Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Bah!

The Atlantic a month ago ran a pig-headed bit of snark slamming prog rock as "The Whitest Music Ever ", a catchy bit of clickbait that uses "white", as in race, as a required pejorative to make its points. I took the bait, I am sorry to say, and it made a mess of my emotional equilibrium. Hardly a fan of prog rock--I've been accused of being the John Wayne of American rock critics --but there have been more than a few artists who make complex , rock-oriented sounds that I think are enjoyable and perfectly defensible . First, the article advances on the premise that music that was created and performed by , let us say , 99 1/2 percent white musicians is awful and unnatural from the get go, which is ridiculous. The characterization of Prog Music as "the whitest music ever" is racist on the face of it and The Atlantic is too thick between the ears, too dimwitted to recognize the irony.It's an argument someone cannot credibly sustain. David Weigel, a Slate politics writer and a prog fan, wrote a history of the genre a few years ago with The Show that Never Ends, and makes the point of showing how British bands came to incorporate classical ideas into their original compositions. Simply (too simply in this squib) it was a generation of players rediscovering their own musical heritage, drawing inspiration from composers they heard on radio. The piece is intellectually bankrupt. Anyone wanting to read a rather more level-headed appraisal of History of Prog would do well to pick up Weigel's book.

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