Critic vs. Nihilist: Setting the Stage

For reference, re: where the below conversation began. My 2010 year-end musical “wrap-up” for the Boston Phoenix. Review at your leisure; strictly optional.

12:44 PM Dan: You may be confused – I don’t think 1337 5P3@K overlaps with texting so much

12:45 PM me: Meh; it’s all the province of The Kids, to me (which I realize is not accurate, but my giving-a-rat’s-ass circuits can only handle so much these days)



Dan: (no I don’t)

12:46 PM “Vampire Weekend? Fuck off”

me: “Well, at least someone finally said it.”

Dan: “uncredentialed opinion-havers (‘sup, bloggers)”

12:47 PM me: credibility is dying on the vine here people


12:48 PM me: heh heh heh—that’s not my message here.

I’m sticking up for society as a whole & music in particular.

my rat’s ass! my precious rat’s ass!

12:50 PM Dan: I still find your love for “credentials” perplexing

me: internet populism is a mixed blessing, at best, I feel.

12:51 PM I do believe that a filter of some kind still merits preserving

12:53 PM Dan: right, but a filter based on whose standards? Good writing or interesting perspectives are more important to me than whether or not the New Yorker thinks the person is “credentialed”

12:54 PM me: absolutely; but the “good writing and interesting perspectives” wheat don’t automatically stand out in & of themselves, from the vastly disproportionate levels of chaff out there—

12:55 PM Dan: and that’s where the Phoenix comes in?

me: so I’m not saying a source has to be credentialed by the New Yorker for validity—I’m saying that a source that serves as an umbrella for content, with a clearly perceptible mission/philosophy/purpose behind it—

or even just evident competence in the category/subject matter—

12:56 PM is more appealing to me than the idea of sifting through pages of google search results, etc.

I’m not voting to shut anything down—I just wish the internet &/or presences that inhabit it would step up a little—

accountability, accracy, etc.

12:57 PM (um, “accuracy.”)


Dan: So it’s more of a Protestant work ethic kind of thing?

12:58 PM me: could be… I guess, just not letting “quality” &/or “attention to facts” just passively slip by the wayside in favor of “hey! I have a thought! I have a web connection!”

12:59 PM Like, for example—this stuck in my mind enough that I was able to track it down by the use of a word I found to be so inaccurate that it really bugged me:

1:00 PM *quote:* “Let’s take ‘I Don’t Feel’ for starters. It kicks off like an enraged Tina Turner fronting Huey Lewis and The News: “I hear the footsteps drop and I knock on the doooooor!” she cries, in what is honestly the most vulgar opening five seconds of any song I’ve ever heard in my life.”

1:01 PM Fact 1: Those lyrics are not the actual lyrics; clearly the reviewer listened to them only once, or on a crappy system/pair of headphones. But there they are, representing the song/artist/album.

Fact 2: Either this writer does not know what “vulgar” means, or s/he is a puritan who shouldn’t be writing about non-classical music.

1:02 PM Because there is nothing whatsoever “vulgar” about any part of the song being described, from the first five seconds to the rest of it.

1:03 PM So: Who’s in charge here? It’s the double-edged sword; everyone can do it, so everyone does. Everyone wants to be in the spotlight (the byline, the voice); nobody wants to do the boring stuff (the editing, the fact-checking), etc.

1:04 PM Being right/accurate/factual is SOOOO BORING compared to being awesome & having people listen to you. So what’s the web going to look like when facts & other boring stuff start to disappear & wikipedia is more awesome than any stupid old encyclopedia?



just saying.

Dan: perplexing

reviewers, media, and the masses have been wrong and inaccurate about nearly everything since forever

1:05 PM internet is just the new medium.

me: true—but I’m talking about raw numbers going up across the board, in terms of content—

Dan: I remember a Reader’s Digest article I read in 6th grade that purported to contains shocking Black Sabbath lyrics

1:06 PM me: while “credible sources” (newspapers & other outlets with at least an on-paper commitment to truth, accuracy, etc.) disappearing in the landslide.

Dan: They were absolutely factually incorrect, and formed the basis for the commentary that was the remainder of the article

1:07 PM me: Right, exactly—imagine that, times every blogger or web commenter or wikipedia “editor” with an idea or thought

Dan: Similar laments were probably heard when Steve Gutenberg invented the printing press

me: (or an agenda)

Dan: and ultimately, what’s your beef? That the masses will be misled?

1:08 PM fuck them anyway

me: who do you write a “letter to the editor” to, to complain about a wrongly-reported incident or factual error, when there’s no editor?

Dan: you don’t, you send an email to the writer

me: well, yeah—that’s basically it; “history” (as accurately as it can be managed to do so) is worth preserving.

Dan: perception is reality

1:09 PM me: right—the writer—the “uncredentialed” person with no responsibility or obligation to correct anything, as opposed to the representative of an organization with accountability as part of its basis for existence.

1:10 PM I realize that I’m championing a set of corporate entities like newspapers, etc., here—but it’s the concept underlying them that I still feel has merit, however the execution goes down.

Dan: this is my whole point—the credentials and the basis of accountability is meaningless

me: but it shouldn’t be, is my point—


me: just giving up on the idea of preserving facts & accuracy because there’s no reliable precedent (arguably) is…

a big mistake.