Frankly I do not know why I have taken so long to realize that to continue this blog as a musical critique would have been the death of it. Woebot is having quite a laugh with Paul Morley's piece in the Observer on Sunday, but is Morley not right? So many bloggers come totally unprepared, without the merest hint of any maturity into the world of online journalism that they vent one inanity after another into the blogosphere." As long as it's new, as long as it flashes in 40 million different colours", as Johnny puts it in Naked. The birth and death of the same thing are proclaimed in a few weeks time. Yeah, I guess you could call that the end of history.
I too was at first totally fascinated by all those people in the blogosphere who toss around references to Deleuze, Lacan, Barthes, Derrida and whoever is the (wo)man of the day. It is why I decided sometime last year to finally start reading all those referenced authors and philosophers, so that at least I would be able to understand the difference between a K-punk and his many imitators.
More importantly, of course, it was to find out where I really stood amid all those different points of view. I have not really made a definite choice yet, I even suppose I never will. I could never fully adopt a Lacanian take (as Dejan does), because history has taught me that there are many different truths (cfr. Dejan and Zizek) and that it is best not to take a fixed point of view.
This could be perceived as ideological cowardness, but, frankly, are we not way past that? Most contemporary thinkers - sometimes I think everyone after Heidegger - just deal in hermeneutics and refuse to offer a fixed point of view. Rightly so? I am in doubt.
One side of the story tells me that by focusing solely on hermeneutics and declaring the end of all great stories and concepts thinkers have opened up a Box of Pandora of intellectual nonsense that gets employed by the intellectually less gifted (by that I do not mean people with a low IQ or such stuff, but writers who have not taken the time to consider which tools they should use and, even more importantly, have not taken the time to absorb the lessons these tools offer them) to show how clever they are by mentioning such or such 'big name'.
The other part shows that almost no-one any longer dares to do anything other than hermeneutics, i.e. just offering tools and methodology to analyse post-modern problems.
This mere hermeneutic approach, I suspect, will only bring up more post-modern problems, a sort of post-to-the-power-x-modernism, while all the while the question should be how we are going to escape from post-modernism into something new that is truly worthwhile.
The link between this hermeneutics-for-philosophy and the sorry state of blogging may be a thin one, but I think there are at least some parallels. Because in the blogosphere everyone can at least pretend that he is a specialist in his given field. You only have to look at the by now very old and very sad mentionings of "the eighties" in relation to today's musical scene.
It is a bit of a shame that James Murphy does not really live up to his own point by blatantly ripping the 80ies himself, but he sure had a point with his "borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties". Damn! With The Klaxons we even have our first case of unremembered nostalgia for the unremembered nineties. At the present rate of dilution of thought next year we will surely experience the first symptoms of borrowed nostalgia for the remembered noneties.
It is why I felt a bit uneasy at the lengthy column of text dedicated to new rave (which as a "style" is completely devoid of any meaning) by the always so sharp Philip Sherburne. K-punk dismissed the phenomenon and its presumed attributes in a short post and very rightly so. It is a sorry state of affairs when journalists and writers have to dedicate a piece to utter nothingness, just because their editor wants his magazine to be in tow to the latest fad on Myspace or other extended nitwitworks.
I will never forget the mail I got from my editor at the end of 2006 in which he stated that our predictive article on the next big musical things in 2007 might as well contain absolute off-the-map bullshit, because no-one would remember it at the end of the same year. He was right of course, but does that make me feel good? I mean, how much difference is there between such a text and one that is puked out by the infamous post-modern lingo generator that someone put on the net a few years ago?
All these analyses are nonetheless offered up as inventive, original and learned news items, the newer and the less thought-over the better. And, of course, real journalism has been infected by this development along the way. If then someone, like Morley, admittedly someone from the old school, dares attempt to bring the phenomenon back to its real dimensions, i.e. as a mere avalanche of shit clogging up your brains, eyes and ears, he is all too readily dismissed as an old fart. Instead such remarks should lead to a deserved mea culpa and some reflection.
Nonetheless, since I have a positive attitude and am - hopefully for some time longer - still hopeful, I expect that one day out of this sea of muck may arise a blogosphere that truly lives up to its promises, a sort of direct democracy that is really worthy of its name. So we have a K-punk, we have a Cultural Parody Center, we have a Steven Shaviro, but it is not nearly enough to posit a true renaissance of thought. Time to get our hands and minds dirty.