319 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2021
    1. Facial hair, body hair, long hair, wigs, makeup, dresses, heels, nails and lingerie are all fair game for mixing and matching.

      Cf. the Bushwick drag scene.

    2. Vemanei — whose remarks were met by snaps and murmurs of approval — said that ballroom exists specifically for dark-skinned trans people to be valued and celebrated

      This strikes me as plainly false, historically speaking. Why not say instead that ballroom was created by black and brown gay and trans folks, and that this fact should never be forgotten, especially when translated into different contexts where white privilege is sure to raise its entitled head? Why claim that dance contests and fashion shows aren't also at the heart of it? Claiming that dark-skinned people are the ones who belong first and foremost in ballroom, and that others need to 'create space for these people first' might simply reverse the racial hierarchies, rather than fostering real inclusion and genuine antiracist struggle.

    1. Two hundred and fifty-six of these tapes have been reissued posthumously as double CDs in the officially sanctioned (though often shoddily produced and mastered) Diary of the Originator reissue series. Past that there are a few dozen piecemeal retail collections of varying degrees of legitimacy along with a countless number of tapes that have yet to be anthologized but are likely still floating around in shoeboxes and glove compartments or as ghosts in the Megaupload machine.

      Another great instance of a recurring theme in Nosnitsky's work: the way in which 'the archive' doesn't always reflect the way things actually happened, or the music that was made, or the way in which it was received and perceived at the time, and distorts our retrospective understanding of all of these things.

    2. Michael Watts and Beltway 8


    1. Even when the savior fails, destroys everything, and becomes a monster, his agency overrides that of everyone else and reduces them to side stories who are swept away in the terrific power of his myth. Everyone else who could have spoken but wasn’t allowed to becomes a mere accessory to a tragic coming-of-age story.

      So a narrative in which the white saviour doesn't save anyone is still a white saviour narrative? I'm confused.

    2. And he further complicates his usage by not confining this “Muslim flavor” to the Fremen, the Native people of Arrakis. Rather, he extends it throughout the story’s universe—its peoples, religions, proverbs, and books. Advertisement

      So what's the best historical analogue to Herbert's Galactic Imperium? The Ottoman Empire? Or previous Islamic or Arabic empires? Also some Persian references, as in Shaddam IV's title 'Padishah Emperor'.

  2. Oct 2021
    1. Nas wasn't the first artist to earn this score

      Who was, in that case? And who else had earned five mics before then?

    2. Nas was a highly-buzzed-about serious young rapper making a very serious rap album about his very serious world. Along with a who's who of star producers, Nas was making a classic in the hope that it would be digested as a classic.

      The first (or at least, 'the most visible') 'classic-by-design'. Again, just great analysis.

    3. one of the earliest rap LPs that could be defined as album-oriented

      Well, what are its defining features as an album-oriented LP? Offhand, I could make a couple of guesses – it's been a while since I've listened to the album in its entirety; I remember a lot of funny skits and a general Daisy Age sensibility — but it would be nice to know that we agree on such features at the jump.

    4. For the majority of its 35-year existence, hip-hop has been consumed as a singles-oriented genre

      Which is at least reflected in the Smithsonian's anthology.

  3. Sep 2021
    1. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

      A classic topic in the philosophy of law.

    2. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

      See Stanley Fish, 'How to Write a Sentence', for an astute appreciation!

    3. one of our distinguished jurists


    4. the stores’ humiliating racial signs

      What did the signs say?

  4. May 2021
    1. Once boasting about making “50k for a verse, no album out” on Kanye West’s “Monster,”
    2. In the mid-to-late 2000s, the last remnants of the golden era of female rappers petered out. Only a handful remained on major labels, down from more than forty in the ’90s.

      Would Caramanica and Clover agree that such a golden age occurred? And if so, why don't they acknowledge its existence in their take on the history of women in hip-hop?

    3. “Boom Skit,”
    4. first single
    5. he offered her a pair of Sergio Valente dungarees in exchange for her help
  5. Apr 2021
    1. The chill playlists presuppose that listening to music is a passive experience, but one that can facilitate productivity, much in the way that setting the office thermostat to a particular temperature might make people work longer or more attentively.

      By itself that needn't be a bad thing: I certainly play certain kinds of music when I need to get shit done; it's just that that happens to be bangin' techno: https://soundcloud.com/amelielens/amelie-lens-4h-essential-mix

    2. It made me feel more agitated than relaxed, as if I were being placed on hold for an indefinite period of time—possibly the rest of my life.

      LOL YESSSSSSS. Being subjected to that stuff at Cat and Bri's coworking sessions felt like TORTURE.

    3. I am grateful for the beauty of ambient music, which intentionally prioritizes mood and feeling over melody and rhythm

      I'm glad Petrovich acknowledges the difference. 'Music for Airports' is a very different phenomenon! https://youtu.be/73PF7tpHFBY

    1. on-record shout outs
    2. his underground classic "Top Notch Hoes"
    3. arguably the most influential hip-hop DJ of this century

      This Switched on Pop podcast does a great job showing Screw's influence with just a few examples.

    1. and


    2. the question becomes what is it for, what will it make possible. Not necessarily for good or ill, but in the sense of illumination: What does it allow us to see, or to describe, that we haven’t yet made transparent to our own sense of the coming world?

      The central question here?

    3. is quite emphatically (pace J. Cole) the final nail in the coffin of the whole project of “conscious” rap

      But why say that?

    4. Could black intellectuals abandon wholesale our favored set of metaphors, drop our reflexive turns to improvisation, to discursive riffs meant to signify a kind of mimetic relationship to the sound?

      Well observed.

    5. Dear Angel of Death, by the poet Simone White
    6. Everyone has the wants that they want, and so everyone universally has opposition


    7. Girard’s triangle of mimetic desire


    8. But the music really does, somehow, sound like the future, like something that’s never been tried before, a radical experiment.

      Anybody have a track to recommend? I've never knowingly heard something as good as McCarthy claims it is.

    9. The rise of the female trap star is no longer in question; an entire wave of talent is coming up fast and the skew that they will bring to the sexual and gender politics of popular culture will scramble and recode the norms of an earlier era in ways that could prove explosive in the context of increasingly desperate reactionary and progressive battles for hearts and minds

      Will it, tthough? Cf. Davarian Baldwin, ‘Black Empires, White Desires: The Spatial Politics of Identity in the Age of Hip-Hop’, who argued that Lil' Kim's and Foxy Brown's sexually explicit lyrics didn't meet the standard even of a 'proto-feminism' (p. 242).

      But again, see https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/29/arts/music/female-rappers.html. McCarthy is suggesting a whole of inquiry for some enterprising Story Mappers...

    10. Now crews from every high school across the country compete to make viral videos of gorgeous dance routines to accompany the release of a new single.

      A whole 'nother line of inquiry suggested re. Tik-Tok and hip-hop dance.

    11. People sometimes forget that for the latter half of the Nineties and the early Aughts, dancing for a “real one” was a nonstarter.


    12. to say that they are just occupying the space formerly dominated by the boys doesn’t quite cut it
    13. the celebratory alt-feminist crunk of Princess Nokia

      Again, if Princess Nokia is trap music, then I no longer understand the boundaries of the genre.


    14. Young M.A

      Young M.A.'s music is trap music!?


    15. Make in a night what you make in a month (“Erase Your Social”)  — the percussion lands on a cymbal crash aimed at a “you” that is really “us,” the audience, who are invited to voyeuristically watch his performance (wordplay as foreplay), of which the unnamed woman is the desensitized object, but “we” are ultimately the target, the losers in the winner-take-all game of life, the suckers who work for a monthly paycheck who can’t possibly compete with the value the market has bestowed on the speaker.


      Sheek Louche's verse begins at 2:43.

    16. Jesse McCarthy
    17. “I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again,” and that he found the Windy City’s inhabitants “proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.”
    18. ludic play

      Isn't the modifier redundant?

      *ludic: ' Of or pertaining to undirected and spontaneously playful behaviour'. — OED (https://oed.com/view/Entry/110940?redirectedFrom=ludic#eid). Then again, one of the examples of use also somehow includes the phrase 'ludic play'. Still and all, the phrase carries more than a whiff of pretensiousness here.

    19. Donald Glover’s role in assisting the song to the top of the charts.
    20. William H. Gass
    21. “Mask Off”
    22. beauty

      Beauty is not one of the (admittedly, many) virtues I would associate with trap music.

    23. a necessary raw fuel, a lubricant for soothing

      Mixed metaphors? Or maybe it's not mixed to make two separate comparisons (trap is a raw fuel, trap is also a lubricant for soothing).

    24. narcocarceral

      Hey, any portmanteau in a storm, I guess.

    25. A social life strictly organized around encounters facilitated by the transactional service economy


    26. Hence the outsize importance of the latest black music (trap) in selling everything: Sweetgreen salads prepped and chopp’d by the majority minority for minimum wage, real estate roll-outs, various leisure objects with energetic connotations, the tastefulness of certain social gatherings.

      I was anticipating a reference to 'trap yoga' here…

    27. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that insofar as you’re interested in having a good time, there’s probably never been a sound so perfectly suited to having every kind of fun disallowed in conservative America

      Argument? And have you never listened to Parliament-Funkadelic, Jesse McCarthy? Or Prince?

    28. brutal

      Not: 'brutish'?

    29. showering from below


    30. cultural capital
    31. soft power
    32. the colonization of space, time, and most importantly cultural capital by the socially mediated system of images called the internet


    33. the abyss of the prison archipelago where the majority poor remained
    34. the possibilities (in fact necessity) of self-commodification

      Cf. building one's 'brand'.

    35. negative freedom
    36. Floydian vamp on the trap sound

      ? As in Pink Floyd?

    37. Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type”
    38. A preoccupation with depression, mental health, a confused and terrible desire for dissociation: this is a fundamental sensibility shared by a generation.

      IDK, is that what's coming through in all that strip-club revelry?

    39. “Percocet keep ’em motivated / Good drank keep a nigga motivated / Lortabs on my conversation / Talk a lot of bands then we conversatin’ / I was on my way to Rice Street in the paddy wagon and it had me numb / The pain from the slum had me numb” (“56 Nights”)
    40. The music records all this. It sounds like this

      McCarthy's thesis in a nutshell?

    41. For the ambitious children of the bourgeoisie, high achievers raised on Adderall, Xanax, and a raft of discreet legal narcotics, drugs are the norm just to get to sleep, to deal with anxiety, to avoid crushing bouts of abjection and the relentless pressures to exceed and excel.

      Nicely observed.

    42. In the hood, promethazine, the syrup of Houston, became the fashionable coping agent for those living in the free-fire zones of America, where turf wars regulated with cheap handguns cut down lives in a vicious spiral.

      Cf. the South and West Sides of Chicago, a world where everything is always purple: https://youtu.be/Z4ikf4kK3P8

    43. From so many points of view, then, one looks out into the Trump era with a prevailing numbness, nihilism, cruelty, ambient anxiety, disarticulation seeping in from all sides.

      Hyperventilated handwringing.

    44. warehouses not yet colonized for gentrification at the edge of town

      Cf. Porter St. (I think that's the one; there are a couple of locations off Morgan Ave.) around the corner from me in Bushwick — Story Maps Alert!!!

    45. Molly became a favorite
    46. The drug crisis initially thought to be merely a breach in the hull of the underclass confined to the black ghetto spilled out into white rural America with meth and prescription painkillers,

      Slightly mixed metaphor? The drug crisis is likened to a 'breach in the hull', but then 'spills out' like the contents that the breached hull would have contained…

    47. video for L’A Capone’s track “Round Here,”
    48. David Walker’s graphic pointers in his Appeal
    49. In the harder, street-oriented version, luxuries are replaced by what one has, which is only one another: gang signs interlock, boys on the verge of manhood huddle and show they have one another’s back.

      Haha! Cf. the Chicago Drill version:


    50. Trap videos for obvious reasons continue an extended vamp on the visual grammar developed in the rap videos of the Nineties, a grammar that the whole world has learned to read, or misread, producing a strange Esperanto of gesture and cadence intended to signify the position of blackness. In the “lifestyle” videos, the tropes are familiar, establishing shots captured in drone POV: the pool party, the hotel suite, the club, the glistening surfaces of dream cars, the harem women blazoned, jump cuts set to tight-focus Steadicam, the ubiquitous use of slow motion to render banal actions (pouring a drink, entering a room) allegorical, talismanic, the gothic surrealism of instant gratification. In the harder, street-oriented version, luxuries are replaced by what one has, which is only one another: gang signs interlock, boys on the verge of manhood huddle and show they have one another’s back. Women occasionally appear in an accessorizing role, but more often are simply absent. In the video for L’A Capone’s track “Round Here,” the indication is blunt: “Whole block got cane / But stay in your lane / Cause niggas getting changed.” Like David Walker’s graphic pointers in his Appeal, one of the key punctuation marks of this gestural grammar is the trigger finger, pointing into the camera — through the fourth wall — into the consuming eye. The very motion of the arm and finger are perversely inviting and ejecting. You are put on notice, they say. You can get touched.

      One valuable takeaway from McCarthy's 'Notes' is that he gives you a way of hearing trap music and a way of seeing its visual style — you notice things and patterns that you might not have before. But are there central tropes/clichés that he misses?

    51. In the “lifestyle” videos, the tropes are familiar, establishing shots captured in drone POV: the pool party, the hotel suite, the club, the glistening surfaces of dream cars, the harem women blazoned, jump cuts set to tight-focus Steadicam, the ubiquitous use of slow motion to render banal actions (pouring a drink, entering a room) allegorical, talismanic, the gothic surrealism of instant gratification.

      In the same way that Alfred North Whitehead is said to have claimed that all of Western philosophy could be considered a footnote to Plato, we might say that all 'lifestyle' videos are but a footnote to the video for 'Big Pimpin'. Or was there a music video that created this grammar before 'Big Pimpin'? Or a movie or other cultural product?

    52. a grammar that the whole world has learned to read, or misread, producing a strange Esperanto of gesture and cadence intended to signify the position of blackness

      This is ofc related but could make for a separate study on its own.

    53. the visual grammar developed in the rap videos of the Nineties

      Now that would make for an interesting historical study — or Story Map...

    54. The drum machine popularized by the (black and gay) “jacking” sound of Eighties Chicago and Detroit is put to use in a way that is less mechanical than its forebear, more syncopated, wavy, elastic.


    55. The drum machine popularized by the (black and gay) “jacking” sound of Eighties Chicago and Detroit

      Well, that sounds like the Roland TR-909, whereas it's the 808 sounds that are big in trap. So what is McCarthy talking about here?

    56. Rodney Carmichael, “Culture Wa
    57. It’s enough to make you wonder who the real trappers are in this town.

      This a well-worn 'insight', to say the least.

    58. disgrace their districts by failing to advocate for economic equity

      Begs the question.

    59. sub rosa

      'Under the surface/skin'

    60.  getting in formation
    61. a tone parallel that floats over the field

      ? That's a strange way to put it if all we're talking about here is a chord.

    62. the ideal of a supremely luxurious attitude toward luxury

      Not 'profligate'? 'Luxurious' works better for the wordplay, but surely 'luxurious' is meant here to signal 'profligate'.

    63. VVS diamonds
    1. But hey, who asked them?

      Ha! Somehow I missed the joke on the first two readings.

    2. Indeed, the trend in pronouns at that time was toward a leveling up, not a leveling down. By the middle of the 17th century, in response to increasing geographic and social mobility, the plural “you” had begun to crowd out the singular “thee” as the standard second-person pronoun, even for those of a lower social station. This meant that everyone would soon become, effectively, entitled — at least to the honorific second-person plural.

      Leveling up vs. leveling down.

    3. While modern activists argue that equality demands displays of equal respect toward others, the Quakers demonstrated conscientious disrespect toward everyone. Theirs was an equality of extreme humility and universally low status.

      Cf. the connotations of those who use 'nigga' omnidirectionally!

  6. Mar 2021
    1. certain historical catastrophes or frustrations

      E.g., the loss of the war in Vietnam, or the loss of the 2020 presidential election.

    1. Mary J. Blige comes through to moan about clipped wings and enemies


    2. the DJ Mustard/HBK/Ratchet sound that has been all the rage over the past 18 months


    3. the riotous Lex Luger sound dominated hip-hop in '10 and '11

      Big blind spot for me here.

    4. Yacht Rap zone


    5. mixtapes are too ephemeral

      Though websites like the Mixtape Museum can help here.

    6. today its songs don't exactly work as party starters in any room where listeners aren't already familiar with them

      Cf., by contrast, 'What We Doin'! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMAKQQY70AQ

    7. a making-of feature on the album that ran in the same issue

      Track this down!

    8. That changed once it was established that not just rap, but specific works within the genre, would have a permanent shelf life. Since then, achieving this status has become a top priority

      Great thesis. Interesting too, it goes without saying.

    9. The Chronic, All Eyez on Me, and Get Rich or Die Tryin'

      Def in the tradition of 'tall stacks of hits' rather than cohesive albums.

  7. Feb 2021
    1. The flexibility and resilience of breaking is evident in the way it incorporated electricboogie and other new moves, rather than letting itself be replaced by them.

      Once again, a more optimistic view of breaking's evolution than that of Pabon's, who speaks of 'dilution' rather than 'flexibility' or 'resilience'.

    2. By now, the circular format has opened up so far it’s become linear, for greater theatricallegibility. Less improvisation takes place as well-worn popular moves become standard. As isoften the case in the development of a dance form, acrobatic transitions are elaborated, whilethe freeze, which once concentrated personal expression, competitive gestural dialogue, andgroup style into a single significant image, has dwindled away to almost nothing and sometimeseven merges with the exit. What once was a dance for adolescents is now the terrain of youngadults, professionals whose bodies are less gangly and whose higher level of skill is commen-surate with their years of practice. Group choreography and aerial spins, reminiscent of thespectacular balancing acts of circus gymnasts, have added to breaking’s theatrical brilliance,as has the influx of electric boogie, popping, locking, ticking, King Tut, the float, and other movesthat are not break dancing per se, into the genre

      Cf. Wills Glasspiegel's Open the Circle organisation, which now brings footwork to the stage and screen.

    3. The folklore conference arranged a jam at a roller disco in theBronx, and soon after, Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver, the directors ofStyle Wars, shot a battlebetween the Rock Steady Crew and the Dynamic Rockers (later Dynamic Breakers) at a rollerdisco in Queens. The stage was set for the scene at the Roxy, a roller disco in Chelsea, inManhattan, that soon replaced the Negril as the venue for Wheels of Steel hip-hop nights.

      Story Maps Alert

    4. As an integral part of hip hop, breakingshares many stylistic features with graffiti, rapping, and scratching. Like wild-style graffiti, itemphasizes flamboyance, and the embellishment of the tag finds its parallel in the freeze. Theact of writing graffiti is, despite its acceptance on canvas at the Fifty-seventh Street galleries,an act of defacement, and breaking, in its days before media hype, was an act of obscenegestures, a threat. In both graffiti and breaking, each piece or freeze is a challenge, a call torivals to try to top this, and at the same time a boast that it is unbeatable. Graffiti, rapping, andbreaking alike celebrate the masculine heroes of the mass media —Superman and other comic-book heroes, the Saint of detective book and TV fame, athletes, kung-fu masters, and greatlovers. The obscure gestural ciphers of breaking find their parallels in the (deliberately) nearlyunreadable alphabets of wild-style graffiti, the (deliberately) nearly unintelligible thicket of raplyrics, and the (deliberately) barely recognizable music that is cut up and recombined inscratching.

      Pace Grandmaster Flash.

    5. the twodance/sport/fight forms have the same roots

      Why should we expect to find any connection to Angolan dance and martial arts in African-American breaking, given that Angola (as far as I'm aware) was not a feeding ground for North American slavery?

    6. Breaking issomething new and original, born of American ghetto culture in the seventies and (in its latestmanifestation) in the eighties, but its basic building blocks are moves from the Afro-Americanrepertory,

      Interesting to note the disagreements here among Banes, Holman, Hazzard-Donald (all in the first edition of this volume), and Pabon (second edition): my impression is that they take varying positions on how far back breaking's roots extend. [Go back and try to arrange their positions on the spectrum of possible positions).

    7. The sense of inclusiveness, of allbeing in on a fun time together (“Everybody say ho!” “This is the way we rock the house!” “Iam! We are!”), of turn-taking, is there both in the rap and in the dance.

      Not exactly earth-shaking, but certainly worth noting.

    8. The structure of the rap, with its play of quick, varyingrhythms going on and off the beat within a steady four-square pulse,

      ? Is Banes simply describing the accented and unaccented syllables here?

    9. The main thing about the freeze was that it shouldbe as intricate, witty, insulting, or obscene as possible. “You try to put your head on your armand your toenails on your ears,” explains Ken of the Breakmasters crew. “When you spin on yourhead,” says another b-boy. “When you take your legs and put them in back of your head outof the spin.” A dancer might twist himself into a pretzel, or strike a cocky salute. He would quotethe sexy poses of a pinup girl, or perhaps present his ass to his opponent in a gesture ofcontempt. Through pantomime, he might extend the scatological insult even more graphi-cally, pretending to befoul his opponent. Or he might hold his nose, telling the other guy hestinks. He might put his hand to his spine, signaling a move so good it hurts. Sometimes thedancers in the opposing crew joined in, razzing the performer from the sidelines.

      Cf. Hazzard-Donald on signifyin', the dozens, and competitive one-upmanship in general (p. 509 in this volume).

    10. Sally Banes

      So ... Sally Banes is referring to herself here in the third person!?

    11. The only crews to survive from the late 70s early 80s were the Rock Steady crew, TheDynamic Rockers from Queens, and the Floormasters who then reformed to become The NewYork City Breakers. The Dynamic Rockers later changed their name to the Dynamic Breakers.The New York City Breakers and Rock Steady are obviously the most successful of all the crewsto emerge in the early middle 1980s.

      And so...?

    12. Breakers like Buck Four, whose basementwas used for many breakdance meetings and get-togethers and practices on Decatur Avenuein the Bronx,

      Story Maps Alert!

    13. Kung Fu, with its imitation of animal movements,

      Too sweeping; kung fu is not simply synonymous with animal styles!

    14. The “Chuch Center,” famous for breakdance battles on 1159 Second Avenue in Manhattan,was one of the places where the “Nigger Twins,” “Clark Kent” and “Cool Herc” were known toappear for performances.

      Story Maps Alert!

    15. likeCool


    16. Also made popular by James Brown were the bridges or breaks (in tempo and rhythm) insongs.

      Really? Bebop musicians had nothing to do with its popularity, and did nothing to advance the art of the break?

    17. James Brown brought a quality toAmerican Black music which had been missing since tribal Africa.


    18. The films and television shows that breakersare now appearing in work in very much the same way.

      Cf. Jorge ‘Popmaster Fabel’ Pabon, ‘Physical Graffiti: The History of Hip-Hop Dance’, in Forman and Neal (2012), who's much more pessimistic about these developments and their impact on breaking as an art form.

    19. Therefore the Russkies would have to immigrate millions of Black Africans to Russia,and a few million Spanish, show nothing but Bruce Lee and Kung Fu films, wait a couple ofhundred years and then battle us!


    20. He borrowed moves like drops, squats, sweeps, splits, tumbles,and flips and added them to his dance routines.


    21. were digging on

      The frequent employment of hip-hop slang (and here, generic streetwise slang in general) is grating. Not saying there isn't a place for it, but for my money, this is one of those attempts that doesn't work.

    22. In 1872 ragtime composer Arthur Marshallwas quoted as saying, “If a guy could really do it, he sometimes looked as if he was being towedaround on ice skates. The performer moves forward without appearing to move his feet at allby manipulating his toes and heels rapidly.” If that’s not an early moon walk, then what is?Or how about this? A dance that appeared around the turn of the century in Black minstrelshows called Stepping on the Puppy’s Tail also had an amazing resemblance to the moon walk.Stepping on the Puppy’s Tail was described as moving each foot alternately backwards “like ahorse pawing the ground.” It just goes to show there’s nothing new under the sun, or in thiscase under the moon.

      Cf. Katrina Hazzard-Donald on the dance she knew as 'the creep'.

    23. Battles. Here’s another important connection to breaking that has existedthroughout American dance history. The competition. Every dance form done first by youngBlack men from the jiggy contest on the plantations of Texas in 1850 to tap dancing ofthe 20s to the jitterbug of the 30s and 40s to breaking today has always been about who wasthe best.

      Cf. Katrina Hazzard-Donald, ‘Dance in Hip-Hop Culture’, in this same volume. Rather than simply noting the gendered aspect of various dance styles, she tries to connect their waxing and waning to an explanatory social context, as well as exploring the social significance of the waxing/waning of partnered dancing, 'apart dancing', competitive/agonistic dancing, formation dancing, etc.

    24. African dance was about leaps, hops, skips,falls, drops and turns done to unrelenting tribal beats and rhythms.

      Short on detail and nuance here — was all African dance like this?

    25. Roman style

      That's a pretty unhelpful description, art-historically speaking.

    26. n the spring of 1975 the 77th Street fountain in New York City’s Central Park was the placeto be.

      Story Maps Alert...

    27. The vainglorious boasting, sexual innuendo (recently labeled sexist), and mocking commentary on awide range of topics including social issues, racism, economics and politics have existed in Trinidadiancalypso for at least sixty years. Trinidian calypso, with its high level of improvisation and verbal dexter-ity requirements, was the most influential musical form in the English-speaking Caribbean until the early1970s commercial emergence of Jamaican reggae

      Good point!

    28. It encom-passes a highly functional system of symbols that affect individual identity development,peer-group status, and intergroup dynamics and conflict.

      Someone just committed sociology.

    29. Despite the many continuities and similarities to earlierdances, hip hop represents a clear demarcation between generations in ways previouslyunknown in African American dance culture.

      Could the same be said for Chicago footwork?

    30. this unpredictabilityhas a certain logic that calls forth praise and admiration

      ? This whole passage is a bit vague.

    31. earth-centeredness


    32. a rhythm-and-blues artist,

      Not: funk? Hazzard-Donaldson appears to be underplaying his status as a musical innovator.

    33. s well as traditional characteristics such as percussivephrasing, polyrhythm


    34. I have also observed the use of tradi-tional opposition or counterpoint


    35. Thisexuberance was fed by the celebration of the individual bound by in-group solidarity,community accountability, and cooperation


    36. even watered down, hip hop’s influence will have profoundand enduring effects on American culture

      Bland valedictorianism.

    37. ost mainstream Americans will never see the subtlecodes, gestures, and meanings of hip hop as they are displayed in African American commu-nities


    38. confrontive

      Not: confrontational?

    39. Movement into the mainstream negatedits status as countercultural by redefining it from a subcultural form to one widely acceptedand imitated, a move that inadvertently linked breakers with the society that had previouslyexcluded them.

      So what?

    40. Far more acrobatic than either preceding or subsequent hip hop dance forms, withoutcompetition breaking loses its thrust, its raison d’être.


    41. (a recycled version of the late 1950s, early 1960s dance the creep)


    42. Dance moves such as locking (later known on theEast Coast as pop-locking), the robot, and the spank, along splits and rapidly revolving spinscombined with unexpected freezes, were part of waack’s outrageous style

      Pabon (2012) discusses many of the same moves, but never uses the term waack. Why?

    43. it was a purely male expression and rarely performed by females

      Another falsifiable claim!

    44. and expectations of conspicuous consumption

      This isn't rooted in any discussion of specific historical events or trends; one could throw the phrase 'expectations of conspicuous consumption' into almost any discussion with sociological pretensions going back to any era since the advent of agriculture, surely!

    45. By the late 1960s and early 1970s popular music and dance had become increasingly polit-ical as the industrial base that supported much black cultural creation eroded; the politicizedforms of popular music and dance were successfully challenged by the apolitical, slick danceand music called disco. Disco gave voice to a newly empowered economic strata, the yuppie,and the midlevel service worker.12Despite the social, political, and economic accomplish-ments that their grandparents and parents had struggled for, African American youth inher-ited economically unstable and eroded ground for their hopes and dreams. Vicious attackson all phases of the black movement deprived this generation of a viable social movementthrough which to work against their frustrations and for their economic needs. Where wouldthis generation of African American youth find employment? Where would they find theworking, productive male role models so necessary to the health of any community? Withwhat material would they create their dreams? In the midst of rapidly worsening social condi-tions, how could this generation find meaning in their community’s traditional music anddance forms as their predecessors had? Would they create utterly new dance and music formsthat spoke more directly to their unique experiences in a world without its former industrialbase? In this era of African American male economic insecurity, of popular conspicuousconsumption (e.g., the brazen display of designer labels and brand names), of widening gapsbetween rich and poor, and of a moribund social movement for black and minority inclu-sion, hip hop emerged

      Fascinating connections drawn--but also, surely, in an all-too-sweeping, pseudo-historical way.

    46. the politicizedforms of popular music and dance were successfully challenged by the apolitical, slick danceand music called disco. Disco gave voice to a newly empowered economic strata, the yuppie,and the midlevel service worker

      A bit quick to dismiss the positive (e.g., LGTBQ+-affirming) aspects of disco here.

    47. many of them born of the sixties

      What is the 'them' here? The state-sponsored programs or the black communities? And if many of them were just born in the sixties, how was this already the period when 'a number of economic and social changes began to transform the culture-creating environment of African American life'?

    48. his bent, flat-footed version of the dances might reflect a time when uprightpostures in African American dance were not well tolerated by white audiences

      Jesus wept.

    49. In contrast the cyclical nature of African American secular dance may reflect unique socialforces; the rapidity with which the dance vocabulary is recycled and renamed in AfricanAmerican dance appears to be a by-product of the ever changing U.S. commodity market,which continually demands new dance material

      A falsifiable claim!

    50. Jeffrey Daniels,ex-member of the pop-funk vocal group Shalamar, and choreographer Toni Basil were keymembers of the dance troupe.


    51. By now, the circular format has opened up so far it’s become linear, for greater theatricallegibility.

      Cf. Pabon (2012).

    52. choosing tags partly on the aestheticgrounds that certain letters look good together
    53. The main source of the movement in breaking is black dance, but like the rest of hip hop,breaking is an exuberant synthesis of popular culture that draws on everything in its path.Some moves can be traced to the Caribbean, some to the black church, some to the Harlem ball-rooms of the twenties and thirties, some to such dances as the lindy and the Charleston, andothers to such diverse sources as kung-fu movies — which were immensely popular in theseventies —Playboymagazine, French pantomime, cartoons, comics, and TV.

      This essential hybridity is the kind of thing that Pabon (2012) seems to bemoan.

    54. and also includes dances from theCaribbean and South America

      Many of the slaves from that region came from different parts of Africa than the parts from which North American slaves came, yes?

    55. up-rock

      Not to be confused with top rocking! Cf. Pabon.

    56. a b-boy from the opposing crew would try to top him, or “burn” him

      Cf. footwork.

    57. The entry, the footwork, and the exit were all pretty formulaic, with very little room forshowing off personal style,

      Why say this? I have a feeling Pabon would beg to differ.

    58. The first article on the form, by Sally Banes with photos by MarthaCooper, appeared in the Village Voicejust before the concert,

      See above.

    59. Since May 1981, when Henry Chalfant presented the Rock Steady Crew at CommonGround in SoHo as part of a graffiti rock show

      Story Maps Alert!

    60. Or so the story goes.

      Nicely observed.

    61. The media hype about break dancing has changed both its form and its meaning. So to talkabout break dancing you have to divide it into two stages: before and after media.

      Is there a media studies scholar in the house?...

    62. Break dancing is a style of competitive, acrobatic, and pantomimic dancing. It began as a kind ofgame, a friendly contest in which black and Hispanic teenagers outdid one another with outrageousphysical contortions, spins, and back flips, wedded to a fluid, syncopated, circling body rock doneclose to the ground. Breaking once meant only dancing on the floor, but now its definition haswidened to include electric boogie, up-rock, aerial gymnastics, and all sorts of other fancyvariations

      This account appears set to run roughshod over the distinctions and individual histories delineated in Pabon's (2012) 'Physical Graffiti'.

    63. . And Michael Jackson had given the form national currency.

      Really? Simply by moonwalking?

    64. breaking is the newest part of hip-hop culture

      Why think that?

    1. Northwestern

      Northwestern. Not exactly your average diploma mill, innit?

    2. When she showed me her little house in a settlement on a hill, and I saw the bedroom, draped in Middle Eastern embroideries, that she shares only with her husband—the kids are not allowed—the sexual intensity in the air was archaic, overwhelming. It was private. It was a feeling of erotic intensity deeper than any I have ever picked up between secular couples in the liberated West.

      Why should we take your word for it, NW?

    3. The evidence is in: Greater supply of the stimulant equals diminished capacity

      What evidence? Where are the conclusive data here, exactly?

    4. young women tell me on college campuses

      Pretty biased sample if she wants to generalise to the U.S. population as a whole...

    1. Bolivian peasants, in one instance 

      Citation? I vaguely remember reading about this study...

    2. On Native Grounds

      Alfred Kazin.

    3. habitus

      William Sewell, Jr. alleges that a major problem with habitus as Bourdieu conceives of it is that habitus thus described would only maintain stasis, would never be able to generate change. Our practice is always conditioned, and our persistence in our conditioned practices ensures that succeeding generations will also be so conditioned: schemas and resources ‘simply reproduce each other without change indefinitely’. We don’t play the game; the game plays us. This seems to contradict our own experiences of agency, and our knowledge that social transformations do in fact occur, often without obvious external causes to explain them.

    4. internal reasons

      Meaning reasons related to inherent value, reasons not tied to critical sociology's standard way of explaining the rise in prestige of other cultural goods?

    5. Post-Veblen, the contemporary sociologist’s idea of the university’s purpose does not really differ in kind from the neoliberal version: to provide training in a specific field so one may get a better job and have a better life than someone without such training.

      Is that so off-target?

    6. The Editors

      I've seen this editorial anthologised as 'Marco Roth and the Editors of n+1. If I'm not mistaken, Roth was then an assistant professor of English at the New School, so he certainly would be in a good position to say something about Bourdieu's influence in contemporary English departments.

    7. Too Much Sociology

      A more accurate title would be something like 'On the Limits of Bourdieusian Cultural Sociology for Critique'.

    8. the bourgeoisie of the 1680s

      1680s, as in the English Civil War? Isn't that a bit early to be talking about an ascendant bourgeosie, even in England?

    9. cultural commentary, formerly known as “criticism,” and cultural production, formerly known as “the arts.”


    10. cultural capital

      Introduced by Pierre Bourdieu in the 1970s, the concept has been utilized across a wide spectrum of contemporary sociological research. Cultural capital refers to ‘knowledge’ or ‘skills’ in the broadest sense. Thus, on the production side, cultural capital consists of knowledge about comportment (e.g., what are considered to be the right kinds of professional dress and attitude) and knowledge associated with educational achievement (e.g., rhetorical ability). On the consumption side, cultural capital consists of capacities for discernment or ‘taste’, e.g., the ability to appreciate fine art or fine wine—here, in other words, cultural capital refers to ‘social status acquired through the ability to make cultural distinctions,’ to the ability to recognize and discriminate between the often-subtle categories and signifiers of a highly articulated cultural code. I'm quoting here from (and also heavily paraphrasing) Scott Lash, ‘Pierre Bourdieu: Cultural Economy and Social Change’, in this reader.

    11. which derived directly from Bourdieu’s maps of the field of power

      Umm, really? The up/down cool/despicable XY graphs? 'Cos those don't seem all that remniscent of Le sens pratique.

  8. Jan 2021
    1. but nonetheless fails to persuade us why we might want to take sides in the first place.

      Wait, why do we need critical sociology to tell us which side to pick, or why? Presumably one just needs to feel some sympathy with the downtrodden and a side is thus easily taken. Why does the analysis itself need to provide some motivation one way or the other?

    2. sociologized

      Not: bureaucratised?

    3. its ever-rising prestige

      'Ever-rising prestige', that is, in the contemporary academic study of literature and in the world of high art. And is it really true even in these rarified circles? What's the evidence beyond the testimony of the authors and the few works they've cited? Why should those of us who are not in those fields take the authors' word for it?

    4. sociology

      Read: 'Bourdieusian cultural sociology'.

    5. How this happened may have something to do with the ambiguity of the demystification project itself. We can see the problem in the documentary about Bourdieu

      There's something fishy about describing Bourdieu's project as being primarily one of demystification.

    6. a critique of the cultural sphere that views any claim to “expertise” as a mere mask of prejudice, class, and cultural privilege

      Well, there's a cultural-conservative critique that makes much the same claim, isn't there [Citations?]? So perhaps part of the blame could be laid there as well.

    7. few judgments about the independent excellences of works are offered, but everyone wants to know who sat on the jury that gave out the award

      A great line.

    8. Foucault

      Why classify Foucault as a sociologist, rather than as an historian?

    9. And yet despite this perpetual reevaluation of all values, the underlying social order seems unchanged; the sense of it all being a game not only persists, but hardens.

      The nub of the critique. And yet this reader points this critique at the essay itself, does he not?

    10. In sociological living, we place value on those works or groups that seem most likely to force a reevaluation of an exclusive or oppressive order, or an order felt to be oppressive simply because exclusive.

      Hence, the defence of Transformers?

    11. This is why you must support upper-middlebrow Terrence Malick one day, and the next spuriously shock everyone with a loud defense of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

      LOL — but also ... huh?

    12. the idea that art mostly expresses class and status hierarchies

      Wouldn't it be more accurate to describe it as the idea that the members of different classes possess differing access to resources, such as the competence to consume and appreciate certain kinds of aesthetic experiences, and thus that cultural capital (the abovementioned competence) roughly derives from physical capital?

    13. There is still, in other words, a space where the aesthetic may be encountered immediately and give pleasure and joy uninhibited by surrounding frameworks and networks of rules and class habits.

      I share this belief, in the main — but how could such an experience be possible apart from 'surrounding frameworks'? Adam Neely, for example (here, if I'm not mistaken), cites a number of musicological studies in which the listener interprets clusters of notes differently according to the kind of music theory they've been exposed to.

    14. and for a nation that considered Bernard-Henri Lévy an intellectual


    15. Not even university professors are as explicitly careerist as the author-ideal that literary sociology puts before us.


    16. The form of this move can be glimpsed in Guillory’s explanation for the rise of French theory during the period he covers. Theory, according to Guillory, was perfectly in keeping with a “technobureaucratic” turn in intellectual work itself and in the economy overall: “The emergence of theory,” he writes, “is a symptom of a problem which theory itself could not solve.”

      Well, that just seems like a perfectly appropriate exercise of reflexivity — although it's very difficult to understand Guillory's explanation for the rise of French theory from this description of it.

    17. In the end, it’s irrelevant whether a degree’s additional symbolic value is provided by reading Shakespeare, pledging a fraternity, or DJing a radio show on the blues.

      ? Touché, I guess...

    18. the Columbia sociologist Shamus Khan recently took issue with a self-congratulatory tone he’d noticed among educated elites when it came to their global-minded tastes, their ability to channel surf between high and low culture, European and non-Western