Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet the new boss; same as the old boss?; or the problem(s) with binary thinking.

Well not really. as we concluded last time there does seem to be a real shift going on in the music industry. And one can only assume it will affect the way scenes invent and constitute themselves. in a virtual world of MySpace do you still really need a physical locale? of course, at some level you do, but still and all . . .

However, this is also a good time to reassess the way we talk about culture and to get over/past one of my personal bugaboos: either/or binary thinking. Even Williams' famous tri-partite model of culture as emergent, dominant and residual is nothing more really than a 3D bell curve sliced along the y-axis. Factor out the temporal 4th dimension and you've basically another binary opposition UP/down or in /out. Don't get me started on all the subversion and containment nonsense which here rears it's ugly head in early Center research by Hall at others on Resistance Through Rituals and the way it infected the "New Historicism of the late 80s early 90s in my other field.

For example seeing the world in two dimensions or as a reflection of the options provided by two distinct and supposedly opposed choices fails to truly flesh out the complexities of life in its full dimensionality. Now I'm not going to blather on about twelve-fold strings or propose some kind of numeratist GTOC as the 2nd cultures answer to the wholy greil of the GUT. I do not mean to essentialize the study, analysis, discussion, and understanding of popular culture in its many manifestations through varying media for a simple starter cut-off. Rather I seek something like Geertz's notion of Thick Description but wit the caveat that the observer always already affects what he observes yielding moot the notion of Universal Truths & Cycle(s). Sure we must try to mean what we say but we must allow that we often misspeak or at least the linguistically encoded in a lexicon as rich as English's is the probability of noise, misapprehension, indeterminability. The ambiguity which is the true spice of life.

Well I seem to have circled around my topic dropping bunker buster ordnance without making real headway and it's now Friday quittin' time at 3 past 5, so I'll reel in. But we'll come back to these shoals and fish out some conclusions over the weekend. I promised after that only one more topic: the whole idea behind generefication.


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