Thursday, November 11, 2004

Here's the letter I wrote to the NY Times about the article "The Rap Against Rockism," which appeared in the Oct. 31 A&E section. Go here to read it (registration required).

Kelefa Sanneh's Oct. 31 article "The Rap Against Rockism" was enlightening. It offered the best explanation I've seen for that term, but it also forced me to confront my own rockist tendencies.

However I'd like to know why Sanneh didn't explore one of rockism's biggest contradictions, heavy metal. Here's a genre of music that's created by and appeals to an overwhelmingly white male audience, and it's a genre that usually values technical ability over style. If you're a crappy musician, you're just not going to gain the respect of most metal fans.

Yet aside from a few groups like who take an ironic approach to the music, metal is almost universally derided by music snobs. Those who wouldn't be caught dead at an Yngwie Malmsteen show will gladly bob their heads to The Fucking Champs, who do just as much guitar wanking, only they don't throw their guitars up over their heads while they do it.

As for the argument that metal is sexist, homophobic and sometimes racist, you can make the same accusations against quite a few in rock's legends.

The difference is that metal traditionally appeals to a blue collar audience, so in addition to rockism, there's a healthy dose of classism behind those music snobs' derision.

1 comment:

Parker said...

I betcha this'll post twice: anyway... Sounds to me like you're all buddy-buddy with Chuck Klosterman! Metal chicks. Where's your ferret?

Good letter, keep 'em coming.