Someone on the RYM message boards asked a pointed question: what is your least favorite type of music fan? That one got me waxing so philosophical that I figured my input would be too heated for that forum, so I’m putting it here instead.
The Worst Types of Music ‘Fans’
1) Misintegrationists – people whose interests fall into one end of the musical spectrum (Christgauian generalism, The Petty Principle) yet spend the majority of their time attempting to coerce people who inhabit other ends of the spectrum (the Gitlin school, the Maximal Trilustrum) with evasive, loaded canards about how the contrasting values are ‘factually’ inferior, typically by means of moral relativism and post-structuralist disingenuity.
2) The “Five’s The Limit” Crowd – people who arbitrarily dismiss a group/performer after their third, fourth, or fifth album, deeming everything subsequent to be somehow tainted, or a product of “selling out”: a neo-Marxist anti-concept which betrays another line of incoherency. Such arguments do nothing to address the quality of the music itself on those later releases – like whether or not the songwriting well had run dry. What these ‘fans’ are really saying is that the newer material can’t compete with the historical baggage of those earlier releases; baggage which has since become subconsciously ingrained.
3) The Musical Politics of Identity crowd – people who need to label themselves through allegiance to some regimented musical identity in order to feel secure (Metalheads, PowDer PLopsters, Shoegum Br[sh]it PLopsters). Such people are typically disinterested in music for music’s sake, for they’re primarily obsessed with idiomatic citations – a reductionist process which swiftly eroded the artistry of rock following the close of the Maximal Trilustrum.
4) The “Anti-Hegemony” crowd – another post-structuralist conceit: allege the suffering of some supposedly ‘oppressed’ group of people, and adopt that ‘suffering’ as an ideology of principle; the victimology complex which perpetuates the neo-Marxist paradigm itself, of which anti-maximal Christgauians are but one bastard byproduct. Jazz rock/fusion has been a target of misplaced zeal from this indoctrinated crowd, because its idiomatic breadth and cross-cultural resonance supersedes the anti-maximalist wish to pin jazz down to a subterranean, martyrized existence; as if stalwarts from the jazz age never sought to harness their broadest potential appeal in the first place.