Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Woman Reviews "Husband's Stupid Record Collection," Will Probably Get Book Deal

Posted by on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Reading music criticism can be exhausting, if not infuriating. As more and more blogs push to make every post as viral as possible, writers seemingly cave to the pressure and stop being thoughtful and start being snarky (guilty). So not only do I understand the desire to be an earnest voice in music criticism, and to shun the idea that you have to know everything and have an unflinching opinion on it as quickly as possible, but I really like it when writers are willing to do that. That's why I love, love, love Anna Minard's column Never Heard of 'Em, for instance—it proves genuine and valid music criticism can come from all kinds of music fans, not just nerds with the biggest record collection and a thesaurus (though those can be good, too).

That's also why I wanted to like the new music blog My Husband's Stupid Record Collection. While the premise doesn't bother me that much—a woman and her husband have had to pack up and move his 1,500+ records five times in eight years so she decided to finally listen to these records she's been otherwise ignoring—the execution is so disappointing. As the title of the blog implies, she already has an opinion about the record collection—it's stupid. Though she's spent the better part of a decade with these records in her home, it's still her husband's. The blog could be an interesting excuse to learn about music and become familiar with something that's clearly so important to someone she loves, but instead of really trying to figure out why these albums are worth so much to her husband (or, better yet, really trying to establish her own relationship with them, separate from his) her reviews are often glossy and empty. The author doesn't actually want to listen to and learn, she'd rather just barf out some words about what the bands are wearing and hope the idea alone makes for decent page clicks.

The husband actually ends up coming off as a pretty fun dude; she writes in a post about Anthrax:

HOLD ON. Alex just started singing along and saying something that sounded like “evil, N-word, fassen.” Me: “What are you saying??” Alex: “Efilnikufesin.” Me: Very confused stare. Alex: it’s “nice fucking life spelled backwards, N.F.L” and then he jumped off the couch and started dancing uncontrollably.

While she, in the same post, fuels gender stereotypes:

Look you guys, I’m really liking it. It’s oddly beautiful, but I feel like it’s really hard for girls to get to know this kind of music. I would NEVER want to see this band live, even though I’m really liking the music. It would be too violent and too dangerous, and that sucks. And yet I’m not blaming the people who feel the need to get “caught in a mosh,” upon hearing this. It’s probably exhilarating, but sitting on the couch listening to it is fun in a totally different way. Why does music have to be such a division of the sexes sometimes?

Oh, I don't know, maybe because there are still women who think that only men can like Anthrax because women prefer to listen to beautiful music while sitting on a couch? Still, the project is less than a month old, so it's quite possible her tone will evolve past the "LOL—look at the clueless wife laugh at the funny clothes from the '80s" and become a more sincere, or even smart, attempt at music writing. I'd love to see that happen. Either way, I'm sure it'll end in a book deal. Just like the 300 sandwiches blog did.

 

Comments (21) RSS

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21
Man, Megan. I usually like you, but you come off like a real asshole here.
Posted by garbagehumper on June 7, 2014 at 12:25 AM · Report this
20
It's interesting to read this around the anniversary of Live Through This, which includes a song Love wrote in response to being assaulted by the audience at her own show. This is the kind of typical of male behavior at certain rock events, which explains why a woman may think that an Anthrax show might not be the most female friendly space. I'm really amazed that a female writer would be so dismissive of a concrete rational concern about risks of assault at certain types of shows.

It's also interesting as a consistent theme in Live Through This was how she felt alienated by alleged girl power types.

Part of the patriarchy is that no matter what a guy does, there's an assumption he has a good reason and people will seek it out, while whatever a woman does, people will find a reason it is suspect. Including other women.

It's weird how you complain about something that "fuels gender stereotypes" when you are dismissing a female writer similar terms most male critic/geeks use to dismiss women: call her a fake, blame her for how other people react to her, trash her motivations ("I'm sure it'll end in a book deal. Just like the 300 sandwiches blog did.") and even say her husband appears more genuine and fun than she is.

Sexism and patriarchy is all about projecting ideas and definitions upon women without their participation. How is what you've done here any better? To quote O'Hollar: "A lot of the criticism of this blog is that it plays up this idea that women’s voices are marginal or less important, but for all that has been written, no one has made any effort to reach out to me for comment, or even to ask me a question. One article got my name wrong throughout. It’s clear that critics are more interested in making me a symbol of some harmful stereotype than understanding what this is, or who I am. Talking to me might make that difficult. It might humanize me."

Did you even try to engage her before writing this mean spirited pile of speculation and accusation? Engaging her as a human means you couldn't write such tripe as " she'd rather just barf out some words about what the bands are wearing and hope the idea alone makes for decent page clicks" and accuse her of "stealing" attention and ideas that she clearly didn't.

This is also an uncomfortable gender trend: women engaging in policing and gatekeeping as savage as the boys club. Even if you are trying to critique normative thinking, you're echoing how men silence women by picking apart their credentials and finding them wanting. Even though part of the point of feminism is such things don't belong to anyone and you don't need credential. You're essentially saying her interest is less valuable because she's admits she's not an expert, therefore she must care more about her husband's authority than music.

I doubt that if a guy wrote a blog about his girlfriend's "stupid" interest, and that "stupid" was obviously ironic (or it was his brother's, mother's or father's), he'd get some guff for the title but mostly be praised by both genders for exploring a new interest from a witty point of ignorance. The only people who would call him out for betraying men by ceding ownership of the culture to his wife would be men's rights activists. It's sad that women can be counted upon to find their fellow women wanting as much as dudes.
More...
Posted by omystarsandgarters on April 14, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this
19
It's interesting to read this around the anniversary of Live Through This, which includes a song Love wrote in response to being assaulted by the audience at her own show. This is the kind of typical of male behavior at certain rock events, which explains why a woman may think that an Anthrax show might not be the most female friendly space. I'm really amazed that a female writer would be so dismissive of a concrete rational concern about risks of assault at certain types of shows.

It's also interesting as a consistent theme in Live Through This was how she felt alienated by alleged girl power types.

Part of the patriarchy is that no matter what a guy does, there's an assumption he has a good reason and people will seek it out, while whatever a woman does, people will find a reason it is suspect. Including other women.

It's weird how you complain about something that "fuels gender stereotypes" when you are dismissing a female writer similar terms most male critic/geeks use to dismiss women: call her a fake, blame her for how other people react to her, trash her motivations ("I'm sure it'll end in a book deal. Just like the 300 sandwiches blog did.") and even say her husband appears more genuine and fun than she is.

Sexism and patriarchy is all about projecting ideas and definitions upon women without their participation. How is what you've done here any better? To quote O'Hollar: "A lot of the criticism of this blog is that it plays up this idea that women’s voices are marginal or less important, but for all that has been written, no one has made any effort to reach out to me for comment, or even to ask me a question. One article got my name wrong throughout. It’s clear that critics are more interested in making me a symbol of some harmful stereotype than understanding what this is, or who I am. Talking to me might make that difficult. It might humanize me."

Did you even try to engage her before writing this mean spirited pile of speculation and accusation? Engaging her as a human means you couldn't write such tripe as " she'd rather just barf out some words about what the bands are wearing and hope the idea alone makes for decent page clicks" and accuse her of "stealing" attention and ideas that she clearly didn't.

This is also an uncomfortable gender trend: women engaging in policing and gatekeeping as savage as the boys club. Even if you are trying to critique normative thinking, you're echoing how men silence women by picking apart their credentials and finding them wanting. Even though part of the point of feminism is such things don't belong to anyone and you don't need credential. You're essentially saying her interest is less valuable because she's admits she's not an expert, therefore she must care more about her husband's authority than music.

I doubt that if a guy wrote a blog about his girlfriend's "stupid" interest, and that "stupid" was obviously ironic (or it was his brother's, mother's or father's), he'd get some guff for the title but mostly be praised by both genders for exploring a new interest from a witty point of ignorance. The only people who would call him out for betraying men by ceding ownership of the culture to his wife would be men's rights activists. It's sad that women can be counted upon to find their fellow women wanting as much as dudes.
More...
Posted by omystarsandgarters on April 14, 2014 at 1:04 PM · Report this
18
annnnnd it looks like she's addressing you directly, megan:

http://alltherecords.tumblr.com/post/800…
Posted by deepconcentration on March 19, 2014 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 17
@14: did you just go count? nerd brother!
Posted by Max Solomon on March 18, 2014 at 9:34 PM · Report this
16
Megan, I usually agree with you, but this time... I don't totally disagree, but I think you are reading this too literally.

In fact the author of the blog writes quite intelligently about her feelings of being a feminist and it's effect on how she views the albums frequently. Her take on of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds" is case in point. She loves Big Balls, but is creeped out by the track about having sex with an underaged groupie.

And at least when she finds something she likes, she digs deeper in, doing a lot of research and leaving you with lots of links to click through about the artists.

She writes intelligently. More than I can say for Minard, who sufffers from the Jezebel/Gawker symptom of uneducated verbal-diarhea in the form of snark overload.

This woman's blog has actually made me go back and listen through A Certain Ratio. Minard has only succeeded in making me want to throw my computer against the wall. (I gave up on her posts a while ago though. Maybe she's changed.)

Anyways.... Not everyone is gonna love Anthrax. Give her a break.

Posted by doubtroub on March 18, 2014 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 15
@ 10, you just filled my quota for the day, thanks.
All kidding aside, the post just tickled memories of how I perceived the world 20+ years ago. Usually I have to watch Heavy Metal Parking Lot to get such a humbling reminder of my roots. In all reality as I've matured I gained a great appreciation for much of the music I tried to turn my back on. In defense of the woman's review, I will say that Anthrax has aged as only a "meh" for me. Their not Slayer, but more honest and fun than Metallica, and still light years better than Megadeth. Plus 2 of the members were in SOD. Speak English Or Die is a hardcore-metal-crossover classic.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on March 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM · Report this
fletc3her 14
I have 2204 albums and they hardly take any space at all.
Posted by fletc3her on March 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM · Report this
13
i've been reading it for a while. 'scool. no biggie.

that said, it's simple and fluffy. it hardly seems the place to complain about"fueling gender stereotypes". and if it got a book deal, so what?

i myself own a pretty damn big record collection and while wifey loves the music inside of it, she would admit that requiring a 4-bedroom house for two people and a lot of records is pretty stupid. i wouldn't be mad at her if she called it "stupid".

once in a while, i myself think it's kind of stupid, but my records are like my kids, and if i was one of those people who had 14 kids... odds are you'd call me stupid.
Posted by deepconcentration on March 18, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
12
Yeah, @9 sounds fairly gross.
Posted by Amanda on March 18, 2014 at 3:15 PM · Report this
11
I think the blog is pretty decent. Read her entries on Back from the Grave, B-52s, Albert Ayler and Au Pairs, and she seems ready to grapple with Ayler and not make fun of it, despite not really liking it. I don't begrudge her a book deal.
Posted by ratzkywatzky on March 18, 2014 at 3:14 PM · Report this
10
@9:
lame ass chicks who were stupid, ugly, or both.


Has anyone ever told you that you're a judgemental creep?
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on March 18, 2014 at 3:00 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 9
What she had to say reminds me of one of he many motivations I had to explore music beyond metal in high school. I observed at a certain point that metal head dudes tended to wind up with lame ass chicks who were stupid, ugly, or both. The punk rock girls at my school were smarter, looked cooler, hated our community for many of the same reasons I did, and seemed far more likely to want to get the fuck out after graduation.
Now I look at metal heads 10-20 years younger than me and see a lot of cuties who not only have a-lot of the values that drew me to punk/alternative (back when that meant something), but have an edgy sense of style, and they actually play in bands. At least something in the world has changed for the better. Oh, and metal dudes aren't as meat headed as they were when I was a kid either.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on March 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Posted by wisepunk on March 18, 2014 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 7
his records are organized alphabetically, with no regard for genre? how bourgeois.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 18, 2014 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Fnarf 6
Pretending that Anthrax concerts aren't a total sausagefest is ignoring reality. Yes, there are women who like them but their crowds are probably 95% male if not more.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 18, 2014 at 2:24 PM · Report this
CATSPAW666 5
Only 1500 albums? Thats hardly a "collection".
Posted by CATSPAW666 on March 18, 2014 at 2:24 PM · Report this
4
I love this sort of idea in general. I cannot get enough of Anna's stuff and it'd be fun to read a film version of what she does.
Posted by bradl on March 18, 2014 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Kathy Fennessy 3
Wait till she gets to Burzum...
Posted by Kathy Fennessy http://kathleencfennessy.blogspot.com/ on March 18, 2014 at 2:05 PM · Report this
Megan Seling 2
Stay on the couch, Kathy, it's dangerous!
Posted by Megan Seling on March 18, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Kathy Fennessy 1
Anthrax is a fun live band. Her loss.
Posted by Kathy Fennessy http://kathleencfennessy.blogspot.com/ on March 18, 2014 at 1:54 PM · Report this

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