One of the most noble things a human being can do to another is to convince their enemy to become their friend. Goes beyond diplomacy really, because that sort of situation usually occurs in too much of a desperate social situation to allow for any huge negotiations. I originally planned to discuss a completely different subject with you in this blog. But a change of venue came via a comment left on one of my earlier blogs. There have been a number of comments on much of what I’ve written here thankfully. And even if I don’t agree with every thing that’s said, its always well rounded and constructive. Most people that I know would like to think that they have metaphorically bulletproof hearts when it comes to taking hostile opinions. And of course it would have to be said I am no exception to that either. One knows there’s certainly been plenty emotional field training for me on that sociological battlefield. Still I almost cried with a strange mixture of disappointment and anguish when I read the following comment on something I’d written:
Soundgarden’s new stuff rules and they sell out everywhere they go. Cobain has as many teen disciples as he did ten years ago. Alice In Chains new stuff with the new Second singer/Guitarist is awesome and they are packing halls…not just old timers either. Nobody goes to see Lou Bega. A lot of us 90′s punks loved Bubblegum. Its how I stumbled on this bad article. There is a whole subset of pop punk that’s Bubblegum based…The Queers…ever heard of ‘em??? Beatnik Termites. Zeitgeist and fads are for fagwads…to borrow a phrase.
Now everyone who writes about any type of art on the internet these days is likely aware of the overflow of opinions that the information super highway is a series of intertwining freeways clogged with a constant stream of conflicting points of view. If it were embodied in physical form,it would probably be a gigantic Colosseum filled with many violent arguments among those within it. Still there are ways to present ones views in such an environment. I’ve made it clear where I stand on the early 1990’s culture more times than I’d care to mention again. Even so any commentary I made on that was focused entirely on the CULTURE, and not the participants IN that culture. Personalizing ones viewpoints on a given topic takes them suddenly from critical assessment to flat out ridicule. And one thing that too many people fail to remember in their responses to each other is the enormous difference between criticism and ridicule. It can even be the difference between two or three carefully chosen words. But once will no the intent regardless.
And perhaps I’ve even said this before but it bares repeating. When I express my points of view on music,some people will tell me “1992 is over! What are you talking about?Kurt Cobain is dead,1992 is over”. Comments like these have helped me to realize one crucial thing-that 1992 is definitely not over. The year on the calender is. But being one all encompassing word that describes a certain social attitude? “1992” is definitely still with many Americans. Answering someones basic question with a completely sarcastic response is “1992”,and it is now a mainstream way of talking between people. Musicians who express a lot of joy and imagination are still essentially being bullied out of the mainstream success they deserve by artists primarily looking only to make noise and express rage. The unfairness and social chilliness of that era is sadly still effecting us all in different ways. Its even affected the way I talk to people. And I know its something I shouldn’t be doing because its so much about the cat calling the kettle black. Its just next to impossible to avoid…”1992″ as a conceptual attitude even today.
So how can a person who is inherently good hearted avoid becoming as cold and sarcastic as their detractors? Especially when such negativism are part of everyday conversations? On a musical level,and perhaps in many other areas of life itself,the best method for achieving this would be what I call aggressive positivity. That does not mean living in a world of denial or emotional frosting. But it means smiling as hard and genuine as you frown. It means laughing as loud and long as you cry. It means showing a full level of human emotional expression, and not being overly concerned about sophomoric concerns such as “coolness” or “credibility”. Be passionate about your opinions on music that you really love. Don’t just echo the opinion of somehow you actually disagree with just because they’re presumably higher up on the social ladder. Have your own views on music,whether it be a yay or nay and continue to stick with the habit. And others may change their tune around you and realize the importance of singing their own songs.