Matthew Yglesias should know better than to IM me links to TNR stories, as I’ve told him countless times not to provoke me. But this David Hajdu piece arguing against Rock Band and Guitar Hero is truly the stuff of philistines. There are too many distortions, patronizing meta-points and refusals to address why people play these games to take it remotely seriously. Like for instance:
If electronic gadgeting has supplanted music in the social economy of young America, one has to wonder what it means for games about music and music-making to have become the teen craze of the year. Is Rock Band really a replacement for the rock band, its digital mutant spawn, or another thing altogether?
Oh my God, you stupid motherfucker, shut your idiot mouth. Not a single person who has ever played Rock Band has for a moment ever considered it a replacement for the creation of rock and roll. There is no attempt at this piece to even corrollate the rise of RB & GH with a decline in rock production. You couldn’t find one if you tried! Hajdu is just… inventing a problem. Under the mask of pretending to care about not burdening the youth with the musical tastes of their parents he ends up saying Goddamn kids and their video games! Wipe that filthy look of sheer joy off your face, junior!
Then there’s this:
For another thing–and this is the main failing of music games, and it is a significant one–they have the insidious effect of glorifying classic rock, a music with an already bloated reputation that is founded on its very bloatedness.
Take it up with karaoke, fella! With Guitar Hero and Rock Band you can play along with contemporary music. It’s really very easy; Yglesias and I spent Jewish Christmas doing so. You say that you spent “several dozen hours playing both Guitar Hero and Rock Band–alone, in online group sessions, with a couple of amateur-musician friends, and once with a colleague’s fourteen-year-old son and his best pal.” As Bob Dylan said during a moment you may be familiar with: I don’t belieeeeeeeeve you. You’re a liar. Or at least you’re not a very attentive individual.
Rock Band and Guitar Hero are fun distractions. They are not worth the vitriol of those who cross the line between Counterintuitive and Braindead. And this from a proponent of 60s Greenwich Village folk. All folk must be destroyed. I torch Carole King’s tapestry. Classic rock vs folk is the Iran-Iraq war of music debates.
Yglesias: I hold you responsible for making me write this.