Firstly, come see me play at Pancho’s tomorrow night! It’s a small room and Kevin Seconds is also playing so get down there and let’s get sweaty and dumb. Show starts at 10pm. Don’t be a square, daddio. Also, if you live in Detroit, get over to Nader’s art show and see what the newest in weird looks like. There’s free beer (no bullshit, folks!). The address is 4231 St. Aubin in Detroit and the shit pops off at six tonight and tomorrow. Good work.
Okay, so there’s been a tiny amount of very understated disappointment that I haven’t mentioned the fact that Toby Jeg and his indomitable Red Scare Industries won the Reader award for best local label. That’s true. I haven’t mentioned it until now. And here’s why: that shit’s a big deal. Winning the best blog is cool (especially because there are a lot of legitimate blogs that are well put together with link after link to streamlined typo-free pages that were apparently in contention), but at the end of the day, as I’ve always maintained, this is just a dumb blog and there’s nothing that will ever change how fundamentally wack a blog is.
A blog is like rollerblading. No matter how many stairs you jump down, no matter how many flips you do, no matter how death-defying a stunt you pull off on your rollerblades, you’re still rollerblading and therefore you’re kind of a pud. The best rollerblader in the history of the universe is just by default lamer than every single person on earth that rides a skateboard or bicycle or just walks (this is not entirely true. There are certain skateboard scenarios that challenge, and often outright defeat, the lameness of rollerblading. Some of these include: the longboarder in the city, the dildo in flipflops, the juggalo on that weird twisty snakeboard thing, the guy who just carries the skateboard for looks but can’t even stand on it and finally the dumb spaz who’s always screaming and flinging his board because he can’t stick the backside 50-50 [this dude’s the worst. Get some dignity and quit pretending you’re entitled to ability. You’re acting three] but you get my point. Anyway…). In a very similar way, there’s no artistic or journalistic or creative integrity to be gained by writing a blog. Just the word ‘blog’ alone is enough of a completely distasteful gulpy-barf of a sound that even if an Amish guy came around and was asked to blindly rank the dignity of being a ‘blogger’ he’d probably put it down there with the jizzmoppers and night soil men (look it up if you dare).
Blogging is the absolutely weakest form of creative discourse that has ever been. It’s not that it’s not fun to do or potentially read, just like how if you’re a total wiener rollerblading is probably fun, it’s more that it’s just irrefutably lame. Blogging was born lame and it will always remain lame. So, while I’m thrilled to be the winner of the esteemed ‘best local blog’ award, I’m also a little bit stigmatized by the fact that I’m now officially a ‘blogger.’ It’s a little like being the most well-mannered child molester in the whole van. There’s pride, but there’s also some shame.
But winning best label is truly cool. Think about this: there are essentially three broad categories that apply to music when it comes to a ‘city’s best’ contest. Those are 1) performers 2) venues and 3) labels. Now, in the ‘performers’ category, there are myriad subcategories like ‘best solo artist’ and ‘best metal band’ et al. Similarly, the ‘venues’ category contained awards for tiny dives, big rock clubs, jazz bars, open mics etc. But Toby and Red Scare won ‘best local label.’ Period. That’s a pretty fucking huge deal, right (I mean in the context of this ultimately pretty trivial [if still cool, I don’t want anyone thinking I’m ungrateful here] list of awards)?
Well, so here’s the thing, then: The Reader honored a lot of different categories with these awards. Some were accompanied by descriptions and others were necessarily just listed as winners. Now, with ‘best blog’ that makes a ton of sense. I mean, what can you say besides ‘here’s a link to your favorite blog’? Not a lot really. I mean, the amount of journalism, paper, ink and general bullshit that would have to go into researching and writing up every winner renders that a totally futile (and ultimately unreadable) exercise.
BUT, Red Scare was just voted ‘best local label’ by the readers of the most popular free alternative paper in the third biggest city in the US, and they get not so much as a two sentence description while ‘best DJ on Twitter’ gets a write up and ‘best urinal (the Mutiny [well deserved, by the way])’ gets an in depth paragraph and a photo. That’s just ridiculous.
Now, on the surface, this is a simple matter: The ‘best local label’ award was bestowed by the public while the ‘best DJ on Twitter’ and ‘best urinal’ award are critic’s picks. I get it. You let the people do the talking and then you go ahead and hype whatever you want to anyway. That’s cool, that’s what smart people do when they get interviewed. They let the interviewer ask the question and then they let their answer stray from the topic and further their agenda, often at the expense of a fluid conversation or discussing what the interviewer (and probably the reader) thinks is interesting.
In this case, we, specifically you, my lovely Dogs Of War, kind of jammed the whole thing. I’m no dummy. There’s no way that more people that read the Reader actually think the Lawrence Arms are a cooler band than Wilco. We just had more people come out and vote. But this whole thing does kind of illustrate why old timey journalism (like the Reader) is kind of fucked in the new world of crappy, dorky things like blogs. They’re unwilling to truly get populist and cover the things that they are literally being told are cool by the people who read their publication.
A lot of that is traditionally understandable. Journalists, especially in an arena like that of the free urban weekly, are tastemakers and all of us voting are just plebian turds hyping the garbage our friends do or that we like (“that’s why McDonalds is the most popular burger in the world,” the old elitist ‘crowds are dumb’ argument goes [and I agree with this to a large extent]) but these days that line is blurring and more to the point, readers have access to so many different channels of tastemakers that it’s no longer a simple matter of who’s got more access. Sometimes it’s just a matter of desperately struggling to seem relevant and out on the edge.
And fuck, you know what? Maybe a DJ on twitter is a lot more ‘what’s happening now’ than a record label. I mean, sheeeeit. There’s literally no business becoming more irrelevant every day than the brick and mortar business of making tangible records. So maybe I’m all fucked up and turned around on the issue. And of course (full disclosure) I’m involved in Red Scare and I’d love to see the awesome things that Red Scare does covered in a cool paper (magazine?) like the Reader and I don’t give two shits about dj’s on twitter, so this is 100% of my personal bias speaking.
But you know what? That’s fine, because I’ve strapped on my Rollerblades already. I’m on my now-totally-legit best blog in Chicago, where I can mindlessly prattle on about whatever I want because it’s my prerogative here on the internet. And I guess in a very real way, that’s no different than asking people to vote for stuff and then just talking about whatever you want to anyway. Hmmmmmm….
Maybe we’re not so different, you and me, The Reader. Maybe we’re like Matrix and Bennett, or Action Jackson and whoever his enemy was in that dumb movie. You guys just get paid and I hastily do this between stuffing waffles into babies and picking dogshit off the floor.
Wait…we’re not enemies at all. I just needed something to write about here. I took a week off last week so, you know, rebuilding content and all that. Are we still cool? Ah fuck. My kid just took a dump. I gotta go wipe an ass.
Thanks one last time to the Reader and to all of you out there who helped propel us all into the stratosphere of quasi-familiarity with a select group of people! And special congrats to Katie Degroote at the Gingerman who was first runner up for best bartender!
Finally, you all should really go check out that urinal at the Mutiny. It’s truly deserving of an award.
See y’all tomorrow at Panchos!