“Do you want poptimism?” Chris Richards asks in a 17 April 2015 article for The Washington Post, “Or do you want the truth?” This headline is a loaded one: why exactly is poptimism anathema to truth? In his article, Richards makes the argument that poptimism serves as a necessary corrective to the spurious notion that “rock-centric songwriters with rough voices and ‘real’ instruments are inherently more legitimate than pop stars with Auto-Tuned voices and choreographed music videos.” For Richards, however, “poptimist dogma has been misread and misused”, resulting in a hive-mind culture that uncritically props up pop stars.
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Three years ago, Jordan Davis was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. He was 17 years old.
The man who shot him complained that Jordan and his friends played their music too loudly. When he pulled out his weapon to shoot at the boys’ car, the killer claimed self-defense, saying he saw a shotgun. No weapons were found in the car.
An amusingly cryptic narrative of Dadaist assemblage, Turkey’s hip-hop supergroup, 90BPM, presents the video clip for their second single from their premiere album, Kötülük Bizim Işimiz, a collection of alternative hip-hop that explores everything from Turkish funk to Prince Paul-styled turntablism.
The appeal of “crowdfunded” art, facilitated by websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is easy to comprehend. Crowdfunding allows artists to free themselves from the strictures that come from corporate and studio funding; if they can pitch their vision for their artwork to enough people willing to chip in, they can have total artistic control over the end product. That claim was made by director Zach Braff when he set up a Kickstarter campaign for his most recent film, Wish I Was Here. The crowdfunding model, so this pitch goes, democratizes the creation of art, allowing consumers of art to have a monetary stake in the creation of the art they want.
“The United States is where most drugs are sold.” The Mexican meth cooker is working at night, his face covered by a bandana, protection against both smoke and any sort of identification. “We know we do harm with all the drugs that go there,” he goes on as you watch one of his colleagues stir a huge blue vat and another documents amounts with a cell phone camera. Their arms and hands swirl in smoke, rising as if from a witches’ brew, “But what are we going to do? We come from poverty. If we were doing well, we would be like you, traveling the world or doing good clean jobs like you guys.”