 1979 or so.  Funny how no one ever accuses HIM of being racist or homophobic.

My parents both grew up in Philadelphia in the '50s, '60s, and '70s.  That means American Band Stand when it was still broadcast in Philly, there were such things as "regional sounds" regional hits and scenes, records you might NEVER hear again if you ventured 2 or 3 hours away.  In the '70s, they were into disco (they married in '75, I came along in '77).  Everybody was into disco, for the simple reason, it was fun and it was a party scene, especially for guidos growing up in Northeastern cities.

My parent's reaction to the "Disco Sucks" thing?  Well, they thought it was a little mean spirited, at worst, and maybe, maybe, there was an element of anti-black or anti-gay bias in it, but they were the first to admit that by 1979 it was pretty much over.  They didn't attach too much cultural significance to disco itself, It was a fad, and like all fads, it was time to move on to the next one.  Incidentally 1979 is about the time they both jumped off the pop culture wagon - they didn't care for punk or New Wave, and I think, other than oldies collections, the last NEW record my Dad bought was Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall."  As time went on, they went further back into soul, R&B, doo wop, and classic rock. 

They were more Philly Soul and Motown fans than anything else, so they also readily admitting to realizing just how limiting a musical form disco was.  Sure there are some tremendous records, but if you wanted something that was actually PLAYED by musicians, you were looking for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and Chic, NOT the very first names that come to mind when someone says "Disco."  I mean, Kiss went disco, Blondie went disco, Star Wars went disco.  It was simply,  played,  out.  It did NOT speak to rock fans.  There was only so much you could do with "four on the floor" and "burn baby burn."

Funny though, the VH1 "rockumentary" made ZERO mention about the 9 million pound asteroid in the room:  did disco, in fact, SUCK?  No one of course would actually go near the idea that maybe, just maybe the music wasn't really all that good - now it's looked at as kitsch, nostalgia fodder.

The interviewees they had, that I remember, included Donna Summer and Nile Rodgers of Chic - that's bringing in the ringers - that is a convenient way of saying "you can't say it sucked!!!"  They sure as hell didn't interview the Bee Gees, or Abba, or Tavares.  No one actually did much criticizing of the obvious, the central point, the music, other than to say a little "yeah maybe it was a bit manufactured and faddish, I mean, c'mon, Kiss" but YOU'RE ALL REYCISSS!!!!!  It's like how you simply CANNOT criticize Pink SFf for its actuall literary merits or lack thereof - the SKILL of the writer - all that's important is the feels and  the politics, it doesn't matter if it's actually good or not.  It's art as participation trophy for the oppressed, and this documentary, I think, KICKSTARTED that idea into the stratosphere.

But, here's the point, the original instigator, Steve Dahl, passed on a chance to have his say in court.  Would it have made a difference? I don't know.  And I also don't know why he waited until now to make his point, but the fact is this, this rock-hard meme that's it going to be damn near impossible to ever refute is stuck in the popular consciousness, just about the time when PC bullshit and the war on language really took off, the 1990s.

So, why say that ELoE is the "disco sucks" movement of SFF?  Because you're the only ones calling out Pink SFF on its overuse of drum machines, recycled beats, empty lyrics, and celebration of shallow excess - Pink SFF happens to be the current ever-declining sales posting radio friendly unit shifters of the moment, but you're basically saying that what came along with "New Wave" sci-fi in the '60s and '70s, which was pretty damn disco sci-fi if you ask me (Jerry Cornelius anyone?), also begat cynical punk rock (cyberpunk), industrial (gray goo), and other fads that have had their time, and are fading. You could call some of Pink SFF "hip hop" but unlike real-life hip hop, it also doesn't sell, and I think that's more apparent in comics and graphic novels and movies than books. 
He's correct. The pinkshirts are DESPERATE to avoid the discussion that the Evil League of Evil has collectively initiated about science fiction and fantasy, and they are constantly trying to summarize and explain and interpret and spin what we are saying rather than simply quoting us. In many cases, they don't even refer directly to us by name, but instead provide in-group indicators so that their fellow pinkshirts will know to whom they are referring and bark on request while moderates and neutrals more capable of being swayed will be left in the dark.

They are attempting to control the narrative rather than engage in discourse, for the obvious reason that they know as well as we do that we are absolutely correct. They claim we are bad writers while readily admitting to never having read our books. We claim they are inept storytellers pushing left-wing propaganda on the basis of being intimately familiar with the very best they have to offer. Hence we can identify them, quote them at length, and directly engage because we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. They, on the contrary, are correctly fearful of being exposed, at having their whole Potemkin Village of publishers and editors and writers and reviews and "bestseller" lists and awards blown away in the harsh, judgmental winds of reality.

So, they will attempt to continue controlling the narrative by speaking on our behalf and erecting the sort of strawmen they are capable of defeating. But, thanks to the Internet and our own determination to speak for ourselves, they will not succeed.

Labels: , ,

90 Comments:

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 9:22 AM  

> Funny though, the VH1 "rockumentary" made ZERO mention about the 9 million pound asteroid in the room: did disco, in fact, SUCK?

Well, yeah, it did. And so does Pink SF&F.

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 11, 2014 9:23 AM  

Interesting comparison between Disco and Pink SFF.

I can't honestly think of any disco number that is held up as...you know...good. None of it has stood the test of time.

However Disco was at least viewed as fun. Something no one accuses Pink SFF of being. Mostly it's ludicrously pretentious.

Old school SFF was the product of disciplined, well trained minds. Universities stopped doing that in the early 1990s. Critical thinking was redefined to mean shouting pre-approved slogans in response to appropriate stimuli.

Anonymous Mr. Market July 11, 2014 9:23 AM  

Why not? Credentialism has worked all their lives. Why would it stop now for them?

They don't care about being rich ... they want just enough money for a small house for themselves and their cats, maybe a Doritos-and-sour cream night on an occasion. The real glory is in getting awards, recognition of their fellow catlady peers, and maybe (if they are really lucky!) a blog mention by John Scalzi.

And no matter what they are all Strong Beautiful Women Who Care About the World.

Blogger Cranberry July 11, 2014 9:24 AM  

Alright. I'll strain the brain and induce a migraine or three if it will help me really get to the heart of how awful Pink SFF is - just give me some recommendations of contemporary works. One should not live in a bubble, after all.

I think I'll draw the line at dino-rape porn, though. Or is watching the current incarnation of Dr. Who enough of an indicator?

You've got me reading again, Vox, and I'm glad for it, but I had no idea how degenerate the writing and storytelling had become. And stellar exemplars you'd point out?

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 11, 2014 9:36 AM  

Like Disco, Pink SFF is a product of the 1970s.

The New Wave movement in Science Fiction was an attempt to gain mainstream recognition by demphasizing science. in favor of literary pretension. .

Epic Fail of course.

But the New Wave types did establish the tradition of claiming that the old school fiction was stodgy and poorly written. They have never moved off that. Their modern descendants maintain that tradition stoutly.

Blogger CM July 11, 2014 9:56 AM  

Cranberry - Mists of Avalon?

I've largely limited my reading for years. I think when I was 18, I ventured out of the jr. Fiction section and was assaulted with hideously poor writing (Brown and The Davinci Code) and pathetic word use (language in James Patterson books).

What NYT was putting on their bestsellers list was disappointing to say the least and those small tastes kept me from trying anything new in adult fic.

I had heard of Mists of Avalon in hs. I was an avid reader at the time and am not quite sure what kept me from those books, but I never read them. I think after reading I know Why the Caged Bird Sings and knowing what The Color Purple was about, I was much less inclined to read outside of the classics at the time.

I admire your willingness to open yourself to those books. I'm kinda big on Philippians 4:8 :p

Anonymous ? July 11, 2014 9:59 AM  

Can someone explain to me the basis for the accusation that "Disco Sucks" is raciss and homophobic?

Anonymous Athor Pel July 11, 2014 10:00 AM  

" Mr. Market July 11, 2014 9:23 AM
...
And no matter what they are all Strong Beautiful Women Who Care About the World."



We Care A Lot, Faith No More

Blogger Cranberry July 11, 2014 10:14 AM  

I read MoA, in high school. Or rather, I read part of it; when I got to the part in the book where Morgaine is sucked into an alternate-dimension Avalon where women go lesbo for each other day and night, I put it down and never took it up again.

I will look at the Hugo and Nebula award winners from the past few years. There are a few books I use as a metric for whether or not a work stacks up: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Foundation, Tales of a Dying Earth. There are others, I'm not sure where Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy would stack up as far as fantasy literature goes, but I use those books and Once and Future King as a metric for good/great Arthurian Legend stuff (yeah, I'm one of those women), and Earthsea and Chronicles of Narnia for good/great not-strictly-Arthurian story telling. I'm sure I could have higher bars, but I can only do so much reading and comparing. Would that my days were spent holed up in a library, but the life of an academic is too political for me.

Cataline remarked that old SF/F was the product of classically well-trained minds. Too true. Time to re-institute classical education, I think, if we're going to have some hope.

Anonymous JoeyWheels July 11, 2014 10:18 AM  

Can someone explain to me the basis for the accusation that "Disco Sucks" is raciss and homophobic?

Off the top of my head... Disco was mostly an offshoot of R&B/Motown. As such it was originally a "black thang"....until K.C. & The Sunshine Band, the Bee Gee's, Samantha Sang, KISS, white producers, record executives, and the bean counters at the record companies saw how much cash was being made with this music being played in dance clubs.....dance clubs that also had a substantial gay crowd.

....just a guess.

Give me my 80's hard rock, hair metal and thrash any day.

Anonymous hateful racissss July 11, 2014 10:19 AM  

Vox, when you quote Pink writers to demonstrate how poorly they write, you are engaging in intellectual racism. "White Logic, White Methods" by Tukufu Zuberi (Amazon, $40) explains it. As the blurb points out, instead of debating whether the glass is half empty or half full, we should be asking whose glass it is.

That's the kind of people you're dealing with: people who can't be shamed for their igorance. They are blissful in their ignorance and insist you should be, too.

I enjoy the ELoL but Heinlein was right: never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother July 11, 2014 10:26 AM  

Saxon Denim and Leather for the win!

Anonymous DrTorch July 11, 2014 10:26 AM  

Hell, the Rolling Stones went disco.

Did disco suck? Not really. But it is a pretty limited style (how many Abba songs repeat the same word three times?) You take the top 5-6 disco songs and you don't need anything after that.

But disco itself did not embrace homosexuality. Not at all. The scene was invaded by the gays.

So yeah the analogy w/ pink SF holds.

Anonymous Athor Pel July 11, 2014 10:27 AM  

" CranberryJuly 11, 2014 9:24 AM
...
You've got me reading again, Vox, and I'm glad for it, but I had no idea how degenerate the writing and storytelling had become. And stellar exemplars you'd point out?"



Think of it this way. Remember how you felt after watching certain movies. I can think of a couple that could fit the bill.

Eraserhead or Blue Velvet by David Lynch. I felt dirty, physically dirty, for days after watching those, never mind how my mind felt. Actually I liken it to what I felt after drinking too much soju when I was in Korea, yeah, that.

Then there's the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not exactly a spiritually uplifting film. I felt like I had some kind of disease after only watching about half of this piece of trash.

See, since you now know how you'd feel if you read one of those books you don't have to read one now.

Anonymous Leonidas July 11, 2014 10:34 AM  

As a child, I was strongly in to sci-fi. Usually hard sci-fi. I devoured the stuff. As a teenager I started to shift away from hard sci-fi more in to the fantasy world. Don't read too much into that: I've always loved both and still do. This was more of a "rebalancing the portfolio" thing than any fundamental change. But over time, my reading and viewing habits shifted more and more from sci-fi to fantasy. As the shift was happening, I tended to believe that it was because fantasy was an intrinsically superior genre. I also had the theory that science REALITY had brought us so much that imagining new things was getting harder and harder, and thus making sci-fi less relevant.

Over the last decade or so, I've shifted more and more away from both genres altogether. I've been reading less, and finding less and less that I was interested in reading. Part of this was because I could walk into a bookstore, hit the sci-fi/fantasy section, and run down the aisles seeing so many of the same books that I'd been browsing for 20 years. A typical browse section would go something like, "read it, read it, read it, still not interested, read it, still not interested..." etc. And then I just kind of stopped browsing.

It was disappointing. Hugely disappointing. I spent so much time in the bookstore during my undergraduate years that one of the employees offered me a cot in the back (it's not like school was keeping my mind occupied). But it was what it was.

When I add in the fact that I was born in the late 70s, most readers of this blog will immediately understand what the real problem was. The newer sci-fi - and then later the newer fantasy - was just crap. Neither genre had let me down, the publishers and authors had let me down. I hadn't outgrown the genre, I'd outgrown the morons who were controlling it. Also, the entire "sci-fi/fantasy section" had honestly just become the "paranormal romance" section. Bleh.

So I'd like to take a moment to say a giant, heartfelt THANK YOU to Vox Day, Larry Correia, John C. Wright, and the Dread Ilk. I've had not one but two entire new worlds of sci-fi and fantasy opened up to me: older authors from the early 20th century of whom I'd never even HEARD (somehow) and newer authors (including all of the named individuals, but also others) who have broken past or, more often, just gone around the gatekeepers and put out worthy works anyway.

In 2014 I've been exposed to more amazing sci-fi and fantasy works than I have in a decade. I've been EXCITED for the genre again. I've been reading works of hard sci-fi that are actually imaginative AND up to date (ie, not imagining things that have either already happened or are mooted by things that have happened). Thank you all. It is greatly appreciated.

Also, I just finished John C. Wright's "The Golden Age" trilogy yesterday and it's bloody amazing and I no longer view Vox's description of him as "one of the greatest living sci-fi masters" as hyperbole. It is merely fact.

Blogger Cranberry July 11, 2014 10:36 AM  

Why did you have to remind me of Blue Velvet?

Dirty is how I'd describe the sensation, too. Most people just told me I didn't "get" Lynch. I don't think anyone "gets" Lynch, aside from David Foster Wallace - and he killed himself, so that tells me something important. What, I don't know, but if not understanding Lynch means I can refrain from self-harm an eternity rooted in the seventh circle, I'll be happy for my idiocy and stunted appreciation of art.

Anonymous Heh July 11, 2014 10:42 AM  

Eraserhead was so boring I couldn't watch it long enough to feel dirty from watching it.

Blogger John Wright July 11, 2014 10:58 AM  

"Also, I just finished John C. Wright's "The Golden Age" trilogy yesterday and it's bloody amazing and I no longer view Vox's description of him as "one of the greatest living sci-fi masters" as hyperbole. It is merely fact."

Yes, but he means greatest in terms of circumference of girth, I think.

Anonymous pseudotsuga July 11, 2014 11:17 AM  

What is often overlooked about the 70s is that the music "scene" wasn't ALL disco all the time. There was a lot of other music genres going on, but disco was the only one for which dancing was the entire point. I grew up a small town, southern-Oregon boy, graduating high school in 1983. Disco was hitting our consciousness in the late 70s--we caught the "ebb" of the tide, being so far away from the East Coast, urban club vibe which was the home of disco music. (That was also the beginnings of rap/hip hop music crossing over, much like rock and roll did, from the "black" to the "white" world)
And that, I think (urban, East Coast) was the whole of disco. The further you were from that scene, the less relevant disco was, and the less it made any sense in your world. Lyrically and musically there isn't much there, to be sure. But it was the groove and the glitter that made it happen. It's popcorn music--a fun snack, without any real substance or nutrition, popular music at its "finest". The "success" of a disco track was only relevant in two measures: did it sell or did people dance to it? I would submit that pink SF&F doesn't even hold up to half of the disco comparison (the selling part). The dancing is only done by people who consider themselves glittering sophisticates--both in disco music and disco SF&F.
And to set the record straight, ABBA is more Europop than disco. Yes,they dipped their toes in the water, and their biggest chart hits (in America and Europe) were made so by the dance club scene. But much of what they did doesn't fall easily into disco.

Anonymous Fran July 11, 2014 11:39 AM  

I never knew KISS went disco.

OpenID cailcorishev July 11, 2014 12:01 PM  

My impression of disco, like the rest of the 1970s, is that everyone needed a shower and a few weeks of detox. If you watch 1970s movies, even the great ones, everyone looks sweaty or greasy. All that long hair on men combined with tight polyester clothes can't have made for a great aroma on the dance floor.

I've never thought of disco as gay; more that the people involved were constantly blasted out of their minds on drugs, which tends to lead to banging whatever happens to bump into you at the party/orgy. Was Mick Jagger gay because he had sex with guys like David Bowie sometimes, or was he just really, really, really wasted? I dunno. Never thought there was any race angle to the disco-sucks backlash at all, since most of the big disco acts I can think of were white. Most of this just sounds like historical revisionism and the knee-jerk tendency to assume that anything the author considers bad must have had some racism in it.

Anonymous kh123 July 11, 2014 12:09 PM  

Technically, it's called the World Crime League.

Surprised no one's brought up Rinder and Lewis' round-the-clock recording sessions, sleeping in the studio and skiing downhill nose first, all for the sake of cutting disco tracks for television and movies. One of the two - or maybe both even - apparently had inserts to keep their nostrils from completely collapsing in on themselves from all the coke they were doing at the time.

Blogger Cranberry July 11, 2014 12:29 PM  

And that, I think (urban, East Coast) was the whole of disco. The further you were from that scene, the less relevant disco was, and the less it made any sense in your world.

As an East Coast resident who lived in the shadow of NYC, I think you could replace "disco" with many or most kinds of contemporary art, music, or literature and have this be a true statement.

The further one gets from an urban center, the less sense most of pop culture, and its followers, tend to make. That isn't to say people in, say, West Virginia are unaware, they just don't give a damn. I think this is a good thing, as it means trends like disco and pink SF/F die out once they try to invade good ole small towns. Sometimes, those places are downright hostile to what they generally correctly see as a corrupting influence, or at least a waste of time.

Footloose, anyone? Films like that were made to show just how backwards and stultified and boring small town people were, until sexy and fast lets you be free to express yourself. Part of the Long March, I suppose. Wear down any sense of pride in tradition so garbage can take over. Some people resist, successfully.

Anonymous Cranberry July 11, 2014 12:39 PM  

Most of this just sounds like historical revisionism and the knee-jerk tendency to assume that anything the author considers bad must have had some racism in it.

It's important to note the time period of the 1970s piece, and the reason it was made. As the original email Vox quotes says, VH1 was looking to distinguish itself from MTV with original programming. By 1996, PC speech had taken hold. The Berlin Wall had fallen, Russian communism was dying, war protests over Bush The Elder's Iraq activity never went away, college kids were drumming in circles to Free Mumia and Leonard Peltier, Rage Against The Machine urged everyone to take the power back. It was 1969 v.2.0 for kids in HS or just out of it, as I was at the time.

Point being, anything produced for youth consumption had a flavor of looking at history through a lens of how oppressed people were for just being free to express themselves and engaging in the free love our hippie forebears had protested hard for during the Vietnam era. It was propaganda, again, saying look, young people, you MUST ROCK THE VOTE or all the progress and freedom the protesters and Civil Rights marchers and feminist agitators fought for will be for naught, you can't stop the fight, and here's some opinionated and biased programming to help ensure you understand that.

Blogger John Cunningham July 11, 2014 12:42 PM  

CranberryJuly 11, 2014 9:24 AM
...
You've got me reading again, Vox, and I'm glad for it, but I had no idea how degenerate the writing and storytelling had become. And stellar exemplars you'd point out?"

Well, everything by John C Wright and Vox, of course, Jack Vance, John Ringo, Travis Taylor, Kratman, old Lord Dunsany, and a re-reading of Tolkien every couple of years.

OpenID gnardopolo July 11, 2014 12:44 PM  

I was born in the summer of '69--in suburban Texas, which was pretty well removed from the Summer of Love scene. My early influences in Sci Fi were Asimov and Bradbury, and in fantasy it was mostly Narnia and the Hobbit; I couldn't get into the Lord of the Rings because by that time the derivatives were so common that the Master seemed to be just another hack.

I remember reading one of the magazines (Fantasy and Science Fiction, I want to say) right up into the '90's, and I remember what made me stop: an Arthurian story, whose name and author I cannot recall, that reduced the entire scope of the myth to a simple explanation: Arthur was gay, and Mordred was a closeted homosexual that couldn't handle Arthur not being interested in him. All in 10,000 words.

It was such a contrived bit of garbage, and I still approach fantasy short stories with trepidation. BTW, I had given up on Sci Fi shorts years before because of the depressing visions of the future that offered only death or drug addled oblivion as the apparent hope of humanity.

Anonymous Cranberry July 11, 2014 12:45 PM  

I meant of bad pink SF/F, but I've not read any Ringo or Dunsay, so I'll see what on offer at my library. Thanks!

Anonymous Fnord P July 11, 2014 12:47 PM  

pseudotsuga ...but disco was the only one for which dancing was the entire point.

...but disco was the only one for which dancing after snorting lots of coke was the entire point.

Anonymous Maximo Macaroni July 11, 2014 12:48 PM  

Sounds reasonable. I hated disco. I hate all of New Literature. I have noticed a flood of women, politically correct authoresses into the murder mystery genre lately. I loved Agathia Christie but the new women's detectives don't even get me past the cover. They're so predictably tendentious they spoil everything about a genre. Any that might have been good are lost in the morass. So I say, with Nero Wolfe, "Pfui!" to them all.

Anonymous bob k. mando July 11, 2014 1:19 PM  

? July 11, 2014 9:59 AM
Can someone explain to me the basis for the accusation that "Disco Sucks" is raciss and homophobic?



John Travolta, the ne plus ultra of the disco dance gods, slurps weiners.

http://www.frontiersla.com/Columns/Billy-Masters/story.aspx?ID=1771758

disco Revolta:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Fever




Athor Pel July 11, 2014 10:00 AM
We Care A Lot, Faith No More


Vox may despise me for not making hot links ... but i don't get malformed urls very often.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1g9PFtSCKw




John Wright July 11, 2014 10:58 AM
Yes, but he means greatest in terms of circumference of girth, I think.



we will beat you until you learn to accept compliments with grace and aplomb.


Fran July 11, 2014 11:39 AM
I never knew KISS went disco.


everybody ( okay, maybe not Zeppelin or Sabbath ) went disco. where do you think Elvis's notorious glitter suit comes from?

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/The+Top+Ten+Hits+Disco+2/4909970

Anonymous Jack Amok July 11, 2014 1:20 PM  

Most music genres follow a pattern. A handful of artists pioneer a new sound. If they're good and innovative, the sound gets noticed and a few more artists are drawn into it. If those artists are good, the genre explodes in popularity, at which point it attracts a whole host of imitators and trend-chasers, most of whom are not very talented and produce boat loads of crap. Thirty years later, you can look back and see a handful of great songs amid a sea of crap.

Anonymous indyjones July 11, 2014 1:24 PM  

I never did like disco, way to mechanical for my ear....but then I view rap as nothing more than disco with rather shitty lyrics. Disco was like and Elliott wave A down with a small B wave recovery and we're currently in wave C down with rap.

Blogger John Wright July 11, 2014 1:28 PM  

"we will beat you until you learn to accept compliments with grace and aplomb"

Wait, did you say I get a plum with each compliment I accept? Yummy. Plums....

If we were not in the middle of a dearth of good writing, smothered in the arid sands of what Vox calls Pink SF, boring political writings by sexual perverts, my humble cups of water would not be praised as wine and nectar.

But I thank you gracefully for your kind opinion. I will pass them along to the muse when I see her next.

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 1:41 PM  

> ...everybody ( okay, maybe not Zeppelin or Sabbath ) went disco.

Oh, not everybody. A bunch of classic rockers didn't. The entire southern rock genre resisted temptation (as far as I can tell). And it never affected country and western.

> ...but then I view rap as nothing more than disco with rather shitty lyrics.

I think rap can best be described as urban poetry set to a rather limited musical frame.

> If we were not in the middle of a dearth of good writing, smothered in the arid sands of what Vox calls Pink SF, boring political writings by sexual perverts, my humble cups of water would not be praised as wine and nectar.

Merely from your blog posts (I haven't had time to ready your books, and may not) I think you understate your abilities, John. But your relative humility serves you in good stead and is one of the things we like about you.

Anonymous Cranberry July 11, 2014 1:48 PM  

And it never affected country and western.

What, then, are we to make of the New Country offerings by Eric Church? I won't even insult country music by bringing up Cowboy Troy and his rap-country fusion - oops, guess I just did, but really, what to make of it?

Seems like Country saw an opening for a fusion of the genres, much the way rock/hard core and rap did, Anthrax's "Bring Tha Noize" being the most prominent example that immediately springs to mind. Or Onyx and Biohazard. Or Run DMC and Aerosmith.

Anonymous VD July 11, 2014 2:00 PM  

If we were not in the middle of a dearth of good writing, smothered in the arid sands of what Vox calls Pink SF, boring political writings by sexual perverts, my humble cups of water would not be praised as wine and nectar.

A cold, clear cup of water in the desert tastes considerably better than any wine.

Anonymous Cranberry July 11, 2014 2:18 PM  

To a starving people, the humblest loaf of bread is a feast, Mr. Wright.

Anonymous bob k. mando July 11, 2014 2:22 PM  

James Dixon July 11, 2014 1:41 PM
Oh, not everybody....The entire southern rock genre resisted temptation (as far as I can tell). And it never affected country and western.



Southern and Classic rock and C/W in the 70s? yeah, that's pretty much the definition of "Nobody".



James Dixon July 11, 2014 1:41 PM
(I haven't had time to ready your books, and may not)


if you have time to read ANY fiction, you have time to read ( and ) Wright .




James Dixon July 11, 2014 1:41 PM
But your relative humility serves you in good stead and is one of the things we like about you.



cool it, mang. he's already bragging about his 'girth'. you plump him up any more he's going to have problems getting through the door.

( that's probably the ... least offensive direction i can go with that line )

OpenID cailcorishev July 11, 2014 2:41 PM  

Southern and Classic rock and C/W in the 70s? yeah, that's pretty much the definition of "Nobody".

Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top say hi.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 11, 2014 2:42 PM  

James Dixon: "And it never affected country and western."

Exile (I Wanna Kiss You All Over) was a C/W band. But that's the only example I can think of.

Anonymous pseudotsuga July 11, 2014 2:43 PM  

".everybody ( okay, maybe not Zeppelin or Sabbath ) went disco."
Even U2 eventually went disco (but not in the 70s when they first began)! Wasn't there a group named Psykosonik that went disco, too? (heh!)
The charges of racism aimed towards disco have to do with accusations of appropriation. What began as a "black" phenomenon was "appropriated" by whites, and then whatever was stolen (whether it be the blues, rock and roll, or disco) is no longer seen as "black" because cismale white patriarchy and all that. We will, of course, ignore all the cross-fertilization that went on for the past 200 years and focus only on the powerful majority white culture because Marxism.
I think we may be overlooking Glam Rock, as well, which was the link between 60s/70s style psychedelica and disco. That glam rock thingy (Gary Glitter, David Bowie, and eventually KISS, which led to hair metal, and so on) is the connection between gay culture and disco.
Of course, as other posters have clearly pointed out, the drugs from Glam and Psychedelica were a big, big part of what became disco...it was kind of a well-known secret. Popular mainstream culture pretended that the drugs and the hook-ups weren't the point of it all as disco became the flavor du jour.

So when do we get to talk about sweet rock (i.e. Air Supply)? (ducks and runs, laughing madly)

Anonymous pseudotsuga July 11, 2014 2:49 PM  

Oh yes, an addenda---disco was kind of like the cultural 'gang signal' of the time (to borrow from another thread). Many people wanted to be part of the gang, but others were too cool to be joiners. They didn't like disco for actual musical aesthetics but for the action of being cool with hipster cred (being too cool for disco).

Anonymous TapHead July 11, 2014 2:51 PM  

did Spinal Tap ever go disco?

Anonymous bob k. mando July 11, 2014 2:53 PM  

WaterBoy July 11, 2014 2:42 PM
Exile (I Wanna Kiss You All Over) was a C/W band. But that's the only example I can think of.



Eddie Rabbitt:
http://pathtroddennot.blogspot.com/2012/05/eddie-rabbitt-loveline.html
"Allmusic gave the album 3.5 stars out of 5 and praised it for its "R&B influence" and "disco feel"




cailcorishev July 11, 2014 2:41 PM
Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top say hi.


dude, seriously? your answer is 'Freebird'? that's like the very definition of hick, redneck cracker.

iow, 'Nobody'.

really, i wish you'd get progressive and advanced like the rest of us and get some manscaping done.

Anonymous Ugh July 11, 2014 2:53 PM  

I view rap as nothing more than disco with rather shitty lyrics

And created by people with less musical talent than disco groups.

Anonymous Cranberry July 11, 2014 2:54 PM  

did Spinal Tap ever go disco?

No, only to 11.

Anonymous Cranberry July 11, 2014 3:05 PM  

I was born in late 1975. My parents were into rock, not disco. In most ways, I was not ever immersed in any popular culture, much to my detriment as a child (the popular girls and boys were into things other than classic rock, classical music, classical literature, and the outdoors). I only began to "know" disco through the BeeGees and Saturday Night Fever which my grandmother told me was just another "everyone hates Catholics" movie.

She wasn't wholly wrong. So as a "cultural gang sign" I get it; disco said you were "in", at least for now. But for how long? The film Detroit Rock City was all about the death of disco at the hands of more "real" putative men, blue-collar and hateful of all the glam and sex that disco embodied, however predictable and juvenile (and glommed from Dazed and Confused) the movie might be. Disco, like all trends, was flash in the pan, however its critics want to portray its rise and demise.

Always, always, and in all ways, Truth and Beauty will remain; no matter the raiment you put on a falsehood, it will reveal its empty nature in the end.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 11, 2014 3:17 PM  

TapHead: "did Spinal Tap ever go disco?"

Yes. (Link is to discography; look for "TAP DANCING".)

Anonymous DrTorch July 11, 2014 3:17 PM  

"And it never affected country and western."

Uh, who do you think wrote "Islands in the Stream" the hit by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton?

And I'll submit some of Atlanta Rhythm Section's hits to the discussion.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 11, 2014 3:19 PM  

The actual correct link.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 11, 2014 3:27 PM  

Country Disco: Dolly Parton Baby I'm Burnin'

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 3:32 PM  

> What, then, are we to make of the New Country offerings by Eric Church?

The fact that it's called "New Country" should be a clue, Cranberry. :)

> Exile (I Wanna Kiss You All Over) was a C/W band.

Nope. They started as a rock band, not country.

> Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top say hi.

I think you could add Springsteen (his sellout didn't come till the 2000's), Seger, and a fair number of others.

> dude, seriously? your answer is 'Freebird'? that's like the very definition of hick, redneck cracker.

You do know that them there's fightin' words, don't you?

Seriously, if you think Skynyrd was limited to Freebird, then you haven't listened to Skynryd and your opinion can safely be dismissed as, at best, uninformed.

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 3:48 PM  

> Uh, who do you think wrote "Islands in the Stream" the hit by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton?

No, i didn't. So I used Google. You do know that the Bee Gees had hit songs long before disco, don't you? The fact that the Bee Gees wrote a song doesn't necessarily make it a disco song.

The song was released in August 1983, btw, per Wikipedia, well after the disco star had set. Readers are welcome to listen to it themselves and see if they think it's disco or not.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2014 4:14 PM  

There's a handful of disco that's actually quite good -- Donna Summer, Saturday Night Fever, Funky Town, that sort of thing. More if you count disco-inflected soul and R&B, more of a hybrid. Probably enough to fill a double-album anthology. I think my favorite was "Fly Robin Fly" the entire full lyrics of which were, "Fly, robin, fly/Up up to the sky." On the old Sonny and Cher variety show, Sonny Bono pulled a Steve Allen and recited it in serious tone and tried to subject it to literary analysis.

And that I think is the key to white 70s kids hating disco: they'd been raised on this diet of serious stuff full of integrity -- Bob Dylan and John Lennon and Neil Young and so forth, the candy-like silliness of disco somehow angered them. I mean, there's a Husker Du song called "New Day Rising" the entire lyrics of which are just "New day rising." repeated over and over like Fly Robin Fly, except it's an emotional masterpiece because Bob Mould was a serious dude.

I don't think it was a racial thing b/c I knew too many white teen musicians/rockers who were into Bob Marley and George Clinton and Sly Stone because they were Serious and Political. (From a Lou Reed live show at the time: "People come up to me and ask me, Lou, are you political? I say, Am I political about WHAT?!") I think the hatred of disco was an anti-shallowness thing, an affront to their sense of Integrity, Man. Aware kids in 1977 thought The Clash were Saying Something, Man -- and that KC and the Sunshine Band were not.

Plus, white kids in those days mostly learned music through chords and scales, progressions, solos, verse/chorus/verse, key changes, introspective lyrics. Black kids learned more about rhythm and interplay of beats, and saw that as a serious thing in its own right, whereas the white kids thought, "??? All they're doing is saying Won't you take me to Funky Town. It's STUPID!" I remember when Talking Heads first put out their masterpiece Remain in Light, and it was one of the only rock records that got reviewed by black critics; one of them said, Finally! Some egghead white musicians who are willing to admit that polyrhythms can be taken seriously!

Anonymous WaterBoy July 11, 2014 4:16 PM  

James Dixon: "Nope. They started as a rock band, not country."

OK, I'll accept that. Pop/rock, actually, but you are correct that they did not switch to country until after their disco hit.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 11, 2014 4:25 PM  

scoobius doobious: "Aware kids in 1977 thought The Clash were Saying Something, Man -- and that KC and the Sunshine Band were not."

Ironic, then, that some critics also consider The Clash's The Magnificent Seven as disco (in particular, the 12" dance remix called The Magnificent Dance).

Anonymous bob k. mando July 11, 2014 5:13 PM  

James Dixon July 11, 2014 3:32 PM
You do know that them there's fightin' words, don't you?



you do know that you need to recalibrate your humor detector, don't you?

for crying out loud, *i'm the NASCAR guy* on the board.

and besides, C/W wasn't as pure as you'd like to think it was. we've already got Dolly fricking Parton and Eddie Rabbitt ... and we haven't even really gone looking.

Anonymous pseudotsuga July 11, 2014 5:39 PM  

Scoobius: "And that I think is the key to white 70s kids hating disco: they'd been raised on this diet of serious stuff full of integrity -- Bob Dylan and John Lennon and Neil Young and so forth,"
Scoobius, I would change that from "integrity" to "pretentiousness." It's the same way in Pink SF&F--what they read as "integrity" is actually pretentiousness, which turns off their audience. This, of course, activates the automatic victim circuit in their heads ("why can't the unwashed Baen bourgeoise see that what I write is SO IMPORTANT??!! I'm speaking truth to power about victim! My pages drip with integrity and social justice!!).
Pinkauthors figure that sales are down because cismale hegemony (or because Correia gamed the system somehow) rather than the people are pointing at the emperor who is wearing a clown suit.

Blogger Worlds Edge July 11, 2014 5:44 PM  

Fran July 11, 2014 11:39 AM

I never knew KISS went disco.


Yup. I was one disgusted 8th grader, back in the day. Massively dating myself, but such is life...


This one: Definitely.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7isxoTIeYM&feature=kp


This one: Maybe. Plus, it was Ace Frehley solo, though the LP had the KISS logo on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKdHy18rZcI

Anonymous roger u July 11, 2014 5:59 PM  

I have always thought disco had a dark and depressing sound, it actually makes me uncomfortable to listen to it. I have never understood how it was party music.

Blogger Worlds Edge July 11, 2014 6:36 PM  

It's the same way in Pink SF&F--what they read as "integrity" is actually pretentiousness, which turns off their audience. This, of course, activates the automatic victim circuit in their heads ("why can't the unwashed Baen bourgeoise see that what I write is SO IMPORTANT??!! I'm speaking truth to power about victim! My pages drip with integrity and social justice!!).

Very well said, sir. I dunno why more of them can't at least attempt to be like China Mieville, who is as lefty as they come, but also has the sense to dial down his messagefic to the point where it doesn't interfere with the story. (Though I can't think of any writer in the Pink Brigade­­ who has the potential to be anywhere near as good a writer as he is, in all honesty.)

Pinkauthors figure that sales are down because cismale hegemony (or because Correia gamed the system somehow) rather than the people are pointing at the emperor who is wearing a clown suit.

Have Pink SFF authors ever sold particularly well? I guess that depends how the term is defined, but I can say I've never heard of any of the bloggers/authors attacking the Hatey McHater Hugo slate. (This presumes Scalzi isn't attacking the slate? Perhaps he is, but I've not seen it.)

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2014 7:34 PM  

"I would change that from "integrity" to "pretentiousness." It's the same way in Pink SF&F--what they read as "integrity" is actually pretentiousness"

Nah, I wouldn't say that's true at all. Dylan, Lennon and Neil are all well known for their puckish sense of humor. Lennon famously wrote "I Am the Walrus" because he'd heard that pretentious teachers in his old home town were teaching his lyrics as if they were real poetry, so he sat down and wrote the most impenetrable obscure gobbledegook he could think of, just to mess with their heads. If you think Dylan was pretentious, listen to his hilarious "I Shall Be Free #10" or "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream". Neil Young once fronted a band called Neil and the Shocking Pinks. None of it's pretentious, it's witty, skillful and sincere. Not everyone who demonstrates seriousness of purpose is pretentious.

What goes on with the Pinksters is that they have a bitter, angry worldview which is shockingly at odds with the actual facts as we observe them on planet earth. They want everything to be some other way than the way it really is, they've been taught all their lives that it SHOULD be this unrealistic way, that they deserve this, and they've never had the guts to question their beliefs. Pink SFF reinforces their world view without troubling their pointed little heads; it's intellectual comfort food, an intellectual version of a 50-year-old single woman consoling herself alone on Saturday night with a bucket of strawberry ice cream: men don't ignore her because she unfeminine and overweight and past breeding age, they ignore her because she's too smart and challenging for them.

Disco was never so cynical, ignorant or self-deluded. It was just people making a sort of musical cotton candy, making heaps of money off it, getting laid a lot, and doing a LOT of drugs. In the 70s, we were told that was the good life.

Anonymous bob k. mando July 11, 2014 7:46 PM  

scoobius dubious July 11, 2014 7:34 PM
Neil Young once fronted a band called Neil and the Shocking Pinks. None of it's pretentious, it's witty, skillful and sincere.



this? this is pretentious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSSvzCNBvlQ

Anonymous kh123 July 11, 2014 8:07 PM  

Pretension = Fugazi. Monk rock as some have described their persona and stage presence; though to be fair to monks, they could hit and hold a note.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2014 8:19 PM  

That isn't pretentious, it's a parody of commercials, esp beer commercials. ("This Bud's for you" was a Budweiser ad slogan for a while. It's _supposed_ to look tacky and pretentious and excruciating. As satire, not really all that funny, I gotta admit, but Neil likes to mess with people's heads, his career wasn't huge at the time, so he deserves some credit for sticking his ass out at large corporations in spite of himself. Come on -- setting a Michael Jackson lookalike on fire? Back in like the 80s? That took cojones.

"Last Year at Marienbad" is pretentious. Neil is an eccentric, talented kook who can play guitar. Know your wildlife.

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 9:24 PM  

> Pop/rock, actually,

Correct.

> ...you do know that you need to recalibrate your humor detector, don't you?

Probably, Bob, but so do you. That was supposed to be my best Bugs Bunny imitation. I thought the source was so obvious I didn't bother with a smiley face.

Only the section about anyone thinking Skynyrd was limited to Freebird was uninformed was serious, and that because I don't want anyone taking it seriously.

> ....we've already got Dolly fricking Parton and Eddie Rabbitt ... and we haven't even really gone looking.

I agree the field has degenerated. I'm from the Cash (who was also originally pop/rock), Waylon, etc. days, slightly after the Hank Williams. Sr. era. I have serious trouble finding anything on the current country stations I consider anything other than pop.

> Neil is an eccentric, talented kook who can play guitar. Know your wildlife.

One person's eccentric, talented kook is another man's pretentious twit, Scoob. I can see aspects of both in Neil.

Anonymous bob k. mando July 11, 2014 9:29 PM  

scoobius dubious July 11, 2014 8:19 PM
That isn't pretentious, it's a parody of commercials, esp beer commercials.


[ slow clap ]

he gets it in one, ladies and gents.



James Dixon July 11, 2014 9:24 PM
Probably, Bob, but so do you



fair enough.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2014 10:15 PM  

"One person's eccentric, talented kook is another man's pretentious twit"

Only inter pares, my friend. Make you a deal. You write something as good as "Like a Hurricane" or "Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown", then you can call him whatever naughty names you like. Meantime, you know what they say... if you're at a Neil Young concert and you can't spot the pretentious twit --- it's you.

Anonymous Joe Author July 11, 2014 10:18 PM  

"It's the same way in Pink SF&F--what they read as "integrity" is actually pretentiousness, which turns off their audience."

First, the "Pink Sci-Fi" genre is an illusion, made up, doesn't exist. Second, "Pink Sci-Fi" authors are just as "pretentious" as "Blue Sci-Fi" authors. Third, "Pink Sci-Fi" authors not turning off their audience, they are catering to their wishes.

Readers are going to read. Writers are going to write. Publishers are going to publish. While there exist objective standards of what constitutes "good writing", this criteria ends up being denigrated into subjectivity based on one's confirmation bias. Prefer to read "Blue Sci-Fi". GREAT. Prefer to read "Pink Sci-Fi". GREAT.

In the end, it's literature.


"Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk. It's still rock and roll to me."

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 10:42 PM  

> Make you a deal. You write something as good as "Like a Hurricane" or "Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown",

I'm not a songwriter, Scoob. Can Neil fix your Windows computer when it gets infected by viruses and spyware? Can he set up an email/Squirrelmail/file server on your local lan?

> ...if you're at a Neil Young concert and you can't spot the pretentious twit --- it's you.

Well, I've never been to a Neil Young concert and have no plans to ever be at one, so it can't be me. :)

Anonymous Get A Room, James And Scoobs July 11, 2014 11:10 PM  

"Well, I've never been to a Neil Young concert and have no plans to ever be at one, so it can't be me. :)"

You wouldn't know a songsmith if it bit you in the proverbial arse.


"if you're at a Neil Young concert and you can't spot the pretentious twit..."

If there is anyone who is kitschy, it's you, with your combination of 1800's dogmatism mixed in with your own pathological peculiarities. No, it's not a compliment.

Blogger James Dixon July 11, 2014 11:48 PM  

> You wouldn't know a songsmith if it bit you in the proverbial arse.

Debatable. Fortunately, it's unlikely I'll ever have to find out.

Anonymous Rolf July 12, 2014 1:26 AM  

Joe A- "Pink SF" is the descriptive given to the common product of most of the major publishing house authors (except Baen) that is pro [list of left-wing positions], themes which really grate on a lot of would-be sci-fi readers because they are more politically conservative in their outlook. Reading about gay vampire robots raping corrupt pedophiles priests just doesn't float many conservative boats, as it were. But a pro-faith, pro-family, pro-business sort of story will likely be rejected by the major publishers, even if it's a good story, because the editors are "pink" (pinkos, commie-lite) in their outlook.

At least, that's the basic thesis of Vox & co, which seems to be supported by the preponderance of evidence.

Anonymous Jack Amok July 12, 2014 1:49 AM  

Well, I've never been to a Neil Young concert and have no plans to ever be at one, so it can't be me. :)

Me either. I can tolerate a lot of music, but most neil young songs get me to change the channel when they come on. And I was a DJ a long time ago - had to play whatever crap was on the music director's play list, so I can stomach some pretty bad stuff.

Last year, I was on a road trip and listening to the satellite radio. They were playing an audio book recording of Young's recent book Waging Heavy Peace. I'd call it trite, but that would be an insult to trite books. Pretentious? He described a trip to Costco and how impressed he was with the produce section. Why in the name of Pete would he think anyone would care what he thought about the produce section at Costco? But pretty much the whole book was like that - stream of consciousness about his rather boring day to day life. I suspect he's done some things that might actually be interesting, but he thinks people want to hear about how Neil Young buys vegetables.

Anonymous IRL July 12, 2014 3:18 AM  

@ Joe Author

So there are no gatekeepers with lockstep political agendas running the mainstream publishing houses? Traditional publishing is a pure meritocracy where the cream rises to the top - good to know. When I've got enough fairy gold together I want to fly my magic carpet to your world, sounds cool.

Anonymous VD July 12, 2014 4:58 AM  

First, the "Pink Sci-Fi" genre is an illusion, made up, doesn't exist. Second, "Pink Sci-Fi" authors are just as "pretentious" as "Blue Sci-Fi" authors. Third, "Pink Sci-Fi" authors not turning off their audience, they are catering to their wishes.

You're wrong. First, it observably exists and the term was coined to describe it. Second, Pink SFF authors are considerably more pretentious; several of them even claim that all writers to the right of them are bad, third-rate writers. Third, this is obviously false considering the sales figures.

"Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk. It's still rock and roll to me."

You're quoting Billy Joel? You are a seriously outdated loser. Techno is not rock and roll. Rap is not rock and roll. Trance is not rock and roll. Ambient is not rock and roll. And dino-porn and wereseal fiction and necrobestial romance are not science fiction.

Anonymous Barko Ramius July 12, 2014 5:41 AM  

Say what you will about Neil Young, but "Powderfinger" is still my personal anthem. Would love to see someone, anyone, break down the lyrics and explain that tune.

Anonymous Joe Author July 12, 2014 8:50 AM  

Rolf--"Pink SF" is the descriptive given to the common product of most of the major publishing house authors (except Baen) that is pro [list of left-wing positions], themes which really grate on a lot of would-be sci-fi readers because they are more politically conservative in their outlook.

Exactly, a TERM derived by one group of authors, using their own arbitrary standards, to describe the work of another group of authors.

Now, if you want to buy into the illusion that "Pink Sci-Fi" and "Blue Sci-Fi" as genres exist, you are more than welcome to embrace it.
 There is no need to argue this point further.



VD--“Pink SFF authors are considerably more pretentious”.


That would be a matter of opinion from the camp of “Blue Sci-Fi” authors; similarly, "Pink Sci-Fi" writers would opine differently.




Songs such as “Imagine”, or “Thunder Road”, or “Space Oddity” have been inevitably been scoffed at by rock “purists”, yet these artists strove to fulfill their creative ambitions, which inevitably resulted in experimentation in sounds and concepts that expanded the original definition of “rock and roll”.

The larger point Joel, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999, makes in that song is concrete and timeless--he is pointedly mocking the detractors of the “gatekeepers” in the music industry who insist that rock and roll has a certain “sound” and “appearance”.

Ironic, is it not?


Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk. It's still rock and roll to me.

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2014 9:48 AM  

> Ironic, is it not?

Given that it's Billy Joel singing it? Yes. But that's not the point you're trying to make.

Anonymous A Plate of Shrimp July 12, 2014 11:01 AM  

RIP Tommy Ramone. He not only played drums on the early Ramones records, he co-produced their early records and sort of helped mastermind the band in a backstage sort of way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6siGKxcKol0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyEEdcow2vE



Blogger Worlds Edge July 12, 2014 1:18 PM  

Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk. It's still rock and roll to me.

Ah, thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite song parodies of all time...

Just a handclap, finger snap, Even if it's mindless pap, It's still Billy Joel to me

Blogger Whiskey July 12, 2014 1:37 PM  

Disco originally took a lot of money to make. Barry White and Live Unlimited Orchestra Loves Theme ... all those strings. Black RB musicians were looking for a more lush sound. Hence Dusco, very Black, Motown RB oriented.

And expensive. All those strings. So artists and record companies went cheap. Drum machines without the subltevimperfections and time adjustment a human drummer maes to drive a sing home. Cheap keyboards instead of a string and horn section.

So the sound went from lush and romantic to cheap and stale and thin and machine like.

And it sucked. Meanwhile Zep and Foriegner and Starship and 38 Special and ELO and even ultra gay Elton John had a richer, harder, tougher, more complex, organic, and less boring song.

Check out Hot Blooded by Foreigner, vs say Love to Love You Baby by Donna Summer. Or Jaimes Crying by Van Halen. The chord progressions, the rythm changes, the complexity of the melodies. You tell me which is more musically evicative and emotionally moving and which is boring orgy background music for a porn shoot?

Disco sucked because to be good, that is to say a lush and moving sound, it ciost money. So it was made cheap with no artistry.

And Elton John was a giant Liberace sized fruitbowl who fooled no one but was as popular as flamboyantly gay Freddie Mercury bc both were rock with complex, emotionally mvung music nit background noise for a sex scene.

Anonymous Joe Author July 12, 2014 2:18 PM  

"You tell me which is more musically evicative and emotionally moving and which is boring orgy background music for a porn shoot?"

To each their own, that is the point. Music, as an art form, is subject to a wide range of interpretations. It is a simple matter of preference, something that James Dixon cannot even grasp.

The larger point Joel, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999, makes in that song is concrete and timeless--he is pointedly mocking the detractors of the “gatekeepers” in the music industry who insist that rock and roll has a certain “sound” and “appearance”.

Ironic, is it not?


Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk. It's still rock and roll to me.

Blogger James Dixon July 12, 2014 3:16 PM  

> ...something that James Dixon cannot even grasp.

Well, I guess my point went completely over some people's heads. Nothing new about that though.

Scoob at least understood it, even if he disagrees.

Anonymous VD July 13, 2014 5:50 AM  

VD--“Pink SFF authors are considerably more pretentious”.


That would be a matter of opinion from the camp of “Blue Sci-Fi” authors; similarly, "Pink Sci-Fi" writers would opine differently.


No, they would not claim that we are more pretentious than they are because they observably do not do so. They make entirely different claims about us, mostly related to our being stupid, evil, and inferior writers. Any neutral third party can see that the Pink SF/F authors are the pretentious ones, as some of them openly claim to be objectively better writers producing superior literary works by virtue of their political affiliation.

The fact that I am biased may reasonably cause one to seek to substantiate my statement, but it does not intrinsically refute the accuracy of the statement.

Anonymous The other skeptic July 13, 2014 10:45 AM  

Shouldn't that be the Extraordinary League Of Evil?

Anonymous Joe Author July 13, 2014 9:14 PM  

“No, they would not claim that we are more pretentious than they are because they observably do not do so.”


One can reasonably and consistently infer from “Pink Sci-Fi” statements that “Blue Sci-Fi” authors appear “bigger than what they think they are” (and vice versa). From the annoying little shit himself (you are 3 SD’s above the norm, you can figure it out who I am referring to)...

"I think maybe this is why I’m less annoyed with the Correia/Day slate than others. If they’re on the ballot due to crafty strategy, well, good for them. A nice trick if you can manage it. But now they have to COMPETE. I look who’s on the ballot with them, and this is what I have to say about that: Good luck, guys. You’re gonna need it."


“Any neutral third party can see that the Pink SF/F authors are the pretentious ones.”


Sure, SOME lacking any significant dog in the fight would clearly characterize “Pink SF/F” writers as “pretentious” using their own standards what that term means to them; similarly, others would definitively label “Blue SF/F” as the ones who fit that criteria. “Any...can see” does NOT equate to “all”. As a “neutral third party”, both sides are equal to the task of being demonstrably ostentatious.


“...but it does not intrinsically refute the accuracy of the statement.”


Assuming the facts put into evidence are not laden with confirmation bias. When a group of people openly operate by the metric: "Pink Sci-Fi/Blue Sci-Fi is evil", that automatically calls into question anything and everything they publicly claim.


Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk. It's still rock and roll to me.

Anonymous zippy the zep hed July 14, 2014 5:57 AM  

"Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk."

Heh heh. Billy Joel thought that "punk" was "cool". Wonder what Miles woulda said bout dat.

Blogger Akulkis July 17, 2014 5:04 PM  

I think rap can best be described as urban poetry set to a rather limited musical frame.


It's really all just variations on Eddie Murphy's Kill My Landlord but without the talent or willingness to admit that it's all ridiculous.

Anonymous Anonymous June 11, 2015 11:18 AM  

What ever happened to Steve Dahl's version of "it's still billy joel to me"?

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts