Short Attention Span Theater

Phil Ford

I’m frazzled and burned out and stressed, so this will be a short-attention-span post. First, American Idol:

1. Next week, we’re off to Hollywood. Yay!!!!

2. The “other door” trope? Called it.

3. That guy who called himself “the incredible hulk” and who was the cousin of that other guy who sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and actually sang well? Obviously stoned. And sounded like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants. For once I kind of enjoyed the freak show aspect. He left with a smile on his face, at least, and everybody was in on the joke.

4. I’m hating the fake ginned-up drama — the judges’ badly-acted-out frowny faces of self-doubt, “I think we’ve made a mistake,” the girl called back to re-audition, the redemption . . . I hope they’re not going to keep doing this. I like artifice as much as the next guy — probably more, actually — but  AI is not professional wrestling.

And that’s it for AI. See you in Hollywood, baby!

Elsewhere in the news, there are new entries in my random iPod challenge: Tha Notorious T.R.J. at The Rambler, and the redoubtable Charles Downey at Ionarts. The Rambler’s list is the most fearsomely, forbiddingly hip list I’ve ever seen:  I mean, the guy has Mark Applebaum on his player, fer cry eye. And I had never heard of Frenchbloke, but any DJ who scratches Stockhausen and samples Tom Baker is someone I have to hear. Thanks for the tip, T.R.J. Ionarts’ list is especially interesting for its running commentary on why a classical collection is so badly served by the random play feature.  The “random” is really a trope of expression that seems uniquely a part of American pop culture. I think of this often when students (usually non-music-majors in my courses crosslisted with American Studies) write essays that describe some music event or other as “random.” My student Leanne (a fellow Canuck) once pointed out that this seems like an especially American thing to say. Anyway, “random” is not a trope in the European scene before the late 1960s, and maybe not even then. Even Stockhausen is a little too purposeful to be random in the true American sense. I’m rambling. Anyway, yeah, classical playlists don’t work with “random,” and pop playlists do. Interesting. Hey, Alex Ross, are you gonna take the random iPod challenge?

**UPDATE**: Scraps has posted his list. Ultravox, Mingus, Devo, The DKs’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” a song that was once a footnote in a Barthelme short story — yeah! Dial M has the hippest readers.

Speaking of random, by way of Julian Sanchez comes this post about a bizarre but wonderful situationist street-art . . . . uh, thing.

I still haven’t unveiled my new, self-invented slang term for “awesome.” I will soon, and I promise it will be . . . awesome.

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About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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One Response to Short Attention Span Theater

  1. “fearsomely, forbiddingly hip”
    Shucks – I was dining out on this all weekend, and then this happens…
    http://musicology.typepad.com/dialm/2007/02/against_hipness.html

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