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DJPuffyLemon View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: One of my introverted essays
    Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:03
This is an exerpt from one of my essays. This part concerns music:
 
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...for me, music is a strange passion I can not live without. I listen to music whenever I can. I create my own as best as my inexperience with guitar, keyboard, and drums lets me. In a way, the previous topics are related to music.

            My musical awakening did not occur until freshman year of high school. Before then, I did not listen to music in any more than a casual sense. I still remember vividly my first CD. I found it while running during track practice on the sidewalk behind some office buildings. It was a burned mix of Guns N’ Roses. Within a short while I had downloaded and burned all their albums. They were the primary band I listened to for at least three months, maybe the only one aside from Metallica, which my dad introduced me to. My dad also introduced me to a genre called Progressive Rock, which I will always be grateful to him for. He showed me Pink Floyd, Yes, and King Crimson. These bands replaced Guns N’ Roses quickly.

            In every society there are elitist communities. In the musical edition of society, progressive rock and its sub-genres are the elitist community. And in this community, the more obscure the band you listen to is, the more elitist you can afford to be. In a way, the progressive music genre is like a religion, each band being a denomination of that religion. If you meet some random person who likes the same band you do, you immediately feel a connection towards them, approximately the same way you would feel a connection to those who are of the same religion as you are. This of course influenced the way I searched for new music. If a set group of enthusiasts of a certain sub-genre hyped a band, I would look for that band. Some lived up to the hype, others not. One common aspect of most progressive rock fans is that the look down upon other music, especially mainstream pop or rock. It seems as though there is an odd sort of discrimination going on. People are judged by the music they listen to.

            The main reason I listen to music is not to find some way to fit into a small clique, rather it is because I love music. When I listen to good music I am sent on a journey, a new world. It is the perfect way for me to meditate, perform introspection, or just relax. I pursue disassociation from the rest of the world through the noise.

---
 
Notice especially the parts I bold-faced. This is something I've noticed both on the internet and off. Those who listen to prog think themselves better (probably the only genre that has more elitism is classical guitar fans). I've thought the same thing at times. Even just simple thoughts like "mainstream music fans only like that band because their friends do."
 
Point of this topic: Just tell me if you agree.
What discrimination have you seen?
Is music really something to discriminate people with when we have much better things to discriminate with?
Also, do you think that you're better than other people for listening to prog?
Do you think you're better than other prog fans if you listen to more obscure prog bands than they do?
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Valdez View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:09

You obviously feel threatened.  Relax enjoy the music.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:17
To be perfectly honest the most musical disrimination I've ever witnessed is against progressive rock. Note, that there is a general discussions forum on this site where people discuss everything from classical music to Hip Hop with varying levels of enthusiam. That occurs to me, to be quite broadminded and open.

I've never considered myself superior, because I like prog rock. I've always thought of myself as a bit of a nerd and a misfit generally, to be honest, and not in a 'look at me, I'm different' way either.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:38
I agree with most of the stuff you say, but honestly the whole elitist factor applies not only to progressive rock, but pretty much anything. Anyone who spends a great deal of their time learning about a certain topic, whether it be music (of all genres), movies, politics, cars, or whatever, acquires some elitism. Mainly because they feel they know more about the topic than your average joe. People who are really into hip-hop feel the same way about themselves and their genre as people who are really into prog do. They spend their time and their thought on it the same way that we spend our time and thought on prog. Elitism is not subject to only people into progressive rock music, and to think so is just naive.

Movie buffs and film directors spend the majority of their time watching and dissecting movies, do you think they don't feel their opinions matter more than those who aren't movie buffs and film directors? Of course they feel their opinions matter more. Elitism is everywhere, and it's perfectly understandable. The only way not to feel some elitism is to be interested in absolutely nothing. And the best way for everyone to listen to you about everything is to be interested in absolutely everything. I always said that the more you learn the more you can justify your opinion. If we know everything there is to know about prog and nothing about hip-hop or electronica, then what makes our opinion better? How do we know prog is the "supreme genre" if we've never explored other genres enough to understand them?

Learn all you can about everything and in time you will be able to express your opinion, with the proper terminology and experience, not as opinion, but as fact. When that time comes, then by all means you have EARNED the right to be an elitist.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:38
I have absolutely no faith in my opinions or that my taste is anything other than appalling, but because of that, I can withstand any amount of criticism to my favourite bands - I can sometimes agree despite myself, because there's no guarantee I'm into what I'm into because of experience or something else. Consequentially I can be too aggressive in my criticism of other bands whose fans can be very touchy indeed.

If you want a stereotype of prog rock fans, then how's this: a group of people so stigmatised by the idea of the elitist ur-prog listener that they go out of their way to humble themselves and make apologies for "bombast" and "unlistenableness" while they raise classical and jazz music on a pedestal in order to seem grounded.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:48

Originally posted by Fight Club Fight Club wrote:

Elitism is not subject to only people into progressive rock music, and to think so is just naive.
Yes, good point. Its just that I haven't been exposed to any elitism from any other genres, but it makes sense that it would exist.

I think though that there's a line separating  being knowledgable and being elitist. If at any time you act condesending, then you've crossed that line.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 13:58
I once met a guy who referred to Jacques Loussier's jazzed-up interpretations of Bach as "grafitti scrawled on the wall of a gothic cathedral".

So I guess any elitism among prog listeners is still pretty amateurish in comparison.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 14:12
As Matt (Fight Club) stated in his post, I think ALL communities tend to be elitist. In the past I used to be a member of several Italian discussion boards on the work of JRR Tolkien, and I can tell you that elitism was rampant. On one of those boards, newbies were often greeted with a sort of contempt that I found very distasteful - something I've never seen happen here, even with younger or less experienced members.

That said, I think if you have such a perception of prog fans, there must be some reasons for it. In the almost three years I've been a member here, I've noticed that some people have an almost religious devotion to prog - many of the heated debates on controversial additions hinge mainly on the wish on the part of some to keep the site 'pure'. Therefore, anything pop or mainstream can be seen in a negative light, as a sort of 'enemy'.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 14:26
Hm. I both agree and disagree. I'd say that I, as a primarily prog rock listener, tend to dislike the majority of 'mainstream' music I hear but I don't tend to discriminate against it because it's not 'prog' or because it's 'commercial', I just see whether I like it or not, and try to work out why I do or don't like it.

On this site, it seems that some bands/albums/songs (Asia being the big example) get slammed because they're too 'commercial' or 'AOR', or use standard verse-chorus structures and others having the same sort of features (eg. normal-ish song formats on Songs From The Wood or Crisis What Crisis) seem to get away with it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2008 at 23:22
Oh man... why not just dredge up the old "prog-elitism" thread instead? Search function, people. Anyway, look, don't think about it that way. Think about it this way; prog is a mindset toward making music that is based on music as opposed to image or what the music represents, and because of that some listeners tend to get some elitist feelings toward people who listen to music for the wrong reasons, like mainstreamers and hipsters and emos etc. It's also why prog fans like jazz and classical, because it's music solely based on the music, it's timeless, no trends are involved. But the old criticisms of prog fans that came about when punk became the critics' darlings are severely dated anyway as evidenced by a lot of unassuming people on this forum, indeed, even this description comes into play:

Originally posted by laplace laplace wrote:

If you want a stereotype of prog rock fans, then how's this: a group of people so stigmatised by the idea of the elitist ur-prog listener that they go out of their way to humble themselves and make apologies for "bombast" and "unlistenableness" while they raise classical and jazz music on a pedestal in order to seem grounded.

Dead on. A lot of people on this forum at least, these people are way too caught up in criticisms that could never be backed up in the first place. The people who put those criticisms on prog in the first place were critics who couldn't give a damn about the music itself but rather what the music represented, and punks who couldn't play their instruments to save their lives.

At any rate, you've got to relax and enjoy the music like the first guy told you to, because those preconceptions of prog fans being elitist are completely irrelevant now. Time has proven what is timeless and what is purely based on image and trends. So, sure, some "prog" fans will get elitist, but honestly, most don't anymore, and you certainly don't have to. Just listen to music that focuses on the music itself, and not on the image of the music, whether the music is "prog" or not, that's the best way to go.
"It's music, and I like it" - Miles Davis on Sketches of Spain
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2008 at 09:54
Bit worried about this Elitism thingy.Confused
 
Prog is not elitist music.Its simply the crossroads where many musical forms meet and merge.Many people come to prog and stop off,just to reflecting on the various wonderful types of music within it,and how it interacts.Many people like myself will also find it an excellent springboard to sample new forms of music previously alien to them.Its not unusual to find people liking Prog,Jazz,Pop,Classical,or even folk on this site,rubbing shoulders with those that like metal,rap.even punk,just to mention a few.Hug
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2008 at 11:37
Id agree partially with your statement about obscure bands. the more obscure the bands you know or like, the more respect you get from peers or musical acquaintances (and rightly so), although i wouldnt say it gives you the right to be more pretentious. It just helps to show your range of musical knowledge - you become a sort of "wise man" of music. Rare music or more underground music takes effort to get to know, it takes time - particularly if you already have a large collection of music that ranges from the more popular side of things to those underground unheard-of's. Just look at the site and you'll see that the people who get the most respect are the people who are knowledgeable enough and fluent enough in a particular genre to recommend bands that are less popular. its deserved and in some respects, i would say they have a right to be a little pretentious. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2008 at 18:33
Compared to my indie friends: "they got sighned, what sell outs, lets burn their record" and metal-head friends: "that band is not F***in METAL, its not even HEAVY those mother fu**ers should listen to some Mayhem and see if they don't fu**n die" yup, its evrywhere bud, just deal with it.
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2008 at 17:51
I don't agree with Lemon's essay excerpt. It is my opinion that he is largely over analyzing the genre of progressive rock and mistaking passion with elitism. With any discipline, hobby, etc, its passionate participants (i.e. the "fans") will favor the said discipline. But to equate this with elitism is a mistake.

The fact that may prog rock fans "look down upon" popular music is not unique to progressive rock culture. Pop culture, by definition, is simple and easy to dismiss by various other forms of culture.

I had the pleasure of speaking personally with Robert Fripp two weeks ago and he made a wise observation about the differences between mass culture and popular culture. I digress, but the rejection of an aspect of pop culture (in this case, music) is in no way elitism.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2008 at 19:22

It appears I have stumbled upon a community of people who are very rational and even headed. Awesome!

Good point some of you on how knowing more allows you to have a larger ego/vote on things like this.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 10 2008 at 05:17

Everyone wants compensation for their efforts. Once in a blue moon I'll catch myself talking down a little to someone about their taste in music. It happens, and I wish I never did such things.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 14 2008 at 23:24
Good write-up!

It happened to me as well when I was posed to "difficult" music like Yes "Tales" and Jethro Tull "A Passion Play" that I thought were the music for elitist community. But the more I understood the music, the more it grew on me. Music is emotion!

Rgds,
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 15 2008 at 00:28
I've found plenty of discrimination against Prog (people who label it excessive, pompous, over-indulgent, ridiculous w**kfests).  I've encountered people who love classical who consider all rock to be inferior, and those into jazz who consider jazz-fusion a lesser art.

The prog community is not homogeneous any more than prog is.  Within this community you'll find a schism between groups who like certain types of bands and "sub-genres" and those who prefer different styles.  You do also find a divide between those who prefer more obscure (and find them better than the more popular prog) bands and those who think that the big name bands are the most popular because they are the best.  The divide between the popular, more commercial Prog lovers and those into the more obscure, more experimental prog divide can be quite strong.  There tends to be a divide between those who like Neo-Prog and those who like the more avant oriented music, as one example.

So, indeed, it's not just about those listen to mainstream rock and those who listen to prog, but also about those who listen to mainstream prog and those who listen to far more than that, or prefer less-known music.

I don't think I'm better than those proggers who don't listen to as much obscure music as I do (and there are many who know much more than I do), but it does likely mean that I know more of the music than they do as I started with the popular bands too.

I don't think I'm better than other people for listening to prog (I listen to more than prog), though I do think that I have better tastes than some.  Yes, I do think that the music I like is better than Menudo etc., and most pop/ rock, but I wouldn't hold myself above jazz and classical fans (of which I am too).  I also love funk.  There's plenty of rock/ folk groups that are not Prog, and I think are great, and there's a great deal of non-Prog music from a whole world full of styles that I think terrific.  So, in sum, I hold my tastes better than some, but not others, but it's not defined by me liking certain types of prog -- there's lots of prog that I find bad, but I won't judge someone harshly just because they like it even if I may judge the music harshly...


Edited by Logan - March 15 2008 at 00:33
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views" (Doctor Who - The Face of Evil, Jan 22, 1977).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 15 2008 at 15:38
From my experiences, metal is the most elitist genre. Prog definitely comes in second, though, and I haven't been on the receiving end of elitism from any other genre out there. I'm sure it exists, but I haven't seen it.

And my "indie" friends are the most open-minded people I've ever met. They like everything from Jewel to The Fall of Troy to Kayo Dot to Autechre.

Also from my experience, most of the elitist prog fans I've come into contact with were just 15-year-olds who thought they were better than everyone because they listened to music from the 70's. Very easy to deal with, as they want to create turmoil and havoc so countering them with open-mindedness and calm disarms them.
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