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My Latest for Tikkun: Sufjan Stevens - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
My Latest for Tikkun: Sufjan Stevens
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Comments
From: ozric_dampierre Date: November 17th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

hipsters

i seriously doubt you could name anyone in the audience who would accept the hipster label as described by you as someone who when not servicing hangovers has --their belief that a sophisticated independent-label musician the darling of big city critics can't really be the believer he seems to be...leaving the hipsters in his audience embarrassed at their own discomfort with religious conviction...he reveals their desire to remain non-committal. a better label for such a character if 'he' exists might be 'jerk' while you prefer to turn 'him' into a hipster in order to denigrate whoever you think is too dumb or drunk to realize-- the spirituality that motivates stevens more rewarding than sleeping off hipster hangovers... far as i know 'christian' band starflyer 59 is reviewed based on what they sound like not on whatever religious beliefs they have but i guess they are not the darlings of big city critics like sufjan stevens is at the moment that makes him a suitable subject for tikkun...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 17th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters

Obviously no one is going to want to embrace the "hipster" label I'm constructing here, since it's not very favorable. But I was writing a caricature, so that comes with the territory. Interestingly, most writings on Stevens have avoided extended engagement with his religiousness. As for Tikkun, being the "darling of big city critics" has nothing to do with suitability for the magazine except to the extent that I am writing for them and read big-city critics myself. I have a Jewsish summer camp sing-a-long record waiting for review right now, for example, so I think you err in presuming any connection whatsoever -- again, aside from me -- between the world of Tikkun and the world of Pitchfork. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read and provide input, even though it is -- as I could have predicted sober or soused -- not exactly laudatory. It's refreshing to get slapped in the face from time to time. Maybe I should just send you a ream of my writings so that you can mete out regular doses of vitriol!
From: ozric_dampierre Date: November 17th, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters

i don't know why you want to construct as "hipster" those you regard as dolts given the word does have a history which your usage tends to destroy intentionally or not...you misconstrue the tikkun point which is that if sufjan stevens was an unknown guy performing in tucson who you wanted to write about i doubt Tikkun would be interested in publishing something on someone who wasn't being hyped by "big city critics" as worthy of attention but who knows--as for vitriol your hipster caricature might be considered to have that element but not as much as patrick j mullins breakup with jodi in i cite comments last month...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 17th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters

It's pretty common to construct "hipsters" the way I did, even if there's a degree of unfairness in that characterization. There's a degree of unfairness in every characterization, of course, but I also recognize that the sort of collective naming I was engaged in may be more unfair than something less uniform. As for what Tikkun is interested in running, I think the criteria are different than you suspect. I'm writing about The Ex for the next issue and that band certainly isn't getting hyped by big-city critics right now. Recent pieces in their music section have focused on pretty obscure stuff, such as Muslimgauze. Anyway, thanks again for your input and helping me to connect the dots.
From: ozric_dampierre Date: November 18th, 2005 01:31 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters

guess i need not know why you and whoever else want to construct this derogatory character caricature and label it "hipster" a word i associate more with lenny bruce or perhaps wallace berman circle featuring junkie philip lamantia than the indie line from nick drake to sufjan stevens if there is one but nevermind--true i don't know crap about what's in tikkun music section or the rest of the magazine but i do know what joseph dan writes about tikkun in his very short introduction to kabbalah and that jennifer bleyer left heeb after 3 issues because it was turning into something she didn't like...
From: ozric_dampierre Date: November 18th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters

sorry one more to get slightly more up to date i can think of thurston moore as being a hipster...kim gordon...lee ranaldo...steve shelley...sonic youth.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 18th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters

Fine. Whatever. Point taken. Yes, the term "hipster" used to refer more to doers than wanna-doers. The lineage is long and proud. Nevertheless, in the etiolated realm I inhabit the term has come to signify people who try hard, often too hard, to have the people around them regard them as hip.

I attended the Wallace Berman show, BTW, and think it does a really great job of tracing networks of affiliation that connect lesser-knowns and greater-knowns. It's a compelling group portrait in time. I thought of you at many junctures. We have the book, so you can check it out some time. Unless the library there has it, which is possible.

One final note: the characterization of hipster was, as I mentioned in my entry, in some measure intended as a self-critique. I was wearing black Converse high-tops, deciding whether to commit to the performance, and puzzling over the fact that I couldn't suppress the knowledge of Stevens's Christian themes. Peace out.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 20th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters & tikkun

i've particularly been enjoying this discussion of tikkun's alleged proclivity for only covering musicians with namebrand critic cred. charlie is absolutely correct in pointing out we have been very selective in which we've chosen to cover the past year - for example, muslimgauze. let me be even more specific.

as the person who started the music department at tikkun fourteen months ago, being a former music magazine editor - and someone very well versed in the jewish press - i made the conscious decision to cover artists who would be politically well-suited for coverage in tikkun, irrespective of their critical appraisal and their market clout with big name critics and large circulation periodicals. i particularly wanted to avoid going the heeb route of making the music section a who's who of contemporary jewish coolness, a practice that i find absolutely ridiculous for a left-wing publication.

so, how do we did we start doing this? our first feature was on Jericho's Echo, a then unknown documentary in progress about Israeli anarcho-hardcore made by a personal acquaintance of mine here in San Francisco. we coupled this with reviews of the Radio Palestine pan-mediterranean radio documentary CD put out by Seattle micro indie Sublime Frequencies - just profiled in today's Sunday NY Times by the way, a year after we ran the first "mainstream" feature on the label's releases.

since that point, as charlie noted, i've assigned the only political profile i've ever read on my former labelmate, Muslimgauze - the dead british anti-imperialist electronic artist - Palestinian hip-hop, and utterly obscure german experimental releases by Random Inc (again, dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict) records issue by the Jerusalem; based Mille Plateaux clone label called Mitlatlikim, an amazing reading of the last Beck album, and an article about Palestinian hip-hop. not exactly klezmer, or a shoutout piece on how NOFX and Sleater-Kinney are 2/3rds Jewish.

granted, these are very different kinds of pieces than charlie is working on now that he is the music editor. the previous music editor was former xlr8r reviews editor, Ron Nachmann, who also happens to be Israeli. the point is that none of this material was ever really covered or interrogated in any serious way in either the mainstream music press - indie included - and the Jewish press, which has an allergy towards covering anything remotely political played by Jewish musicians.

if you want to know what that is, just read any of the Jewschool.com playlists, or gross yourself out over the vile adulation being accorded to the "hasidic reggae superstar" Matisyahu. (my response to that phenomenon was to commission Zion Riddims, a feature article on the extremely wierd interest that Jews and Israelis take in reggae which we ran last March.) we got a lot of hate mail for that one, because not once did we ever pull the expected bullshit that it was all about blacks and Jews bonding.

even with this kind of coverage, i hit my interest limit as an editor. there's only so much of this kind of material i want to run or can tolerate. it reminds me way too much of my editorial work at punk planet, where my hands were always tied by the fact that i had to cover something that could be construed as "punk" - in this instance, everything had to be somehow "jewish".

given the pieces charlie's working on for the March/April issue, 'm delighted to say we're violating even our own editorial orthodoxies, and those of a "Jewish magazine", for whatever the fuck that category really means.

Joel
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 20th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters & tikkun

Beautifully put, Joel!
From: ozric_dampierre Date: November 21st, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: hipsters & tikkun&gilad

very informative--now i wonder if the viewpoint/ideology of musician gilad atzmon is at all compatible with that of a "jewish magazine" farther on the fringe is israel shamir or one i came across recently failedmessiah.com http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2004/01/1674134.php
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