Dirty rotten critics
Saturday, October 11th, 2003
Music critic Kate Sullivan, sister of my buddy Ben, writes:
i don’t know how to explain it exactly, but i think the process of having to critique music all day for money fucks with the way you hear it. because critiquing music becomes tied to your income, and your sense of who you are in the world, you can easily lose track of the real reason people listen to and make music in the first place. music becomes a platform on which to prove your intellectual superiority, a tool for the construction of your ascendancy–you have to become superior to the music. i understand this because i am a critic, too, and a writer, and i do understand the necessity of “mastering” your subject before you sit down to write. when you sit down to write, you have to feel that you can “kill” your subject–you have to become its master, or you’re sunk. or so the logic goes.
the problem is that you start to build a kind of resentment toward your subject–and why not? it’s your adversary. you’re the gay vegas guy in a codpiece and it’s the white tiger. you gain all your glamour and mystique through the wild beauty of the animal you have tamed. you think those guys would be rich fuckers if they were working with carp? critics secretly know that their whole gig is based on someone else’s glamour and power and freedom. and so they get a little baby chip on their shoulders, that just grows and grows–especially since most of them have musical yearnings of their own.