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Tuesday, September 13, 2005


First off, apologies for the post entitled Imagine.
It was hardly of the high standard that many of you have come to expect from this weblog. ;-)

I have been meaning to run a little experiment here for a bit and yesterday morning I was given the fodder and decided to run with it. I have been thinking a lot lately about what weblogging is and what the point is (hence my post on waste of time earlier). One thing that stands out if you read many of the politics orientated blogs that I read is that the writers take a stance and preach from it; opinions are touted as fact and opponents are ridiculed and patronised - ad hominem seems to be the argument of choice.

I wondered whether I could convincingly do this and how those who read this weblog would respond. Politics would be simple enough to do - I have lots of opinions, but I was unsure whether they would be sufficiently different enough from those who read this to generate a response without (a) getting lots of agreement and (b) looking deliberately false and engineered if I deviated too far from my own opinions.

So I needed something else and the fodder was handed to me on a plate when I heard Imagine on the radio and specifically what Jem said about it. Those who know me know that I don't much like much of John Lennon's solo or post-Beatles work and two pieces in particular stand out to me as horrible: 'Imagine' and 'Happy Christmas(War is over)'. No one can argue with the sentiment of the songs and the reason for my dislike is actually mostly to do with overexposure; you hear a song enough times in your life and you start to detest it, though I think it helps if you didn't rate it that highly to start with.

However the simple fact is that many, many people love these songs and more; many love the Beatles. This gave me two targets to take a swing at. For the record I do believe that the people of Liverpool over-indulge in the memory of the Beatles to their detriment. The simple fact is that they were massive influence on what followed to the present day, even byond musical and into deeper cultural significance; but time moves on and you cannot tie your existence and reason d'etre to a band from 40 years ago.

Music is an emotive subject. It touches us all in different ways and most intriguingly of all it can have massively different effects on different people. To give you an example: I don't like REM, it is hard to place my finger on it but i do tend to respond strongly to the vocal and Michael Stipe always evokes melancholy in me (same is true of Chris Martin - though his voice grates for some reason). Davidon the other hand is a massive REM fan, either that or he loves to torment me by playing them often when I am around. Same music - very different reaction in two different people. Similarly, I quite like Phil Collins yet apparantly most people involved in the music media and radio think he is a tit and his music is a stain on the lyrical highway.

So back to my main point. I decided to write something that I hoped would be inflammatory and see what happened. From this sprang the post below which covers these essential areas:
  1. It uses ad-hominem against the artist ('...drug-addled, narcissist.')
  2. It ridicules those who like the song ('...those fools who...')
  3. It sweepingly presents clear opinion as fact ('...quite frankly shite...')
  4. It appears to give ground to show reasonableness ('...they bashed out some great pop tunes...')
  5. It attempts joviallity ('Oasis, take notes!')
  6. It seems to allow for conflicting opinions without actually giving any weight to them ('If you like it, fine...')
  7. It allows for no argument ('...stop trying to tell me...')
  8. It turns the author of the attack into the injured party ('stop trying to tell me how marvelous...')

Clearly the whole thing is unbalanced, unfair and mean spirited and I am sorry to say that I think it is a fair example of what can be seen in many newspaper columns or weblogs from any number of ideologies. It is quite sad.

By the way, I am not so dim as to be unaware of how patronising this might seem. For that I can only offer my apologies and restate that I wanted to try this. Oh, and pat you on the head and say 'there, there'.

For the record, I don't rate Imagine that highly, but that is purely a matter of personal taste. In addition to this I quite like the latest offering from Oasis. In my view, 'The Importance of Being Idle' is much less 'same old, smae old' as much of their recent work (i.e. anything since Wonderwall - in which case the Mike Flowers version was better :-p). At the very least, it is catchy.

UPDATE 1: David sprang on this very quickly and neatly skewered everything wrong with it. I should have guessed it would be him based upon past conversations. Some of his wording suggests that he realised that I was being deliberately nasty. There has been little response beyond that - though ebird is clearly scathing of my 'opinion' of the Beatles.
I think the general lack of response is quite possibly to do with the vehemence of David's rebuttal.

UPDATE 2: Oops, forgot to change the date and time so this appeared lower down the blog than it should have. This should be corrected now. Also I apologise for tenses in the main body. This was meant to be posted tomorrow but i figured I would do it early since most of my regulars have had a look around already today. I think I have caught all dodgy tenses but forgive me if I missed some.


David said...

I feel so used. :P

Kav said...

yeah but you like it don't you ;-)

It was fantastic attack though. I wasn't too sure that you would go for it since we have had a few music ideology conversations in our time.

It was tempting to play along and attempt to defend the point but I figured that in that direction lay ruin!

Actually I do feel bad about attempting to manipulate people like this in an effort to make a half assed point that most of you already get. Perhaps I should delete the whole day's worth of posts :-p

David said...

What was fun was that I'm not actually as die-hard as I come across in my comment -- I'm somewhere along the line between loving and loathing Imagine -- but always enjoy a bit of devil's advocacy when the opportunity arises. :)

By the way, evolution isn't fact. ;)

Kav said...


Quick, I'll restrain hrun whilst you get away!


I like debate. That is one reason I love Cabal so much. Part of the problem over there recently is that there has been too much agreement or else not enough dissent.

hrun said...

No need, Kav. I re-read some of Dempsky's papers and I am now also solidly in the camp of ID. In fact, since I am currently in the transition to a postdoctoral position, I am contemplating to apply for a research grant and to once and for all prove that Darwin fellow wrong. Seriously, how hard could that be?

hrun said...

Ugh. "Dempsky" should be "Dembski".