Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Sheer frustration..

Of all the things that have really incensed me today, of which, I may add, there have been many, the one that really left me writhing was a casual conversation that I adopted with someone about music and identity and someone else jumped in on only to claim not to think or realise that such a connection exists.

-- indicates interruption.

"...and it was mentioned about musical taste being a pretty good indicator of political persuasion--"

"What? How is that?"

"Well, a lot of the time you can pretty much guess a person's habits, likes and dislikes, lifestyle choices, dress sense by what sort of music they like."

"I don't see how it would effect it at all."

We are all a product of the society in which we are brought up in. Culture, tradition, family, education, politics, etc, all have a part to play in shaping the person in which we become. These things are not stagnant either, they are constantly changing, morphing, progressing. Epochs of history which come before influence everything that we currently experience now. Structures within society that even if we are not aware of still can influence our lives, for example, the agenda-setting that takes place in both politics and the media gives rise to us only knowing about issues or stories that they want us to know about. Society is so incredibly vast that to assume that because you are not aware of something must mean it doesn't exist or isn't true is just a naive fallacy for the ignorant.

I decided to use an ancedotal example, taking as my basis, probably, a typcial Thursday night in Isaac Wilson's pub in Middlesbrough and over exagerrate some of the descriptions to make a point, obviously it'd be more subtle.

"If I go on a night out and we go to the pub before going to a club me and my friends can look at the other people in there and just by what they are wearing tell which music genre night they are going to will be.. Skinny fit jeans, tight t-shirts, black and white pashmina's, big scruffy hair will be heading to the indie night. Dyed black hair, black band t-shirts, over-sized loose jeans, big DC trainers will be heading to the metal night. Tanned, short-skirted [female], white shirted [male], straightened hair, very groomed, Hollyoaks-esque will be heading to the mainstream pop/r'n'b/indie night. Its all dead obvious."

In conversation obviously a description doesn't have to be so air-tight as in writing, but you can see the connection being made, if somewhat, crudely. Yet apparently as an empathetic ability was severely lacking in the person being conversed with, this seemed much harder to achieve.

"But I like Christina Aguilera but it doesn't mean that I dress like her."


For fuck sake.

"No, of course you don't! But certain elements, ideas, ways of behaving filter down--"

"I once saw this really nice -insert desinger here- dress, but it cost £110, and obviously I couldn't afford it, but I really liked it. Then I saw a picture of Myleene Klass wearing it. I couldn't have copied her, because I saw it first!"

"No, obviously. I'm not saying that people copy the exact style but certain elements of things penetrate into people's lives, whether they are conscious of it or not--"

"Well, you are more interested in music so I guess you would think that."

What!? Argh! Just a complete lack of sociological imagination, an absolute inability to step out of her own value-judgements and see things objectively.

I was making a point that she completely miscontrued and there just seemed to be no way that she was going to be able to cut-loose from her own experiences to be value-free.

I was enraged.

To be fair, she was interrogated about her way of viewing the world in the seminar and made to look a little silly for misconstruing yet another point. So I felt slightly vindicated.

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