Saturday, September 29, 2007

I Hate Rock and Roll

J.D. Daniels offers "the rambling of an ex-rocker who once erred in believing a lot of half-educated revolutionary horseshit" -- a pedantic repudiation of a type of sensation which offers cheap libertinism without liberation, as it seems to offend Daniels' "Apollonian," Hilton Kramerish tendencies, and leads him to write articles that makes the life of the mind look frighteningly anemic.

He's right about one thing though:

Why has no one mentioned that John Lennon’s “I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one” is a sentiment suitable for chanting at a Nuremberg rally?


Whenever I hear the words "Imagine there's no heaven" I always think of pictures of Dachau and Auschwitz.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Welch,
I can’t find your email address, the lack of which transforms private correspondence into public performance. Re: “anemic.” The vocabulary of dismissal is largely standardized. (See R. Welch’s “Cocteau's anemic Blood of the Poet,” 28 September 2004.) The thing to do in these cases is to consult Slonimsky’s invecticon. “Variations for Orchestra, op. 31, of Arnold Schoenberg. The music is so bloodless, such paper music. How we would have been thrilled by some good old red-blooded, rousing tune ... the music of Schoenberg ... is tortuous, meager-hued music, anemic music.”—Olin Downes in the New York Times, 1929. There are other entries, but the example from Downes is instructive if only because it makes explicit the hint that “anemic” means to deliver: namely, that“red-blooded”-ness, the opposite of ill health, is to be preferred, as in: “He did what no red-blooded man needs lessons in doing. He took his woman in his arms and smothered her upturned, panting lips with kisses.”—“Tarzan of the Apes,” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912. Whew! You red-blooded types can have your white man’s blues—Eric Clapton? really?—if that’s what keeps your hemoglobin hopping. But “libertinism without liberation” is very good. I wish I’d written that.
Yours,
J. D. Daniels

RW said...

I guess the only appropriate response to your kind and interesting letter is: what raises the blood pressure of Mr. J.D. Daniels? Tell me, Ramon Fernandez, for I want to know.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Welch,

A short list might look like this: Mark E. Smith and The Fall, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Django Reinhardt, the Jesus Lizard, the Meters, Johnny Hodges, Motörhead, AC/DC, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Machito and his Afro-Cubans, Bud Powell, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Wire, Lennie Tristano, Mingus, Derek Bailey, Elgar, Bartók, Bruckner, Poulenc, Ravel, in-a-gadda-Stravinsky, Venetian Snares, Sonny Sharrock, Pharoah Sanders, the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Dolphy, Richard Strauss, Coltrane, Miles, Monk, Gene Ammons, Sidney Bechet, Ben Webster, you get the picture. But they don’t all raise my blood pressure, as anyone can see, or hear.

And now for my question: Why should music raise my blood pressure? We should ask this often as she sings. I realize that “what raises the blood pressure” is an idiomatic figurative expression about pleasure and preference, but it expresses an assumption about the nature of pleasure itself. As it happens, when I checked my Itunes for Top 25 Most Played in order to put together an honest answer to your question, the number one track was a spoken version of Dr. Benson’s antihypertension method; that is to say, we may be listening to different musics for very different reasons. There’s them as don’t need much help getting excited—for such listeners, perhaps, the famed soothing of the savage breast, as opposed to the urging of it on to further savagery.

Yours,
J. D. Daniels