May 2, 2008

"I'm proud to say that LSD-25 has contributed positively to my life."

It's a Facebook group:
Given the recent death of Dr. Albert Hofmann, we feel compelled to let it be known that we feel blessed that LSD has been a part of our lives.

We may use it for one or more purposes, including spiritual / introspective exploration, recreation, healing, psychotherapy, group bonding, or some combination of these.

Some of us may never have even ingested this sacred material, but we nonetheless recognize its positive influence on a wide array of cultural phenomena, including not only the obvious elements such as music, art, poetry, prose, dance, religious studies, adademic [sic] pursuit, etc., but also on modern science, information technology (UNIX / Linux would likely not exist without LSD), physiological psychology, and micro/molecular biology.
Haven't you at least benefited from the music... and the posters?
We believe that this compound is one of the truly magnificient [sic] discoveries of the 20th century and that it has only just begun to be realized as a path to the future of humankind.
Fix the spelling, man. It's freaking me out.
"The function of the brain is to reduce all the available information and lock us into a limited experience of the world. LSD frees us from this restriction and opens us to a much larger experience." - Stanislav Grof

"“There are two major products that came out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.” - Jeremy Anderson

"I think that in human evolution it has never been more necessary to have this substance LSD. It is a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be." - Dr. Albert Hoffman

"LSD burst over the dreary domain of the constipated bourgeoisie like the angelic herald of a new psychedelic millennium. We have never been the same since, nor will we ever be, for LSD demonstrated, even to skeptics, that the mansions of heaven and gardens of paradise lie within each and all of us." - Terence McKenna

"The LSD experience usually changes forever the worldview and basic life-orientation of all who experience it." - Ralph Metzner

IN THE COMMENTS: Ben Masel writes:
Kudos on the courage to accept the invite. As yet, none of the "A list' lefty bloggers I simultaneously invited have signed on.

Spelling fixed, seems I've been made an admin.
Yeah, well, the A-list lefty bloggers are pussies. But you have framed the description so that joining is not a confession of drug use — or even to say that the benefits, overall, to society, outweigh the harm. I could perceive, even without the aid of mind-expanding drugs, that anyone could join this group.

95 comments:

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

Did you ever see anyone take time out of their trip to do something for someone else when they were on LSD? Did you ever see anyone donate to a charity when they were tripping? Did you ever feel truly listened to or nurtured by a friend that was peaking?
LDS was the self-absorption producing sacrament of the generation that taught us a new standard of self absorption. Now we are starting to live in a world that flows from self-absorption, and I hasten to point out that it isn’t very pretty.

And that isn’t even mentioning that little side effect from sustained use, of a dulled down your mind, sometimes to the point of idiocy.

joe said...

"Oh, wow, man."
~ Joe

Revenant said...

And that isn’t even mentioning that little side effect from sustained use, of a dulled down your mind, sometimes to the point of idiocy.

Sustained abuse of food leads to obesity, numerous health problems, and early death. That doesn't make chocolate cake anything less than wonderful.

Tibore said...

“There are two major products that came out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.” - Jeremy Anderson

Aaaaaand, what? He's saying that LSD is a painfully opaque experience, complex in nature, exceptionally difficult to understand without reference to poorly written, impossibly dense documentation, managed by an insular, snobbish clique who conflate insults with instruction, have zero people and communications skills (thus the painful documentation), and enjoy difficult and unreplicable procedures for support and administration while at the same time looking down their noses at the dullard, uninspired pedestrian users of limited equivalents (Windows-Unix, Ganja-LSD) who are unable to extend their mind around the majesty of the experience? Is that what he meant?

I've stuck my head into the *nix world. Trust me, if LSD is the equivalent, then I have no desire to torture myself with it!

dbp said...

If an LSD trip will make you a better person for the rest of your life, does it matter if you are not a better one for the few hours of the trip?

The guy who invented PCR was a big acid head. Just think of what he could have done if his mind hadn't been dulled to the point of idiocy.

amba said...

I don't think the self-absorption was a product of the drug. They call it "psyche-delic" -- "mind-manifesting." It just manifested what was already there. The age of therapy, the pursuit of "authenticity," Norman O. Brown's "Love's Body" -- all that provided the set and setting in which people did drugs. In other words: "garbage in, garbage out."

P. Rich said...

Fools all, except maybe for Anderson, who could have been making a joke, or just been high and making a random association.

PS

UNIX was also developed by AT&T. Injest that, Dude.

Revenant said...

Aaaaaand, what? He's saying that LSD is a painfully opaque experience

It is a joke about how weird and incomprehensible UNIX is to normal people.

Freeman Hunt said...

Geeze, overstatement much...

Especially this:

"The LSD experience usually changes forever the worldview and basic life-orientation of all who experience it." - Ralph Metzner

Give me a break.

Ben Masel said...

Kudos on the courage to accept the invite. As yet, none of the "A list' lefty bloggers I simultaneously invited have signed on.

Spelling fixed, seems I've been made an admin.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Did you ever see anyone take time out of their trip to do something for someone else when they were on LSD? Did you ever see anyone donate to a charity when they were tripping? Did you ever feel truly listened to or nurtured by a friend that was peaking?.

Except for the charity thing. Yes.

rhhardin said...

UNIX is Ritchie and Thompson at Bell Labs Murray Hill, NJ, 1968. Entirely drug free.

Freeman Hunt said...

--And that isn’t even mentioning that little side effect from sustained use, of a dulled down your mind, sometimes to the point of idiocy.--

Sustained abuse of food leads to obesity, numerous health problems, and early death. That doesn't make chocolate cake anything less than wonderful.


True, but sustained use of food doesn't do that.

Beth said...

Revolver is my favorite Beatles album, so yes, I've benefited from the music.

My birthday present was a nice amp for my car stereo. I got it installed yesterday and the first tune I dialed up on the iPod to test the settings was "Tomorrow Never Knows." Oh, it sounded so good. I'm glad John, Paul, George and Ringo did acid.

Fen said...

Reminds me of my college days when we would sit around and smoke weed. We thought we were so perceptive and enlightened. But we always forgot the Great Truths we learned while under the influence.

So we video-taped ourselves... and were incredibly embarassed the next day at how stupid we sounded.

Beth said...

But we always forgot the Great Truths we learned while under the influence.

So we video-taped ourselves... and were incredibly embarassed the next day at how stupid we sounded.


Fen, that in itself is a discovery.

Kirby Olson said...

Intelligence is about setting clear limits at the right points.

LSD blows all borders to ribbons.

Eternity and infinity exist, and through LSD one can become intensively aware of this.

However, it is sometimes difficult for people to return to reality, where limits need to be set, and defined, and held to: laws, etc.

Manson and his family did LSD. How can it be said to have helped them?

Neil Benson said...

I had a number of friends who used LSD during the 1970s. Some of them came out okay, but quite a few continued to experience a reality that is orthogonal to the rest of us. Anyone who thinks LSD was some kind of spiritual awakening experience is still under the effects of LSD or hasn't read the literature. One issue that continually came out during the 70s was the fact that when you thought you were taking LSD it might have been anything from mescaline dog tranquilizers laced with strychnine. This was not Santa Claus.

dbp said...

My own theory about long-term effects is that LSD helps you become closer to your true self more quickly than otherwise. The problem for people like Manson is that his true self is totally evil. LSD got him there more quickly, but it didn't make him evil.

Palladian said...

Fuck LSD. Weird that the invention of LSD nearly coincides with the beginnings of the crumbling of Western culture.

What we need is a return to serious drinking. I like alcohol. Aside from wine on the altar during Mass, it has no dipshit pretensions of spiritual transcendence or emotional oneness or healing or "introspective exploration", whatever that may be. Alcohol is there to get you snockered. What you do afterward is up to you.

Chip Ahoy said...

LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide. That acid bit isn't like citric acid one puts in a salad to cut the unction of an oily dressing. It eats through membrane, it destroys the mind's ability to discern, that is, it addles confuses, confounds and destroys. A fellow I knew assisted in an autopsy on an acid-head. He reported portions of the victim's brain were turned to mush.

Sacred material, my arse. *ching ching* --Chip Ahoy

Smilin' Jack said...

"“There are two major products that came out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.” - Jeremy Anderson

That was not intended as a compliment to LSD. And while UNIX was not invented at Berkeley, the versions dominant today did pass through and "come out" of Berkeley, in much the same way that oats pass through and come out of a horse.

George said...

"I'd be enjoying the music a lot more, if I wasn't dead."
--Jerry Garcia

"Yeah, me too."
--Brian Jones

"I must have had a thousand trips....I used to just eat it all the time....I got the message that I should destroy my ego, and I did, you know...Bit by bit over a two-year period, I had destroyed me ego. I didn't believe I could do anything. I just was nothing. I was shit."
--John Lennon

rhhardin said...

And while UNIX was not invented at Berkeley, the versions dominant today did pass through and "come out" of Berkeley,

The manual at my terminal right now is Unix 9th edition (1986) out of AT&T, just a random data point.

dbp said...

George said...
"I'd be enjoying the music a lot more, if I wasn't dead."
--Jerry Garcia

"Yeah, me too."
--Brian Jones

Would be a great point if either of these gentlemen died of LSD use.

In fact, there are no known deaths from LSD overdose. A suspected OD was reported in 1975 and the individual was thought to have ingested 3,000 standard doses based on [] in his liver.

Fen said...

Fen, that in itself is a discovery.

:P

amba said...

dbp, what do you mean by your "true self"?

Richard Fagin said...

"[M]odern science, information technology (UNIX / Linux would likely not exist without LSD), physiological psychology, and micro/molecular biology" owe a debt to LSD? That's news to me. Probably would be as well to Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Watson, Crick, Shockley, Kettering, Pauling (although he was a vitamin C wacko), von Neumann, Boeing, Goddard, von Braun, Maxwell, Curie, Roentgen (so you don't accuse me of sexism)....it'd take me an hour to think of all those people who contributed in such a huge way to our material well being, who in all likelihood were way too damn busy and engaged in their work to have time for acid trips.

Slackers!!

dbp said...

dbp, what do you mean by your "true self"?

Damn, hoping nobody would ask that! Mostly because, even though a simple concept, a really tough one to describe well, at least by me.

Out of time for the moment. But I will try and compose a coherent answer later.

Palladian said...

"Mind-expanding" drugs are for people whose minds are too small to begin with, and certainly won't be better if made bigger.

Give me mind-contracting drugs anytime. Again, may I recommend the wonderfulness of life-giving booze?

Booze: at least it won't make you into the kind of person who goes to Burning Man.

john said...

rhhardin -

Unix v9/1986? I would have guessed you were using CPM. Nearly the same era.

somefeller said...

Did you ever see anyone donate to a charity when they were tripping?

I've never seen anyone donate to a charity while they were under the influence of any drug, so that doesn't make LSD unique on that score. Unless, however, buying stuff from the silent auction section of a charity gala after drinking about five gin and tonics counts as donating under the influence.

Ben Masel said...

"Did you ever see anyone donate to a charity when they were tripping?"

Does the "Magic Hat" at a Rainbow Gathering count?

somefeller said...

And while LSD may have caused its share of burnouts (though far less than other drugs), it helped give a middle-aged right-wing German WWI vet a second wind in his writing career.

Revenant said...

True, but sustained use of food doesn't do that.

Abuse is just use that causes significant negative consequences, so it is a tautology that the mere "sustained use" of food doesn't cause significant harm. But of course neither does sustained use of LSD. To cause significant lasting harm to yourself you need to take large doses for a very long time -- i.e., abuse.

Revenant said...

I've never seen anyone donate to a charity while they were under the influence of any drug, so that doesn't make LSD unique on that score.

It is pretty standard to promise beer in order to get your friends to help you move, at least among guys in their 20s and 30s. :)

Freeman Hunt said...

Booze: at least it won't make you into the kind of person who goes to Burning Man.

I am drinking a Diet Cherry Pepsi. You nearly owed me a new laptop.

somefeller said...

It is pretty standard to promise beer in order to get your friends to help you move, at least among guys in their 20s and 30s. :)

Ah, but that is arguably fee-for-services, not charity, Revenant.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann:

God Bless you - you are a pistol!

Paul said...

Psychotropic substances have their place. They are not to be dismissed out of hand nor to be taken lightly. They definitely expanded the scope and vision of some artists like Hendrix and The Beatles.

Alcohol on the other hand seems best at bringing out the inner asshole, if not the inner sociopath.

Oligonicella said...

Palladian said...

Booze: at least it won't make you into the kind of person who goes to Burning Man.

No, but it can make you a person who will piss on the side of a building in public.

Meade said...

Paul has a good point. Whether or not psychedelic drugs truly expand the mind, we know that even small amounts of alcohol shrink the brain and damage cells throughout the body - particularly in the liver and pancreas. Of the two substances, I think it's safe to say that in the last 65 years, alcohol has damaged far more lives than LSD has.

Palladian said...

"No, but it can make you a person who will piss on the side of a building in public."

There's a refreshing honesty to pissing on the side of a building in public. I'd rather a world of wall-pissing drunkards than a world full of people screaming that the side of the building is dissolving into liquid cats that are eating their toes and shitting black rainbows.

Palladian said...

"They definitely expanded the scope and vision of some artists like Hendrix and The Beatles."

And what a vision those towering intellects unleashed upon the world! How would we ever have survived, as a culture, without the 1960s? I mean, without the shattering insights of the most brilliant, amazing, conscienceless-expanded generation of demi-Gods that was the holy Boomers we might still be sitting around listening to jazz and Beethoven! Hail LSD-25, which turned an uninteresting generation of lazy, third-rate losers into an uninteresting generation of lazy, third-rate losers with backwards guitar solos and kaleidoscope eyes!

I think I need a drink.

Paul said...

Palladian:

As someone who plays and understands both Coltrane's and Hendrix's music you are embarrassing yourself now. They are both towering creative giants whose like has never been seen since. Let it go sonny.

Freeman Hunt said...

Palladian is on tonight. And I imagine it took no LSD-25 to unleash that series of cleverness on the world.

vbspurs said...

Fuck LSD. Weird that the invention of LSD nearly coincides with the beginnings of the crumbling of Western culture.

What we need is a return to serious drinking. I like alcohol. Aside from wine on the altar during Mass, it has no dipshit pretensions of spiritual transcendence or emotional oneness or healing or "introspective exploration", whatever that may be. Alcohol is there to get you snockered. What you do afterward is up to you.


STANDING OVATION.

And I don't even drink, and am rather nonplussed by drinkers.

But my God, this was beautifully put, Palladian!

Cheers,
Victoria

Methadras said...

Drugs are bad, mmkay.

Revenant said...

Jimi Hendrix produced more great and enduring music in 1967 alone than the whole of the American music industry has produced in the last decade. He had an kind of creative energy that, like Paul noted, just hasn't been seen since.

I challenge anyone to watch this and not feel regret for having missed the chance to see him perform. And I say this as a 30-something who is sick to death of hearing about the greatness of the baby boomers.

P. Rich said...

Ah, the Beatles, those purveyors of puerile pap. So today's question is, When a 50-something law professor listens to the simple chords, does her inner child want to squeal?

Ben Masel said...

For the record, I didn't write the group description. I was, however, on the 1st round of invites.

lurker2209 said...

You know, the Red Hat version of Linux has this really neat game where you have to put molecules together using this little maze. It's like solitaire or minesweeper, only for chem geeks. I wish they made a windows version, or a version for my cell phone.

O, we're supposed to talk about LSD. Well if you're going to use a food analogy, LSD is more like fasting. A serotonin diet for the brain. Block up the 5-HT receptors. Are todays brain's to fat on Serotonin? With Prozac and the like cramming neurons full of that lovely 'happy chemical', is the logical response the Serotonin anorexia of LSD? Will our brains end up like our bodies, caught be the extremes of binge and purge?

blake said...

A lot of Hendrix worshippers, eh?

One of my profs described him as a "fairly talented guitarist who knew one riff". (FWIW, I like the Monterey Pop performance but the Woodstock performance struck me as self-indulgent.)

But what do I know? I play Bach and Dowland and all the old squares. I "understand" Stravinskly and Schoenberg--and the jury's still out on Shcoenberg, so I suppose it's good to know it's settled on Hendrix and Coltrane.

That said, I see several fallacies from this whole nonsense:

There's a presumption that this (alleged) creative burst provided something that might not have been achieved anyway. Besides LSD, eastern influences had become prevalent, and I believe there are historical precedents for how the introduction of "other" materials stimulate creativity.

There is, of course, the previously mentioned presumption that there's any particularly great about the music allegedly spurred by LSD. Musicologically speaking, it is all fleeting.

The dangerous presumption, however, is that LSD spurs creativity perpetually and at no cost. But isn't a common pattern of drug use to have an incredible rush the first time, followed by a longing to recreate the experience, which becomes increasingly harder to attain?

So, the Beatles start doing LSD in, what, '65 or '66--and by '67 they're no longer functioning as a group, and by '68, they're barely on speaking terms. A lot of things seem to have fallen apart by the '60s end.

Of course, I can't prove LSD broke up the Beatles or destroyed an entire sub-cutlure, but y'know, the same could be said for LSD's alleged benefits. Whose word do you have to take? People who've been under the influence.

I used to have pot-head friends tell me how much better their reflexes were when they were stoned, too.

Y'all don't wanna believe that one hit can make a person crazy (or at least that it's worth the risk), that's fine. I'll be skeptical of claims of creative inspiration.

Paul said...

"One of my profs described him as a "fairly talented guitarist who knew one riff"."

Your prof was an ignoramus.

"But what do I know? I play Bach and Dowland and all the old squares. I "understand" Stravinskly and Schoenberg--and the jury's still out on Shcoenberg, so I suppose it's good to know it's settled on Hendrix and Coltrane."

Yeah it's settled. By those who study the music and play it professionally. I suppose it's not settled for those who either, a) don't have the ears to grasp it for themselves, or b) rely on their "prof" to tell them what to think.

You sound like a classical music snob who looks down on jazz, but like every single one of your ilk you couldn't improvise if your life depended on it. You need to be told what notes to play, just like it appears you need to be told what to think. Pathetic.

montana urban legend said...

"LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide. That acid bit isn't like citric acid one puts in a salad to cut the unction of an oily dressing. It eats through membrane, it destroys the mind's ability to discern, that is, it addles confuses, confounds and destroys. A fellow I knew assisted in an autopsy on an acid-head. He reported portions of the victim's brain were turned to mush."

Chip, not that your analytical chemistry skills aren't as curious to me as a kaleidoscope is to a kid, but it's hard to see how a molecule with a pKa of 7.8 could be basic enough to liquefy organs, let alone acidic enough. This kind of stuff makes for great scare tactics with the anti-drug warrior crowd and a great line in Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox's character threatens Crispin Glover for not asking out his mom, but do try to stick to some real science when waxing frightfully through the propaganda points, rather than wandering knee-deep into BS.

blake said...

Paul,

That's a whole lot of bile to pour out over--well, I won't say he was a hack, because that would just be a childish attempt to provoke you into making an even bigger ass out of yourself.

Yeah it's settled. By those who study the music and play it professionally.

So, among a self-selecting group with a personal investment to have a certain bias, they have that bias.

Sounds a lot like Schoenberg experts, really, and with same reaction from the average Joe. ("What is that noise?")

Meanwhile, Bach and Mozart and Beethoven all rise and fall in the estimation of experts over time. But not Hendrix. Never Hendrix.

Opinions about art change regardless of the field, with Shakespeare being all but forgotten at one point and Christo being all the rage at others. But everyone always agrees that Coltrane is the Alpha and the Omega.

I suppose it's not settled for those who either, a) don't have the ears to grasp it for themselves

In other words, you feel your aesthetic sense shows you possess keen judgment. No one could possibly hear as well as you and then disagree with you!

or b) rely on their "prof" to tell them what to think.

Actually, I mentioned him only because I was casting back to what my various teachers in music school said about various pop figures. Frank Zappa was well regarded, for example, and one of my instructors incorporated techniques pioneered by Pete Townsend into his "classical" playing.

None of this had any influence on my opinion of Hendrix, Zappa or Townsend, none of whom I'm very familiar with. (Though I used to imitate Townsend because it's such good aerobic exercise.) To me that would be like someone telling me they like paté, and therefore deciding I like paté.

You sound like a classical music snob who looks down on jazz, but like every single one of your ilk you couldn't improvise if your life depended on it. You need to be told what notes to play, just like it appears you need to be told what to think. Pathetic.

The irony being that this paragraph reveals you both as a snob and a bully, to say nothing of a bigot and an ignoramus.

All directed at some guy who has the temerity to not have your same fanatical zeal for certain musicians.

Unlike you, sir, I am not a snob. I don't judge people because they like or play different music than I do. I won't adjudge you to be a bad musician, even though improvisation is often a cover for illiteracy, or challenge your ability to improvise because you can't do it like this "classical" guy.

In fact, the only judgment I'm going to pass is that you're rude, and lack the common sense not to comment on the Internet when you're upset.

Revenant said...

"One of my profs described him as a "fairly talented guitarist who knew one riff"."

Your prof was an ignoramus.

I have to wonder what the heck he was a professor OF, since it obviously wasn't music. One riff? Maybe he had him confused with the guy from AC/DC.

Revenant said...

Unlike you, sir, I am not a snob.

Come on, blake. Maybe you're not a snob, but you obviously wanted to start some shit. Otherwise why pass along an insulting remark from a guy none of us know, about a musician you aren't even familiar with but which several people here have expressed great admiration?

dbp said...

what do you mean by your "true self"?

I decided to answer Amba with my own blog post, so as not to clutter this thread with stuff that is only tangentially related to Ann's subject.

Palladian said...

Actually, most jazz sucks. The true genius of the human soul is in premeditation not improvisation.

Bach could kick your asses. And does.

People enjoy free jazz, The Beatles, Hendrix. They also enjoy Oreo cookies, Walmart and Pringles. That doesn't mean those things are good.

Paul said...

Blake,

You opened this can of worms with your flippant and ignorant comment so be prepared to get some blowback.

"So, among a self-selecting group with a personal investment to have a certain bias, they have that bias."

What nonsense. Serious people who do the serious work to learn and assimilate the works of people who inspire them are the most likely to be able to grasp the depth and worth of said works. No one studies Coltane's music for the great financial renumeration which is nonexistent, they study it because they are moved and inspired by his music.

"Meanwhile, Meanwhile, Bach and Mozart and Beethoven all rise and fall in the estimation of experts over time. But not Hendrix. Never Hendrix. all rise and fall in the estimation of experts over time. But not Hendrix. Never Hendrix."

Because of course Hendrix is just a crude black I suppose.

I am not an "expert" in classical music, but my understanding is that Bach and Mozart and Beethoven are pretty much understood to be firmly ensconced amongst the pantheon of great composers of all time? I guess I've been misinformed.

"But everyone always agrees that Coltrane is the Alpha and the Omega."

Every serious jazz musician (or do you assume jazz isn't serious music?) recognizes that Coltrane is among the greatest, if not THE greatest, improvisers in the history of the music. He changed the music radically with his approach to harmony and influenced everyone who came after him.

"In other words, you feel your aesthetic sense shows you possess keen judgment. No one could possibly hear as well as you and then disagree with you!"

Bullshit. I never said any such thing and that's a childish interpretation of my words, but any one who says Hendrix only knew one riff either can't hear or is disingenuous. If I told you Mozart only knew one chord you would be well within your rights to express the same reaction.

"None of this had any influence on my opinion of Hendrix, Zappa or Townsend, none of whom I'm very familiar with. (Though I used to imitate Townsend because it's such good aerobic exercise.) To me that would be like someone telling me they like paté, and therefore deciding I like paté."

Then why interject such an ignorant an inflammatory comment into the discussion about someone who you admit you know little about? Tis better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. I think you did it so you could sniff in disdain at this discussion of lowbrow music and show off your conservatory trained credentials. Your comment reeked of arrogance, ignorance, and yes, snobbery.

""You sound like a classical music snob who looks down on jazz, but like every single one of your ilk you couldn't improvise if your life depended on it. You need to be told what notes to play, just like it appears you need to be told what to think. Pathetic.""

"The irony being that this paragraph reveals you both as a snob and a bully, to say nothing of a bigot and an ignoramus.

All directed at some guy who has the temerity to not have your same fanatical zeal for certain musicians."

No it reveals me as someone who is calling out a snob and ignoramus for posting a snobbish ignorant statement. And I stand by my words. You are a classical music snob who knows nothing about jazz or the music of Hendrix (who by the way Zappa felt was the best electric guitarist of all time)and if you were presented with a set of chord changes and told to solo over them would be helpless. I freely admit that if asked to sight read a difficult classical piece that I would fail at the task. But I never put my nose in the air and disparage classical music or the experts in the field, as you did when you exposed your haughty stupidity in your initial careless an uninformed comment.

"Unlike you, sir, I am not a snob. I don't judge people because they like or play different music than I do. I won't adjudge you to be a bad musician, even though improvisation is often a cover for illiteracy, or challenge your ability to improvise because you can't do it like this "classical" guy."

Oh that's rich. You started out by not only judging but mocking the accepted giants in the field of rock and jazz music, which is one HUGE red flag that we're dealing with an ignorant snob of the highest order. And improvisation a cover for illiteracy? Where do you come up with such garbage? Hendrix probably couldn't read well, if at all, but what on earth does that matter? He could develop original idea after idea in an improvised solo. And there are no "illiterate" jazz musicians because there is no way to negotiate the sophisticated harmonies of modern jazz without knowing all the chords and modes in all keys inside and out. I could easily respond that relying on written music is a cover for someone with absolutely no original voice or creativity. But unlike you I can respect an art form with a different set of parameters and requirements.

"In fact, the only judgment I'm going to pass is that you're rude, and lack the common sense not to comment on the Internet when you're upset."

So finally let me add hypocrisy to my list of charges leveled against you. And may I suggest you would do well to stick to your field of expertise and avoid making haughty and foolish comments about things about which you know little but presume to be qualified to pass judgment on anyway do to some imagined superior sensibility.

Paul said...

"Actually, most jazz sucks. The true genius of the human soul is in premeditation not improvisation.

Bach could kick your asses. And does.

People enjoy free jazz, The Beatles, Hendrix. They also enjoy Oreo cookies, Walmart and Pringles. That doesn't mean those things are good."

That's so stupid it's breathtaking, but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were drunk when you posted that.

somefeller said...

I have to wonder what the heck he was a professor OF, since it obviously wasn't music. One riff? Maybe he had him confused with the guy from AC/DC.

Don't you be mocking Angus Young in my presence. And you only need one riff, if that riff is made of gold and makes you a millionaire.

William said...

Don't trust anyone on a good high to comment accurately on the efficacy of a drug. The more objective analysis is offered by their neglected children. A similar observation can be offered about music. I have a totally unrealistic appreciation of the Beadles because the music was young and fresh when I was young and fresh. My parents loved Glen Miller. I can listen to him with enjoyment, but my children not so much. Glen Miller was no genius but he knew the melody of his era. Perhaps Henrix is a cut above Glen Miller--say Benny Goodman--but if many young people listen to him, I would be completely surprised.

Theo Boehm said...

blake: As someone with a reasonably good musical education, who was a professional for a while, and who still makes his living in music, I recommend that opinions about music be couched in vague, general, and positive terms. In other words, try to be amusing, and don't say too much. Better yet, don't say anything at all.

Most people painfully discover that if you have an opinion about music, 90% of the time you will bore people with it, and of the remaining 10%, 9% will disagree with you, and the 1% who might be on your side will stare into space waiting for the chance to tell you how much more wonderful their opinion is than yours.

Middle-class propriety in the past forbade discussing religion, politics or sex among polite company. Now we won't shut up about them. And of the trio of sex, drugs, & rock n' roll, the last will certainly get you in the most trouble.

This is especially true about Boomer rock n' roll. For my part, when I go on about 17th century temperaments and their relationship to contemporary rhetorical theory, or perhaps start musing about what has become of Messiaen's modes of limited transposition, well, everyone's eyes glaze over, and I'm safe from either attack or anyone knowing what the hell I'm talking about.

If I make witty little Wagner jokes, I start getting, "Opera sucks the big one, man."

And if I, like you, start in with some remark about a 60's icon, well, you can see what powerful Goetia that is to evoke the Pauls of this world.

And none of us want that, do we?

Theo Boehm said...

P.S.—What William said above.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Ah yes Theo, better to condescend to the little people eh? After all your vast knowledge of some arcane and recondite corner of an obscure artistic specialty renders your opinions simply beyond the ken of the unwashed, unsophisticated, but emotionally charged rabble.

Your whole comment's point was to show off how smart and sophisticated you are wasn't it?

"or perhaps start musing about what has become of Messiaen's modes of limited transposition, well, everyone's eyes glaze over"

Of course people's eyes glaze over. Nobody likes a self indulgent fop. Now if you are at the annual meeting of The Messiaen's Modes of Limited Transposition Society you could be expected to enthuse with like minded individuals on the topic of common interest, but otherwise bringing up such a subject is simply a naked cry for attention. "Hey mom, look how smart I am!!" And that my friend, is pathetic.

I guess forty years of daily practice for hours and thirty years of earning a living as an instrumentalist means nothing if I can't show off at some cocktail party chattering on about some utterly useless an uninteresting piffle solely for the exercise of showing how effing smart I am.

That's great that you have "a musical education", and you and Blake should hook up and show off together sometime. But you would be well advised to avoid making ignorant and condescending comments about music that you do not understand and cannot play within earshot of someone who is an expert in the topic.

It won't be me. That's for sure. I'll be, you know, actually PLAYING music somewhere. Being paid for it and enjoying myself immensely. Or I'll be home practicing, or writing, or recording, and occasionally coming up for air to read what some insecure elitist twit has to say on some blog.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

If we beamed out any form of music to contact alien worlds to let them know our greatness, my dark horse pick would have to be Vince Guaraldi who wrote the scores for Peanuts. Odd pick you may say, but I can't think of anyone in my generation that grew up in the 60's who isn't immediately transported back to a point in time in their blissful youth upon hearing "Linus and Lucy", "Christmas Time is Here", or "Skating".


Here is a good read about the backdrop to the music of the "precious little existentialists".

Who knows how many kids — and I'm sure one of them — A Charlie Brown Christmas has turned on to jazz. In fact, I'd bet ACBC introduced more people to jazz than Miles Davis' ubiquitous, iconic Kind of Blue. Just like Charles M. Schulz's cartoons, Guaraldi's music doesn't condescend to kids one bit. Children — and people in general — have significantly better taste than the media often give them credit for, and that realization is one of the many joys of hearing this music. (Fact: this quintessential Christmas album has absolutely no sleighbells on it.) Today, those Peanuts cartoons would be saddled with vapid synth diddling by some cynical, tin-eared hack with a Pro Tools rig. "Thank God the kids get to hear something good on television," Guaraldi drummer Colin Bailey told the Dallas Observer's Robert Wilonsky in 1998. "The shit they listen to now is all brain-dead. It's good to have something that may jolt them toward a better life."

garage mahal said...

Make that "precocious little existentialists".

Theo Boehm said...

First of all, Paul, you are an asshole.

Second, I earned my living for some time playing. But I gave it up for what I really wanted to do, which is making musical instruments. I do that to this day at the highest professional level.



Third, for the sake of Althouse not wanting the F-word, I removed my suggestion of what you, Paul, should do to youself.

I actually disagree with blake. Hendrix was very good, and his premature death was a great loss. But if I were to disagree with blake, I would do it in a polite way, and not barge in and berate him like the overbearing idiot you, Paul, obviously are.

And, yes, I am smarter and more sophisticated than you.

blake said...

Come on, blake. Maybe you're not a snob,

Gee, thanks, Rev. Maybe you're not a(n) [noun designed to insult].

A snob looks down on others for their tastes. Who has done that here? Me, who has expressed the most mild disinterest, or the two of you, who've clearly expressed that something is seriously wrong with someone who doesn't share your taste? (Because that is what you're claiming here: If I really KNEW His Works, I would either idolize him or be demonstrating my utter lack of musicianship.)

If I had said, "I don't really care for pistachio ice cream, and it makes my mom throw up," would you rally around someone to defend the honor of pistachio ice cream? Would that make me a snob?

but you obviously wanted to start some shit.

Actually, I mentioned that I personally liked the Monterey Pop performance, but not the Woodstock one. Not exactly a Philippic.

Otherwise why pass along an insulting remark from a guy none of us know,

Because the topic at hand was all the swell stuff that LSD has done for us, and Hendrix was being used without challenge to demonstrate the creativity-boosting powers of LSD on the history of music.

My only point was that he's not universally accepted as having made great contributions to music. And, in the larger sense, that the music of that LSD-fueled era of the late '60s is most likely a footnote (if that) in the history of Western music, not heralding anything momentous.

I'll stand by that extremely uncontroversial statement.

And we ALL use opinions from "some guy none of us know" ALL the time here. In the years I spent studying music, that was the only time I could recall Hendrix coming up. (I remember being somewhat surprised both at the assertion and the number of people in the room that agreed with it.)

I'm pretty sure I've used the old "Vivaldi didn't write 500 concertos, he wrote one concert 500 times" line here before. I'm sure I've never been flamed for it.

about a musician you aren't even familiar with

It's interesting how a "passing familiarity" has become "aren't even familiar" with. No, I've heard some recordings, seen a handful of taped performances and riffed off "Purple Haze" and "Watchtower" and a few other hits. I realize that's a small fraction of the most visible part of his catalog, which is why I never really have formed an opinion.

Beyond, that is, that his music doesn't really resonate with me, so I never pursued it aggressively, pretty much like 99% of the music I hear.

If I said that about, say, Britney Spears, I wouldn't get a single objection. And somehow, I'm the snob?

In fact, we all say stuff like this all the time about various things we don't like, and the response is usually a humorous faux-outrage among those who feel differently.

Recently, e.g., Althouse expressed favor for "Memory" and I responded with "And I used to respect you!". Then she expressed her opinion and I expressed mine, and that was that. That's how adults talk.

but which several people here have expressed great admiration?

Yes, this was a mistake. Not since Junior High have I seen this kind of identification with a celebrity/musician. (We had a kid you could make cry by insulting the Beatles, and a few others who would take a swing at you if you said something bad about KISS.)

I forgot the rarefied air that jazz musicians breathe, which was stupid of me, since it's the exact same air that all the "serious" musicians at school breathed. Only these privileged few are allowed to have opinions.

In Paul's universe, the only legitimate musicians are the ones who agree with him. He's projected his snobbery on to me and he's the music version of Cyrus, dealing in assertions and name-calling.

And you find this worthy of defense?

blake said...

Theo,

I think you've mentioned it here before, but what sort of instruments do you make?

Fatmouse said...

Getting back to LSD. It amuses me that almost all of the BS "consciousness" nonsense that acid-heads blather on about is similar to the concept of enlightenment in Buddhism.

Except while enlightenment requires massive amounts of meditation and study spent over multiple lifetimes, druggies just need to pop a couple pills and wheeee instant understanding!

Of course it doesn't work that way, any more than getting drunk makes you more attractive. You may have the illusion that it's so, but in the end, you're just more messed-up than ever.

To paraphrase the Book of the Subgenius, you're pulling the wool over your own eyes.

Oh, and 60's music sucks. Hippie rock will finally keel over dead when the Boomers do.

Paul:

"Because of course Hendrix is just a crude black I suppose."

Statements like that make me with there was a SLAP function on the internet. Race baiting? Go back to Kos.

Christ, what if the damned Boomers were born fifty years earlier? Would we have people squealing about how totally classic "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" was and how the Charleston was the height of dancing?

Oligonicella said...

"I'd rather a world of wall-pissing drunkards than a world full of people screaming that the side of the building is dissolving into liquid cats that are eating their toes and shitting black rainbows."

Since that's not what acid does, it's obvious you're writing from a point of ignorance.

Nor is it acid in the sense of battery acid. Unless of course, you believe your cells are being eaten out from the inside by DNA.

Fatmouse said...

Crap, forgot to add -

Musical Snobbery in order of intolerability:

Classical Snobs > Jazz Snobs > Rock Snobs

I think the generally amicable nature of the classical snobs comes from the fact that most internal arguments have long since been wrapped up - you're not likely to hear many extended "Chopin could kick Schumann's ass!" battles. The snobbery aspect is usually turned to those with no interest in the classics at all.

On the other hand, the rock elitists are constantly waging civil war amongst themselves, fighting over who was the better bassist, which concert was the best, what genre is superior, etc., keeping them at a constant psychotic rage level while defending their opinions as gospel.

Palladian said...

"I think the generally amicable nature of the classical snobs comes from the fact that most internal arguments have long since been wrapped up - you're not likely to hear many extended "Chopin could kick Schumann's ass!" battles. The snobbery aspect is usually turned to those with no interest in the classics at all."

Oh don't be so sure. I've aroused fervent ire by suggesting that most of Mozart's oeuvre is twee, repetitive crap. In fact, aside from wonderful Haydn, and much of Beethoven (excluding the middle period), and a couple of others, the Classical period is of little interest.

The Baroque period was the apotheosis music. The middle ages and the Renaissance were wonderful periods, far more interesting than Mozart or Chopin. And Schoenberg was great when he was great.

I know, I know. Fighting words.

"Since that's not what acid does, it's obvious you're writing from a point of ignorance."

Yes, forgive me. My faux acid vision was way too interesting. For the sake of accuracy, here's a revision:

I'd rather a world of wall-pissing drunkards than a world full of people moving their hands back and forth in front of their face and saying "Trails!"

Better.

Theo Boehm said...

Thank you, Fatmouse, for some real words of wisdom.

I confess to being a classical snob, but in reality I'm interested in all kinds of music, as long as it's good.  If you have anything like a professional preparation in any art, it tends to give you a different perspective than the person who hasn't studied it.  You are also always open to the charge of snobbery, especially in music.  So, call me a snob.  Those who do so I'll call ignoramuses right back.

Being one of those amicable classical snobs, I just don't have the stomach to take on many idiots with musical manure on the brain.  I just want people to enjoy the good things I have been fortunate to experience.  In this regard I say to Palladian, who has about the same level of fine arts education and training as I do in music, that his opinions don't bother me in the slightest, as they have a certain amount of intelligence and integrity behind them.  I think he is missing out on some things, but I suppose he would say the same about my appreciation of art.  The point being that if you have a modicum of sensitivity and training in one art, ideally you are aware of other arts as well, and you will probably not have really stupid tastes in the bargain.

Being in the business I am, I have also heard enough of "my teacher is better than your teacher," or "player X is way better than player Y..." to last several lifetimes.  People who listen to music only through the ears of their instrument or their particular way of playing or singing are not listening to music at all. They are actually seeking ego gratification, and cutting themselves off from one of the best experiences in life— listening to music instead of projecting their own little snotty selves onto it.

And, as one of those Boomers who was actually there in Berkeley in '68, I can tell you that drugs never gave anyone I knew instant enlightenment, just as Fatmouse says.  Amba has a very interesting thread about the inwardness of '60's journeys, and how that is lacking these days.  Her take seems to be that judicious use of drugs can be a tool for gaining perspective, but that is about it.  Having similar experiences, I agree.

It's too bad that all this sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, not to mention peace and love, were really illusions in the end, and we are left with those unchanging realties we worked so hard to pretend were not there.

blake said...

Palladian's tastes pretty much mirror my own, it seems (well, you know, except in that one area). "Twee" is an excellent word to describe a lot of Classical music.

Mr. Forward said...

"It don't mean a thing
If it ain't got that Swing"

Duke Ellington

Revenant said...

Bach could kick your asses. And does. People enjoy free jazz, The Beatles, Hendrix. They also enjoy Oreo cookies, Walmart and Pringles. That doesn't mean those things are good.

I guess that depends on what you think the purpose of music is. If it is to bring pleasure to those who listen to it, Paul McCartney is, objectively speaking, far superior to Bach.

Revenant said...

Except while enlightenment requires massive amounts of meditation and study spent over multiple lifetimes, druggies just need to pop a couple pills and wheeee instant understanding!

That's not necessarily counterintuitive. After all, you can either spend years learning mental exercises that enable you to partially ignore sensations of pain... or take some aspirin. Maybe what those Buddhist monks are really doing, albeit without knowing the mechanics of it, is learning how to trick their brains into the correct electrochemical state that gives that "one with the universe" feeling -- while various psychotropics just directly cause it.

Theo Boehm said...

I guess that depends on what you think the purpose of music is. If it is to bring pleasure to those who listen to it, Paul McCartney is, objectively speaking, far superior to Bach.

There is nothing objective about it whatsoever. I derive far more pleasure from Bach than McCartney. You may experience the opposite. This is an example of the essence of subjectivism, which was something of my point in earlier comments.

You cannot prove that your pleasure is superior to mine, nor I the opposite, although as a former professional musician who makes his living designing and making musical instruments, I think rather highly of my own musical sensibilities. I will never convince you of that, however.

Nor can you prove by popularity that one music is superior to another. All you can say is that something is more popular.

Music and art, unlike political candidates, do not require a majority for their existence. Arts only require enough people to sustain them. And there are still enough people like me who value Bach and the rest of our admittedly fading tradition of art or concert music to keep it going for the moment.

I cannot prove it, but I suspect there will still be enough people who thrill at the timeless intellectual and emotional transcendence of Bach long after the popular music of this age has faded into obscurity and is replaced by other equally popular kinds of music whose adherents wonder who could stand to listen to all that old Boomer crap.

But that's not going to happen for a while, is it?

(Quote from my 13-year-old: "Paul McCartney? He was one of the Beatles, right? Nobody listens to that any more! He's older than you. He's old enough to be my grandfather. Nobody born in the 90's wants to hear that!")

Revenant said...

There is nothing objective about it whatsoever. I derive far more pleasure from Bach than McCartney. You may experience the opposite.

Sure. But more people enjoy The Beatles than enjoy Bach -- which makes The Beatles objectively better than Bach at the task of bringing pleasure to listeners.

Nor can you prove by popularity that one music is superior to another.

Untrue. Unpopular music has, by its very nature, failed to bring pleasure to very many people.

I cannot prove it, but I suspect there will still be enough people who thrill at the timeless intellectual and emotional transcendence of Bach long after the popular music of this age has faded into obscurity

Bach has already faded into obscurity. Few people can identify his music, either by the name of the composition or by the name of the composer.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...

Revenant, I'm responding to what you wrote, not perhaps what you meant.

You said, "if it is to bring pleasure to those who listen to it...."  You wrote nothing about popularity.  And as I said, the pleasure an art brings is not dependent upon its popularity.  I am talking about the interior experience of music; you are talking about iTunes sales.

More people in the world undoubtedly get pleasure from drinking Coke than Chateauneuf de Pape.  Does this make Coke "superior?"  They do different things, just as McCartney and Bach do.  But there is no question that the total amount of human pleasure, if you could quantify such a thing, is greater among Coke drinkers worldwide.  I drink both, and can appreciate them, but on their own terms and under very different circumstances.

The difficulty with your argument is that you make a category mistake.  My criterion is refinement of aesthetic pleasure as experienced by me, yours is sheer numbers in the wider world.  You assign superiority or inferiority on that basis, while I cheerfully admit that the ways I respond to music and judge it are subjective, but subjective with a considerable amount of musical learning and logic behind them that most people have no idea about.

You will also notice that I attempted in my comments so far to refrain from assigning rank to music.  My view is chacun à son goût, but, please, don't tell me about how you don't care for what floats my boat, and I will return the favor.

Those who talk about Bach should understand that he was NEVER popular, and, indeed, was regarded in the later 18th century with disdain among the few educated people who were aware of him.  He was an obscure and irritating figure from the musical past who had yet to be promoted to a 19th century cultural icon.  Few people ever could identify his music or the composer, except to squirm or to flee.  There are, in fact, a number stories from the 18th century of people coming to blows about the worth of ol' J.S.  "Out! Out! You dog!" is a quote from one of his admirers to an anti-contrapuntal philistine who said bad things about the late Kapellmeister.

A bit more gently I say adieu, farewell, auf wiedersehen.  A few of us—enough, I think—will be happy to sip a little '89 Chateau de Beaucastel and listen to Gustave Leonhardt play the English Suites or the Goldberg Variations, while you and your friends can drink rum 'n Coca-cola and listen to McCartney doing rock 'n rola.

Chacun à son goût.

Revenant said...

You said, "if it is to bring pleasure to those who listen to it...." You wrote nothing about popularity.

Popularity is a function of the pleasure music brings to those who listen to it. The reason classic rock radio stations have more listeners than classical music radio stations is a function of the fact that the average person doesn't derive much pleasure from hearing classical music. It is background noise, not entertainment.

And as I said, the pleasure an art brings is not dependent upon its popularity.

Correct, but since popularity is dependent on its ability to give pleasure we can measure music's ability to give pleasure by measuring its popularity among those who have heard it. Virtually everybody in the western world has heard both Bach and the Beatles (or, more generally, classical music and rock music). The latter is much more popular than the former. That is hard evidence that the latter is better at providing pleasure to listeners than the former.

A few of us—enough, I think—will be happy to sip a little '89 Chateau de Beaucastel and listen to Gustave Leonhardt play the English Suites or the Goldberg Variations, while you and your friends can drink rum 'n Coca-cola and listen to McCartney doing rock 'n rola.

I'm sure that sentence makes you feel quite secure in your music snobbery. From my perspective, of course, I get the same amount of pleasure as you do and spend a lot less money doing it -- and can more easily share the experience with other people without boring them.

blake said...

And are, objectively, just as snobbish.

Theo Boehm said...

Revenant: You may call me a snob. I call you an offensive ignoramus.

Sorry, but I inhabit musical places you obviously cannot imagine. Some of us are NOT interested in what the "average person" experiences, but in the very best that the human intellect and spirit can produce.

You obviously are content with average. From what I understand the average IQ is 100. That about right for you?

Some of us also have musical training, and if that makes you resentful or you are bored, well, that is very much your own little problem, isn't it? My friends and I enjoy the musical world we inhabit. You have NO idea about it, which is not the only thing you have no idea about.

And it frankly doesn't cost me too much to listen to Bach or a lot of other composers, because I can play their music on my piano. When's the last time you read through the Italian Concerto? If you had a keyboard with enough keys, I'd be happy to play it for you.

On the other hand, you'd have to know what a keyboard is that's not connected to a computer, wouldn't you?

You are perfectly welcome to listen to whatever you want to. It's a free country.

For my part, I'll continue my snobbish ways and play and listen to what pleases me.

And you can go to hell.

Revenant said...

And are, objectively, just as snobbish.

If you want to call me a snob for preferring liquor and rock music to expensive wine and Bach, well, I guess you can go ahead and do that.

But I'm not putting on the pretense of being more refined and cultured than the rest of you, the way you and Theo are. So in that sense I'm certainly not a snob. :)

Revenant said...

You may call me a snob. I call you an offensive ignoramus. Sorry, but I inhabit musical places you obviously cannot imagine

Hint: if you're going to feign outrage at being called a snob, try not to immediately follow that up by proclaiming how far beyond the ken of ordinary folk your vastly superior musical sensibilities are. It doesn't really work.

Classical music fans aren't smarter or better-educated than rock or country fans. They just have an unusual interest, like stamp collectors or model train enthusiasts. I'm sure you know all sorts of things about classical music that a normal person wouldn't know -- but there's no reason for anyone who doesn't share your enthusiasms to care about those things. You don't need special training to enjoy art.

blake said...

If you want to call me a snob for preferring liquor and rock music to expensive wine and Bach, well, I guess you can go ahead and do that.

From Answer.com: One who affects an offensive air of self-satisfied superiority in matters of taste or intellect.

It's not what you prefer that makes you a snob, it's the exclusion of others whose taste doesn't match yours.

But I'm not putting on the pretense of being more refined and cultured than the rest of you, the way you and Theo are. So in that sense I'm certainly not a snob. :)

Populism is just another form of snobbery.

One of the worst snobs I ever met used to harangue me for any expression of taste. Since I like pulp fiction and trashy horror movies from the videotape era, and he sounded like the snobs I knew in college and high school who trashed anything pop, I assumed it was because of that. And he was a generally negative guy, so mostly you heard him trashing pop culture.

He finally got himself a blog where he wrote paeans to "Friends". I was rather shocked at the time. He was essentially claiming some sort of aesthetic high ground for liking the most popular show on TV.

I've seen this over and over again. Beer drinkers seem to be largely divided into those who drink domestic and those who drink imports, and they both regard each other as completely inferior (in that respect).

Having what are traditionally considered "refined" tastes isn't necessary to being a snob.

blake said...

Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles
What makes you think you're something special when you smile?


So, Rev's point, apparently, is that artistic quality is measured by volume.

Mass * pleasure = quality.

That's objectivity!

This is how we know, for example, that Mariah Carey is going to be the greatest musician who ever lived. (Assuming that she goes on to break the other bestselling records, and using bestselling as a crude reflection of people buying what they like.)

Real life's a little messier, of course, I mean, after all, say we take a universe of two people, John and Kev.

John likes music "A".
Kev likes music "B".

We can therefore, according to Rev's formula, say music "A" is objectively equal to music "B" in quality.

Now, music "A" is longer than music "B", so that the pleasure that John gets lasts longer. It's over 15 times longer, and therefore 15 times better!

A = 15B

But wait, Kev really, really, really likes music "B". I mean, he likes it so much, he can't stop singing it. He's dreaming about it. 24/7, he's going.

John likes music "A" a great deal, but it's not something he could hum all the time even if he wanted to. If he spends two hours a week thinking about it, that's a lot.

So we'll take the 84x factor for "B"...

15A = 84B (reduces to) 5A = 28B

So, "B" is looking to be about 5 times better than "A" at this point.

But now, Kev's starting to get annoyed. Our formula doesn't factor in negative pleasure. But shouldn't that count, if it's volume that matters? What if fully a third of the people who hear "B" want to gouge out their eyes? What if Kev's co-workers want to gouge out HIS eyes, every time he comes down the hallway singing it? What if Kev starts to want to gouge his OWN eyes out but he just can't stop himself?

And, more importantly, what if Rev's formula of musical quality being "what brings pleasure to people" is a ridiculously simplified, narrow-viewed form of confirmation bias?

(For purposes of experimentation, I was assuming that "A" was Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", which is widely known even though people couldn't name it, and "B" was the classic Oscar Mayer Bologna song.)