Charles Darwin, during his five-year voyage across the world, filled notebook upon notebook of observations. The Galapagos Islands served as the setting for the most fruitful and most famous of his studies. A big part of his work was simple observation and judgment. Without advanced technology like super powered microscopes or detailed DNA analysis he was able to pen the start of modern biology just with his eyes and his mind.
Essentially inferring most of his work, he looked at animals and plants as only what they seemed to be. As technology and studies progressed to test his theories, he turned out to be startlingly right. I wonder if Darwin would be able to tell musical tastes just by looking someone up and down. Are people as easily understood as the rest of the animal kingdom?
A younger, brasher me would give a zealous “yes.” You can read someone’s character and taste as easily as a Mitch Albom book. The fit of their jeans and the lacing of their shoes could spell out their iTunes most played list with as much deliberateness and “to be” form verbs as the best selling author’s trash novels.
An older me would agree and then pause for a moment, agree again, and then finally revoke the statement. Often a victim of music profiling myself, I must fight against profiling and typecasting others. Talking about my own experience, I hope to battle against stereotyping.
Oh wow, I say, you noticed that I have corduroy shoes and skinny jeans. Congratulations yes my hair is unkempt, etc, etc. No, I don’t like Deerhunter, I think they’re more overrated than the abs-fest known as 300. No, shoegazer music is boring. Wait, they say, aren’t you so indie?
Well, yes, I am literally independent in the philosophical sense. But I think in that case, most humans are indie – forlorn in a Sartre kind of way, more precisely. But no, I like a lot of independent bands, a lot of major label bands and I think I kind of just like music . or rock and roll or something. I prefer The Stones, The Beach Boys, or even Marvin Gaye over Cold War “ass face” Kids or whatever is being hyped by the omnipresent faceless hype machine. Why do you have to try to pinpoint me? Is it a vain attempt to feel all-knowing or, gasp, in control?!
Gasp again! That’s what I do! OMG I try to feel in control … I feel like Dr. Frankenstein realizing that he himself is the monster, not the murderous and inexplicably articulate reanimated corpse. I think back to my columns, bashing jam people, punk kids, tool fans, Dave fans (still tools but for different reasons) and everyone else each week and feel kind of bad. I’m not above this nonsense, this weirdness (not The Stooges album), and I feel ashamed. We should just like music, not judge people for also liking music. It’s a unifying thing that becomes very isolating. You can count on me to try and turn a new leaf and try to be more open-minded as the fall semester starts up.