I Hate This So You Can Tell Who I Am

Today’s blog entry in Deceptive Cadence echos a theme of my Voice Box radio show with Chloe Veltman and the corresponding conversation on Lisa Hirsch’s blog. Specifically, musical taste, both what you love and despise, is often more about self identification, ego, and image than it is about the music at hand. Some of the comments (predictably, this is an NPR blog after all) argue that opera is clearly more worthy since singers dedicate decades of their lives and thousands of dollars to honing their craft. But even that argument buys into it’s own narrative of ‘hard work and dedication’ over the narrative of ‘overcoming a hostile environment through self promotion’ prevalent in rap. (Although I’m veering dangerously close to a cultural relativism war that I’m ill-equipped for.)

I know which I prefer (even though I dislike most opera). But of course I would. And even those who loudly extoll the virtues of both wear their eclecticism on their sleeves. To paraphrase Buckaroo Banzai, No matter what you like, there you are.



Feb 2012

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  1. Arun #

    We were talking about just this on the way to work this morning. I conjectured that it’s a peculiarly American thing to form opinions of people because of their taste in music, and the resulting treatment of said taste as a highly private thing, almost like politics or religion.

    I think it’s an innately tribal emotion, just like rooting for a sports team, or whether you buy American, European or Asian cars. In other words, almost nothing to do with intrinsic “worth” (if that were even quantifiable).

  2. 2

    How could you write this without mentioning your own fantastic marriage of opera and rap? http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2010/04/30/operaplot-madness/ Yo.

    • Brian Rosen #

      Oops. You’re right. That would have been a perfect tie in. I guess it will have to wait for the comments. Oh… wait… 🙂

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