metal -- tiny bit more from the mailbag
phil freeman sez:
"Here's a link to my paper from the 2005 EMP Conference, which relates to part of what Ari Abromowitz was talking about w/r/t hipster metal and how these new fans are seen as not having "earned it" - the paper was called "It's Not Just A T-Shirt."
carl holmes points to some "random 'hipster metal' stuff"
This last one particularly speaks to the T-shirt issue!
Reminds me of one of those blogposts I never got to (one of hundreds), about rock T-shirts and the dilemmas of emblazoning your music preferences on your chest --the jist being that it always seems vaguely undignified somehow, or at least problematic... for what single band could stand in for and represent your music-fan essence, such that you'd want strangers and passers-by to judge you by it ... Can't totally remember what prompted the train of thought, possibly seeing a young boy. .. he looked about 16... wearing a Jaco Pastorious T-shirt., or maybe it was the young guy in a really yukky looking Tago Mago T-shirt.. at any rate, David Stubbs used to have this thing that you should wear T-shirts of bands you only half-liked or thought were a little mediocre (i think the example at that time was Orange Juice circa Texas Fever), the idea being something like semiological disinformation, "jamming the codes" ... that might be one justification for the dilettante approach to T-shirt wearing!
"Ari is onto something: "Metal deals with strength, power, and either the heroic or the foreboding. This is the essence that carries through the most archetypal and influential Metal bands: Sabbath, Priest, Maiden, Metallica, Slayer." Which links in with the survivalist ethos of Techstep & certain strains of hip hop (The Five-Percent Nation, Public Enemy, Buster Rhymes) - even the dread aspects of Dub music. And going back to gender - these are very male concerns. Wanting to be a warrior. Craving the destruction of the world (well, it's one way of getting rid of the acne). Worlds away from relationships & family life. Or even the cosmic mysticism of a Joanna Newsom. Steve Kode9 Goodman is supposed to be writing a book on Sonic Warfare - wonder if there will be any metal in there..."
This, and Ari's talk of heroic archetypes, suddenly make me think--oooer--of Robert Bly, Iron John, the Men's Movement, drumming circles... A secret Junglist/Jungian connection! This unsettling way of suddenly seeing a lot of my favourite musics--playing at soldiers, basically-- was further exacerbated by Matthew's subsequent comment in response, which sounds quite a Bly-like note:
"What I find interesting is that with the professionalisation of soldiering and reduction in conflicts fought on Western soil - very few men in Western societies actually get to be soldiers these days. So there has to be somewhere for guys to play at war - paint-balling, competitive sports, Men's Movement - and music. All this stuff is a psychic version of National Service (which still exists in parts of mainland Europe, Singapore, China & Israel). But most of the music remains at the level of fantasy.
"Of course the US is actually involved in a real war right now..."