Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, August 15, 2005


The problem with auteurism is that it discounts aural evidence in favor of process; the question becomes, “How was the record made?”, not, “How does the record sound?”

The problem with this critique of auteurism is that it assumes that we listen with our ears only, or with our booties when the music calls us to Dance! Dance! But we listen with our imaginations as well. As we listen -- maybe not everyone, but some of us anyway -- we identify with the singer.

“Identify” is a funny word. We imagine ourselves to Be the singer, or we imagine ourselves in the singer’s situation.

Apparently many people don’t want to “identify” with singers who don’t write their own songs. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I can imagine such an approach: the wish to identify with a “creator” who is also a charismatic performer. And when the object of identification is a big rich juicy rock star, even better -- a sort of upside-down Eugene Debs sentiment: “As long as Mick Jagger is rocking and getting laid at will and without consequence, I am too, symbolically.” Rock on!

Indie rock is an auteurist genre, and the identification process is more specialized: people identify with the social alienation, however mild, inherent in the indie pose.

I’m so sartorially clueless that it took me years -- many years -- of going to indie shows before I noticed that I was supposed to untuck my shirt before going out. Now that I’ve noticed, I never forget to do it, just like I wear a nice (tucked-in) shirt and sportcoat to the symphony, and a suit and tie to the opera. (I was mildly surprised to see men at the symphony wearing sportcoats with untucked shirts.)

Untuck the shirts from the pants! Untuck the pants themselves from their waists! (A hip hop look, which I've never tried.)
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