Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Praise of Contrarians

I was looking for something else on Jezebel when I stumbled upon this year-old post: A Safe Place To Admit You Don't Like the Godfather.

I don't like The Godfather. How did I miss this? Reading on I see that The Godfather is not the only sacred cow that gets tipped:

"When you're a teenager, it's de rigueur to be pointlessly contrarian, slaughtering sacred cows and bursting the bubble of people's complacency. You loudly and publicly decry Life is Beautiful or Nine Inch Nails or Magic Realism or whatever feels most outre at the moment. You get over this."

Full disclosure: I am a grown-up contrarian. I hope I'm not a pointless one (there is really no sense in telling someone you hate the Beatles with the fire of a thousand suns), but it seems that all the things that are supposed to be tailor-made (see my Liz Phair post below) hold little interest for me.

I've been around the music blogosphere and various fanboard for probably longer than I'd like to admit. The topic of "pop culture transgressions" comes up a lot, and the results are always the same: someone gets his feelings hurt. (The Jezebel thread was the exception.) To be honest, I find them weirdly fascinating the same way I find people's music libraries fascinating: just when you think you've sussed out someone's "taste," there's Dolly Parton sandwiched between Jay-Z and The Decemberists. Those little idiosyncrasies make you, well, you. So I'm not too mad when you tell me you've always hated the Replacements.

Of course there are legitimate reasons for disliking someone's work. There are number of well-loved band I just can't get into because of their outright misogyny. (Rock dudes misogynistic? No way?) Some days I just don't feel like being sufficiently reverent enough. Here's the thing: in the rock "canon" who gets the accolades? It's okay to question.

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