July 20, 2005



Joshua comes through with the red pen, and he's absolutely right this time:

"As you will surely know long before I say it, the concept "disposability" is disastrous indeed, if it comes prepackaged with valuative payload, aesthetically or worse, morally. That's at the core of the first EMP paper, as I recall: that when durability is taken as a positive value in pop music, that's one of the veiled enforcements of a certain set of class values. I drive a Rolls, you drive a Hyundai, punk.

And I certainly agree, as ever, that anything where the pleasure is in knowing what happens loses appeal faster than where the pleasure is located elsewhere.

But the promise that "disposability" can't somehow be recognized and thought about seems not quite right to me. To believe such a thing requires the very move you make: the suggestion that disposability is purely related to consumer experience. Whah? If I decide to save my plastic coke bottle and use it to water my plants for three years, I totally can—but this doesn't suddenly make plastic coke bottles something else. The bottle is still "disposable," in the sense that it's produced and distributed within a system that presumes its disposability, and continues to make and distribute with that presumption, and this making and distributing continues to have manifold effects on price structures, labor structures, on how the bottle looks and how it acts, etc.

This is true of pop music too. The way it's made presumes a certain duration of "use" by the consumer, and that remains a force shaping the music. Again, it's not a value issue—to assume this set of forces makes lesser music is the Adornian error exactly. But there's a way to get past that error without acceding to a set of critical terms which measure only the anecdotal subjective accounts of individual consumers...a strategy which leads to the absolute end of criticism.

"Who are you too say it's sexist? That's a useless metric, because I didn't feel it was sexist..."

Posted by Sasha at July 20, 2005 08:40 AM | TrackBack