September 18th, 2008

Talib Qawwali

  • nice piece on "sissy bounce" in new orleans
  • siva takes on the myth of all "kids these days" being "digital natives" fluent in info/communication technologies (as well as the general problem of generalizing and generation-alizing) :: i have to admit that his account rings true with my own experiences teaching undergrads, plenty of whom still claim (and show themselves) to be technologically illiterate in various ways :: and his class/ist critique is well worth considering, 'But Palfrey and Gasser did not need to render young people exotic to make their points. The concept of "born digital" flattens out the needs and experiences of young people into a uniform wish list of policies that conveniently matches the agenda of digital enthusiasts and entrepreneurs of all ages. Indeed, it is interesting that Palfrey and Gasser deny that their subjects constitute a "generation," conceding in their introduction that they are describing only the challenges of privileged young people.'
  • having been a reader of anne's blog for the past couple years, i'm excited to see that she's finally completed her dissertation and, as one would suspect, has made it available in digital form
  • a persuasive critique of accounts of modernity & their implicit exclusions: '…it bugs me that Berman’s modernists and his (implied) non-modernists seem to inhabit the same space of “modernity” only the former “chooses” to be at home in it: presuming a choice where there’s actually an economic rationality to make the choice for you is the sort of myth that keeps the whole capitalist carnival ride going merrily round and round. But while Berman can safely imagine a purely urban space of modernity, he can do so only by carefully forgetting that there is no urban modernity without its dark double, that economically, politically, even conceptually, urban modernity cannot exist without its inverse. And by happening to fail to mention it, he participates in exactly the conceptual process of making it disappear from view.'
  • great post (as usual) over @ zunguzungu, moving from palin (implicitly) on the bush doctrine, to Abdul JonMohamed on Richard Wright, to DFW on kafka, to some sudanese kid on the US killing machine, to this kicker of a conclusion: "And it makes me imbue this upcoming election with a symbolism that raises the stakes so far above and beyond their already frighteningly high level that it makes me wonder if the gods are just fucking with us. Seriously, are we living in a didactic morality play? Are we _really_ presented with the choice between a person whose identity is defined by his time as a bomber in an American war of imperial aggression and a guy with a “Muslim” name who wears centuries of America’s violent racial oppression on his skin? Are you fucking serious?"
  • take the black star line, right on home :: dr.auratheft puts together a mixx of nothing but tunes devoted to marcus garvey
  • need to read again & more closely, but this appears to be an interesting, marxy take on reggae production, emphasizing the rel btwn capital and labor (h/t john eden)
  • "There is an essential moral difference between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin; just as (in a comparison that Zizek, to his credit, does not shy from), there was an essential moral difference between Stalin and Hitler. Zizek condemns the currently fashionable habit of lumping Stalin and Hitler together as totalitarian dictators. The difference, as in the Presidential race today, has to do with hypocrisy. Stalin professed support for human rights like free speech, for self-determination, for peace, and for harmony and equality among individuals and peoples regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. … Of course, in fact Stalin was a megalomaniacal tyrant who ruled arbitrarily, violated all of these ideals, and put millions of people to death; but Zizek is entirely right to suggest that such hypocrisy is morally superior, and far to be preferred, to Hitler’s overtly racist and anti-democratic ideology — which he unhypocritically put into practice."
  • new documentary on (putting on a festival for) hip-hop in morocco
  • nice piece by jace on digital/analog africa, copy and aura :: "Digital Africa is exemplified by the trio of expat Africans who run New York City’s bootleg CD-r mixtape industry. Contemporary vinyl production continues, but it caters to specialist markets: DJs, audiophiles, collectors. Nowadays the most obscure group (or an unaffiliated fan) maintains a page on Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace site. If a band is unGoogleable, then it effectively doesn’t exist. If it is Googleable, then it’s only a click away, whether you’re on Azerbaijani dial-up or squinting at a Blackberry in east London." :: "Fela’s axiom – the notion that the golden age in music is always now – may trouble collectors. But those who locate their golden years in 1970s’ West Africa are in luck: 2008 is a great year for it."

videyoga ::


  • 1. ripley  |  September 19th, 2008 at 1:17 am

    nice mix o links today!

    I’m happy to read Siva’s piece. I just saw Palfrey speak out here, and I left with a similar impression. Although he was careful to undercut the concept of a generation, all the problems laid out in the talk, were presented in a way that they could have been solved without touching any larger, deeper, or more serious social inequalities.

    He did say they focused on children of elites as their sample, which is fine (and what anyone should do – identify who their research subjects are) – but there wasn’t much to suggest anyone else should care than people who are those children or are raising them. And yet it appeared to be assumed everyone in the room would care.

    Speaking maybe pettily, but as someone who has constantly had to justify why the subject of my research matters and why anyone else should care about my case study, and how my ability to complete my dissertation, get funding and/or get published is dependent on making that kind of justification, I was sort of annoyed by this assumption.

  • 2. Caro  |  September 19th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Echoing ripley, lots of good linkage today. I especially appreciated the Marcus Garvey link, as we were just talking about him in class Thursday (in the context of unrest in the Caribbean in the 1930s, a sub/context of George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin)

  • 3. Birdseed  |  September 19th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Nice sissy bounce article. I’ve been wondering what happened to the bounce scene post-Katrina but it seems to be recovering well.

  • 4. ripley  |  September 19th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    XLR8R has an article about sissy bounce this month I think!

  • 5. wayneandwax  |  September 19th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    even better (?), xlr8r has a sissy bounce podcast —

    and a ‘photo blog’ (w/ accompanying text) —

    shoulda lunkthunk that too, since i DLd
    (didn’t mean to keep it on the DL)

  • 6. rachel  |  September 19th, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    yo that Siva piece is too true. I always assume the internet is me years old and constantly have wtf moments when im commenting on some blog and suddenly realize im chatting with a bunch of liberal professors over 40 who aren’t appreciating my e-speak with my lols and bad grammarz. In terms of privilege, we always semi acknowledge the point when we talk about “the digital divide” but i think that’s too small, or too skewed a term/concept to really describe what were talking about.

  • 7. james gyre  |  September 19th, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    best. blog. post. title. ever.

  • 8. wayneandwax  |  September 20th, 2008 at 8:08 am


  • 9. w&w  |  September 21st, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    To come back to the conversation in the comments above, I’m afraid I have to reserve fuller comment until I’ve actually read Born Digital, which I hope to do soon. But if the concession is that this term only applies to privileged youth (though I’m not sure how we’re defining ‘privileged’ — in the US? in the world?), well, then I’m not really sure that the project is all that interesting to me. I think we can approach the questions around “digital nativity” and the “digital divide” a lot more productively if we cast a wider net. The fact is that plenty of so-called “underprivileged” youth have access to and are (similarly? — I guess that’s the question) immersed in the digital environment.

    Yes, we can talk about an “access divide” and a “participation gap” still just in this country, but shouldn’t we also be talking about the (seemingly?) ubiquitous use of mobile tech, of sites like MySpace and imeem and YouTube, of “kids” getting access at school, at the library, at grandmas’ or cousins’ or friends’ houses? This oversight seems to me similar to studies of hip-hop that take as their point of departure the oft cited (apocryphal?) factoid that 70% of rap recordings are consumed (i.e., purchased) by “white”/suburban kids. That stat totally misses so much hip-hop consumption/production/activity by ignoring the ways recordings could be (and were) passed around, dubbed, etc.

    Maybe it’s just at an anecdotal level, but when I think about digital cultural production by young people, I think about juke and dancehall and hip-hop and reggaeton. There is a helluva lot happening in those spheres, and though I don’t have the quantitative resources to marshal any robust argument right now (anyone?), my sense is that we can talk about “digital natives” (perhaps by another name) in a much more inclusive sense than what is suggested by ripley’s take from Palfrey’s talk in CA. But maybe by “privileged” we’re simply talking about living in an industrialized, “developed,” relatively prosperous country — and hence having some minimal access to digital tricknology — which describes pretty much anyone lucky enough to be born within / cross these borders.

  • 10. John Palfrey  |  September 22nd, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Thanks, w, for the conversational space and the link-up to Siva’s critique. I will be interested to hear what you think after you’ve read the book.

    There are major definitional and terminology issues embedded here, which we’ve played out in many a blog post and in-person conversations as we’ve done the research for this book. We chose a set of terms that we knew had problems because they had/have cultural resonance. Maybe a mistake, maybe it was right, but it certainly has gotten people talking about it, which is much of the point.

    To Ripley’s point, I think I must have been somewhat unclear in whichever presentation that was (I did about 8 such talks in 3 days, so may not have been on peak performance the whole time!). Our primary sample was about 100 focus group and interview subjects in the Boston area — admittedly, convenience sampling — across SES lines and ages 13 – 22. We also did interviews with about 150 others, which included conversations in MENA, East Asia, and Europe, as well as with parents and teachers. We make very little in the way of claims about our research based on these interviews; our book is a synthesis by legal academics, (with lots of help by social scientists and relying upon lots of data collected by others), but this is not a work by social scientists.

    As we had these conversations, the point that Henry Jenkins and Eszter Hargittai make about the participation gap became quite clear. We make this point especially on pages 14 and 15 of the Introduction to the book. We call this issue “the biggest concern that we highlight in this book.” (p. 15)

    The book is very much about both the young people who are digital natives (those born after 1980, with access to the technologies and skills to use them) and those on the other side of the participation gap. It’s true: in our travels, we’ve spoken very much more extensively to DNs than to those who are not, but by no means exclusively. It was hearing from young people who are *not* sophisticated in their use of the tools that led us to make this emphasis on the participation gap — which we think is a much better term than the digital divide at this stage, which focuses merely on access.

    I think Siva’s core point in the Generational Myth piece is absolutely right, but I don’t think we’re quite as guilty as he charges. But if others are reading our book and listening to us talk about it and still thinking we are getting it wrong, we’re either 1) in fact wrong or 2) not conveying our ideas effectively, either of which may be fair enough.

    I am pretty sure I agree with w’s point in the bottom post about juke … reggaeton. I am not sure it’s inconsistent with the rest of what are saying, but perhaps I don’t fully understand that critique. I think it’s possible that people within a certain population are less likely to be DNs based on factors like SES but for those same populations within SES concurrently to be *more* likely to be more involved in digital cultural production (since not all DNs are into digital cultural production, unfortunately), no?



I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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