The unintended consequences of demonizing honest, dissenting opinion

ALMOST FAMOUS HOFFMAN

When I read Joshua Boydston’s “Better Isn’t Great” piece here on Oxford Karma, I jumped out of my chair and gave him a round of applause. Pointing out the restricting nature of premature self-congratulations was a pretty brave move. It’s a piece that couldn’t exist in the framework of satisfying an editor, who is trying to satisfy advertisers, who are skeptical of anything that makes readers pause to consider anything beyond possibly purchasing whatever it is they’re advertising. The local music community needs some self-awareness. It was never going to happen with the entertainment coverage of existing local media.

My elation and excitement quickly turned to concern for Joshua. Editorial discretion and pandering to advertisers aren’t the only things limiting self-reflection in the music scene. There’s also a dangerous conflation of criticism and negativity. Sure, lots of people cheered Joshua’s honesty. But how much more honesty would they stomach before painting Joshua as “negative”? My own journey to becoming the “negative creep” of the local scene began innocently enough. I had a few friends in local bands and had begun following local music message boards. My first “controversial” post was something about believing that all bands didn’t deserve the same opportunities just because they strapped on guitars and wrote a few songs. I meant to encourage better curation of local shows and events so the scene could put its best foot forward and make fans of those who would otherwise be indifferent about local music. It wasn’t taken that way at all; I was accused of being some elitist. From that day right up to today, there have been people in the local music community who believe they know everything they need to know about who I am and what my motivations are for nearly everything I do.

This is a small-market music scene. No matter how limited your involvement, if you’re involved at all, you’ve probably got skin in the game. Joshua isn’t some kid banging away at his laptop, wholly separate from the scene that he’s evaluating. He’s part of it. He’s regularly attending shows. He’s booking and promoting shows himself. You will see him around town. And you will never forget what he said about your band, or some band you love, or the scene you have such high hopes for. If you can’t get past the idea that any deviation from gushing positivity is somehow unnecessary negativity, you will absolutely miss opportunities to improve.

In a scene where writers frequently write fluff pieces on their good friends, creativity is crushed by the notion that everything is beautiful and it’s the world that hasn’t quite caught up yet. A scene that discourages open, honest criticism is bound to stagnate. I don’t understand how people can exist in a world so free from criticism. It would bore me to tears and turn me into a bore. I have good friends who are brutally honest with me, whether it’s about my music, my attitude, or just how I’m coming off in a particular social-media post. And I think it’s because I’m honest with them, because I love these people and they love me. And because they know who I am, it’s a kind of open honesty that makes us all better people for it. I mean, I love gushing praise as much as the next guy. But it’s the friends who are honest that make me a better artist. The true value of a community can be measured, in part, by its ability to separate criticism from negativity.

I completely agree that this scene is a little premature with the self-congratulations. I also think an equally poisonous problem is our quickness to turn someone with good intentions into a villain. Villains give the scene something to unify against. Groupthink and an aversion to discord make it easy to turn a simple, honest criticism into an affront to the entire scene. The scene has to be big enough to get beyond that. I hope that other local media will take a cue from Oxford Karma and start asking questions that can potentially improve the scene. Everyone loves Almost Famous. It seems like many local music writers got caught up in trying to be William and completely glossed over all of the important lessons from Lester Bangs. If you watch the movie to the end, you find that Lester Bangs was right.

  • bret

    “In a scene where writers frequently write fluff pieces on their good friends, creativity is crushed by the notion that everything is beautiful and it’s the world that hasn’t quite caught up yet”

    Joshua has written nothing but glowing reviews of your band in the past and even designed your latest album cover. How is your article any different than any other “fluff piece” written by “good friends?”

    So far this site has had a lot of “let me give ya some advice kid” type advice without actually earning that position.

    • How long must a site exist before offering commentary on a subject? And I think Joshua’s track record of honest criticism speaks for itself.

      • bret

        1. Depends on the subject and the level of insight. Four articles in two weeks about how the music scene should behave is unearned.

        2. An article defending Joshua(before anything has been written to defend) written by a friend/collaborator/receiver of accolades, isn’t helping Joshua’s “track record of honest criticism.”

        • HoustonMolinar

          Unearned? Haha. That one really tickled me. I’m pretty sure Joshua and Zach have been covering the music culture in this city for years. Which, just because they ventured off and have another medium that their opinion lives on doesn’t mean that their stripes weren’t “earned”.

          • bret

            Writing an article about how we need honest criticism and then having your friend, collaborator and someone who who’s band you’ve praised write an article about how much they agree with your article is hypocritical, undermines your argument and says to me the site hasn’t earned the position of critiquing the “scene” in any meaningful way.

            I do think Boydston is generally a good and thoughtful writer. This article is unfortunate and the timing is puzzling.

          • I would encourage you to read this op-ed again. To characterize it as an article about how it agrees with another article is a narrow and injudicious interpretation.

          • bret

            I read it again, I suggest you do the same. He “jumps out of his chair to give him applause” and then goes on to defend him against imaginary small minded Oklahomans who might later turn him into a “villain.” It’s a strange mix of back-patting, and paranoia.

            Paragraph 1:
            “When I read Joshua Boydston’s “Better Isn’t Great” piece here on Oxford Karma, I jumped out of my chair and gave him a round of applause.”

            Paragraph 2:

            “My elation and excitement quickly turned to concern for Joshua. Editorial discretion and pandering to advertisers aren’t the only things limiting self-reflection in the music scene. There’s also a dangerous conflation of criticism and negativity. Sure, lots of people cheered Joshua’s honesty. But how much more honesty would they stomach before painting Joshua as “negative”?”

            Paragraph 3:

            “Joshua isn’t some kid banging away at his laptop, wholly separate from the scene that he’s evaluating. He’s part of it. He’s regularly attending shows. He’s booking and promoting shows himself. You will see him around town. And you will never forget what he said about your band, or some band you love, or the scene you have such high hopes for.”

            Paragraph 5:

            “I completely agree that this scene is a little premature with the self-congratulations. I also think an equally poisonous problem is our quickness to turn someone with good intentions into a villain. Villains give the scene something to unify against.”

          • If you were to extrapolate from these examples instead of parsing them to conveniently fit your argument, you’d find that a different point is being made here:

            http://www.oxfordkarma.com/plain-sense-better-isnt-great/

  • James Walker

    If you want brutal honesty, Depth & Current suffers from your miserable vocals. Like many other bands, you labor under the delusion that you deserve something more, something better than the rest of us. Have fun being bitter forever.

  • Jamie

    So the point of this article is just that you agree with another article thats already been published here? That seems pointless, especially since the thesis of both was “lets not just agree all the time…”

    More to the point, Oxfrod Karma keeps saying criticism has gotta be real, but hasn’t yet criticized ANYTHING…. So as far as premature self-congratulations go, you’re no Lester Bangs.

    • I have to question whether you’ve been reading our site since it was launched two weeks ago. We’ve been pretty balanced in our reviews given the relatively small sample size.

      • Jamie

        oh, well then do tell. what, other than “bone-in” chicken wings and “townies” (and denying the socioeconomic angle of that insult is silly), have you folks earnestly criticized?

        • We’ve had two film reviews get Cs, as well as another TV review getting a pedestrian B-. We’ve only awarded grades to two albums so far, but if you’d like to make a misinformed evaluation of the site as a whole after only two weeks (and with two writers producing the majority of the content), then that is certainly your prerogative.

          • Jamie

            Hm, i think you mean when you reprinted another site’s old reviews of a James Franco BDSM documentary (C) and a haunted house mockumentary (C+, not C), and when your writer gave a B- (is that what you hardhitters consider “pedestrian?”) to Saturday Night Live (?!). None of those are local, and canning none of them required a lot of cajones.

            But I’m not trying to make any premature evaluation. You all are the ones that keep emphasizing your commitment to bold criticism. Especially considering you haven’t yet done any of it, why are you continually defending that approach against its imagined enemies?

          • If you had any clue what you were talking about, you’d know that Joshua and I have been doing this thing for much longer than two weeks, and that the “other site’s old reviews” were written by an individual with whom we have long worked and collaborated with well before Oxford Karma existed and continue to collaborate with to this day.

            The track record we have amassed over the years speaks to what we’re talking about, and the entire reason we started Oxford Karma was to have an open, unfiltered platform for arts and entertainment coverage that we weren’t granted elsewhere. If you are unsatisfied with the degree of criticism that has been displayed in this incredibly limited sample size, I suggest you put your keyboard to good use and do some research on the writers you are so quick to critique before making an ill-informed rush to judgment.

          • Jamie

            Dude, I didnt say anything about 2 weeks, you did. Again, I haven’t come to any judgment. I look forward to seeing what you create here. I just don’t understand why you all keep getting so defensive about critiques you haven’t even made, as though people are out here calling you meanies when you’ve only said glowing things about any of the people who read your site.

            (And, also, why are you guys so defensive in general? You’re always getting so temperamental and ganging up on people on your own comment board. It’s bushleague and it makes you look super thin-skinned.)

          • You made a false allegation, and I responded. Thank you for reading.

  • Beau Jennings

    Curious as to what constitutes premature self-congratulations exactly. Referenced both here and in Josh’s editorial. I get the concept but when I try to think a little farther as to what it really means I come up blank. I assume it is along the lines of people saying “hey look at NMF this is cool” or “hey look at Oxford Karma this is cool”, and I can’t correlate that kind of positivity to another aspect of the music scene being held back in some way. I don’t see that praise coming at the expense of another’s ability to make their own art, or to get something cool off the ground. Does being pro-NMF mean you’re anti-Dope Chapel? Does the Gazette praising a locally-popular record mean a kid with a noise band is gonna hang it up? I’m asking sincerely, looking to further the discussion cause it’s an interesting one but not one I’m sure I buy.

    • I don’t want to speak for Chris or Joshua, but I think both are referencing the insulated all-local-things-are-awesome mentality that pervades the community.

      • bret

        There are a lot of issues with the Oklahoma music and art scene but “too much positivity” isn’t one of them.

    • Joshua Boydston

      What I was trying to argue for is honest, self-assessment even as we praise — rightfully! — the positives that have come along over the years. Self-congratulations is fine in moderation, and I wasn’t coming from a Debby Downer mindset of “well that’s good, but it’s better over there.” At the same time, making up ground doesn’t mean winning the race. We can be realistic about the cap Oklahoma as a state likely has and work to max that out versus being content with just coming closer.

      Most of those concerns were rooted in attending shows that might well sell-out in many other cities across the country and finding next to no one buying a ticket for them here, all while we talk about needing bigger/better venues for those bands to play in. I saw a disconnect there, and I wanted to point that out.

      And as Zach mentioned, it’s more about the whole than the parts that make it up. I’m not saying there’s a finite amount of praise to give. If a country singer and shoegaze band are both doing really great things on a national scope, we don’t have to shun one and celebrate the other. But I do think there’s a more mindful approach than “everything is good” or “everything is bad,” which seems to be the mode I’ve witnessed come and go.

      • Beau Jennings

        Right on. I totally agree with the mindful approach.

    • HoustonMolinar

      Beau, I think there is this pipe dream that this scene is somehow burgeoning into a mini-Austin or a mini-Portland, etc. When in fact, it’s not even close. However, when NMF rolls around EVERYONE shows up and people get this false sense of pride that our music scene is amazing or becoming something it’s really not. Obviously, you can surely attest. I’ve seen your band numerous times with 30 people in the room. Yet, the growing sentiment is that this scene is thriving and it’s going to take a lot of work to claim that belief.

      • Beau Jennings

        I guess I would respectfully disagree that anyone truly thinks Oklahoma is turning into a major music scene. At least anyone I know, and I’d like to say I know a good number of people involved. I may be biased but I’d like to say I see lots of people who have worked hard and continue to do so to scrap and claw and bring something like NMF for example. Look, NMF has lots of issues, no one denys that. People don’t go to shows in general, we can all agree on that too.

        But when I think back to 1999 when I was in college playing in bands it feels like a completely different place to make music. And I’m not really conviced that it’s maxed out its potential. I guess that’s something I would celebrate, while at the same time fully acknowledging it will always be Oklahoma.

  • ConnorLDP

    I too was excited with Josh’s article.

    Chris, I’m not really involved with any scene here anymore, but I agree that the local media coverage tends to fluff up local bands and engage in endless back patting, which really accomplishes nothing. Constructive criticism is sorely needed around these parts, you are entirely correct. It seems lately that if you are at least trying, you deserve all the credit and high fives, and a cute little paragraph in the Gazette somewhere. (Unless the writer was Josh, who was fairly open in his respectful criticism of some local band’s albums, as he should be.)

    However, if I recall correctly, aren’t you the same one that launched into a public name-calling tirade awhile back against some local musicians that DARED to criticize your precious young female “punk” duo band (whom which you have a close association) with some off the cuff social media remarks? It’s fair to say they’ve been treated overly well by local publications from the very outset. You should probably examine yourself too, if you are going to have such high standards about such things.

    Again, most of your points are valid, just be sure to guard against hypocrisy when the criticism hits a little close to home.

    • Chris Harris

      I guess we can agree to disagree with whether or not those “off the cuff social remarks” constituted constructive criticism. I’m absolutely certain that none of those remarks were intended to be constructive in any way at all. BUT, either way, I was not acting as a journalist at the time. I freely admit that I was sticking up for my friends, who were being unjustly picked on by people who were also not acting as journalists. It’s a pretty invalid comparison. I don’t have any desire to rehash that dumb shit-show. Time has been pretty kind to my side of that lame, shit-talking pissing contest.

      • bret

        Also, didn’t Chris move to Seattle? Not saying he shouldn’t write for Oxford Karma but it is weird that he’s writing about what we need to do to fix the scene or whatever.

        • HoustonMolinar

          Like him or not, Chris has been part of the scene for years. He’s also recorded mixed and mastered quite a bit of local music. I’d say he’s pretty qualified to provide his opinion on the Oklahoma City music scene regardless of what physical address he currently retains.

          • bret

            Nah, you don’t get to really critique the scene in any serious way if you leave it, sorry.

          • Chris Harris

            Yeah, man. People who tour and play in other music scenes couldn’t possibly have any of that “insight” you’re so hot in the pants about. LOLZ.

          • bret

            I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about people who move away and then tell people who still live their how they should behave. Some might find it insulting.

          • Chris Harris

            Some might find that not giving a shit about how my band and businesses fit into the “scene” could potentially give me some additional “insight” that those who are currently closer to the scene don’t have. Either way, speak for yourself and not the mythical “some” your language implies that you represent. YOU find it insulting. Man, I’m sorry about that. I still have lots of friends playing in bands in Oklahoma. And, I still wish the best for them. Maybe if you keep hammering away at these comments sections, someone might one day care enough to ask you to write about your insights in the part above the comments section.

          • bret

            Wow.

      • ConnorLDP

        Sorry, didn’t check back on any of this yesterday. Just curious, can you expound upon how “time has been kind to your side?” And are you admitting your role/instigation in that “pissing contest?” Or just saying that one side acted immaturely? It was a group effort all the way around from what I remember, but one side was obviously a lot more butthurt about it, and took it to another level. Just my observations, I’ve never had a problem with anyone involved in any of that, and saw it as something that should’ve never escalated to what it did. One side was very personal and extreme with their attacks in response when the person who began the whole thing made a blunt and critical remark on Twitter or Facebook or whichever, which from I remember wasn’t even really that mean. At the end of the day, it was still a critique, albeit somewhat harsh. If you are only referring to journalistic criticisms and not criticisms from individuals, then I guess I have a moot point. But it’s whatever at this point, I’d hope. Glad I don’t really play music around here anymore, because of stuff like that.

        • Chris Harris

          I am not rehashing that townie bullshit except to say that it was personal. I posted about it on my private Facebook wall in a post designated for “friends only”. That’s the only place I posted about it. For anyone to suggest that any of that had anything to do with my “professionalism” is ludicrous. I was absolutely more upset about it than they were. For them, it was just fucking off, goofing on a couple of kids. For me, I was defending my friends, TO my friends. The way those other dudes went so far over the top into delusional fantasies about me somehow having the power to shield Skating Polly from any and all criticism, and also to blacklist their bands, really was embarrassing. If you really want to know my opinion on criticism and how it relates to this article, here it is: I think that if someone offers constructive criticism, in good faith, I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO RESPECT THEM FOR THAT, even if I disagree with their opinion. It doesn’t have to be journalism or reviews. But, if it’s just people being shitty, completely unprovoked, because they think it’s funny, and that fun comes at the cost of belittling someone else who did nothing to earn their scorn, I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT RESPECT THAT. When those same people, after being called out for being shitty people, try to play it off as an attempt to help Skating Polly get better, when it was quite obvious they had no interest in helping Skating Polly in any way, it’s even more disrespectful.

          The only time I’ve ever been shitty about some specific band, was when I was pissed off and trying to stick it to those shitty townies. I don’t feel bad for pointing out that they’re fucking townies making fun of a touring band. But, I probably shouldn’t have said that their music is fucking boring. I’m sure there are people who disagree with that, so I should have kept my opinion about that to myself. That’s why I’m not mad at Jake for coming on here and calling my music terrible. Maybe I’ve got it coming. And, I’m not about to whip out my accomplishments and see whose is longer.

          Now, to answer your question about how time has been kind to my side of the argument… Well, Skating Polly is still on a ridiculous upward trajectory, and those guys who were making fun of them are still playing shows every couple of months at the local bars. It proves that I didn’t blacklist anyone (LOLZ) and that if my power to intimidate people into avoiding criticizing Skating Polly is why they keep having success, then my power is so much more radical than even I know. I’m sure that Babes In Toyland figured that if they didn’t add SP to their UK tour, I was going to post a strongly worded critique of them on Facebook and blacklist them globally. LOLZ.

          • Chris Harris

            Josh Boydston has offered honest, constructive criticism of Skating Polly in print. I can assure you that he didn’t get any pushback from me. And, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s still got my respect.

          • Connor

            Skating Polly is pretty bratty for their age. They just shot a video where they’re making fun of Oklahoma red dirt music probably because many roots community artists like Ali and Jake have dared to speak out against them. Way to take the high road.

          • Chris Harris

            I don’t know anything about that. Way to keep it on topic, bro.

            However, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If they did that, it’s fucking fabulous. They have gone this ENTIRE FUCKING TIME without addressing Ali & Jake’s internet shit talking, and now they’re addressing it via their art?!?! Art that THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE will see an enjoy?!?! HAHAHAHAHA!!! That’s infinitely more respectable than shit-talking on Facebook. INFINITELY!! Hahaha!! Hahahahaha!!! I love how much SP bothers you fucking square townies. LOVE IT SO FUCKING MUCH!!! It’s soooooooo brave of you guys to “dare to speak out against” Skating Polly. I think this is where they point up and say, “scoreboard.” What a bunch of sad posers…

          • Chris Harris

            Can you post a link to the video you’re talking about? I just asked them about it, y’know, hoping that it was true, and they don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • HoustonMolinar

    ConnorLDP has a good point. I’ve never seen Joshua go on a tirade via social media because a band he had close ties was drawing criticism. I have, however, seen Chris do it with massive amounts of vitriol. This isn’t a personal attack on Chris, either. I love that he sticks up for what he believes in and his band is great and I will be seeing them with APTBS here in a month. But, the delivery and acceptance of criticism is almost as important as the criticism itself. Solid piece, though.

  • Townie

    Dear Chris, you are a terrible hypocrite. Within the last year just shamed a whole lot of us for doing the exact thing you are talking about. Calling us “townies”. You decide that you deserve more than everyone else even though your music is, as described by lots of people, unbearable. So please quit making yourself some sort of misunderstood and crucified artist. I totally agree that we are not the hottest thing to hit culture and we all need to pitch in. But don’t you dare try to tell the rest of us that we aren’t doing our jobs when people like you are the problem. The kind of person that only likes critism, good or bad, when it suits your own agenda.

    • Pizza Thieves dude

    • bret

      A rich guy who moves away from Oklahoma using the pejorative “townie” when referencing people who don’t have the means or privilege to move away is wrong.

  • Quentin

    Almost Famous is such a good movie. I know what I’m doing this weekend.

  • Ryan Drake

    I have had really similar thoughts about this very issue lately. And my conclusion was that it’s not a lack of criticism that is a problem, but that it is the overabundance of faux-support.

    It’s easy to tweet about a band or “like” a Facebook page, but a majority of those people aren’t coming to shows/buying records. They want to believe that they are the type of people who will support local music, so they put a bumper sticker for The Spy on their car and tell all their friends to listen to it even though they don’t even actually listen to it, and then a vicious circle is started. I work for The Spy and I know that if half of the people who liked our Facebook page were actually listening to the shows, we would be getting much more interaction. I will be the first one to admit that I hardly ever listen to Spy/KOSU on my own, but I am also not preaching the gospel of it either.

    The argument that “too much positivity” is a bad thing is only true if the positivity is unfounded. If everyone was as supportive as they pretended to be, there would be so much more (positive) constructive criticism in the scene.

    • bret

      ” I work for The Spy and I know that if half of the people who liked our Facebook page were actually listening to the shows, we would be getting much more interaction.”

      ” I will be the first one to admit that I hardly ever listen to Spy/KOSU on my own”

      • Ryan Drake

        …”but I am also not preaching the gospel of it either.”

        • bret

          That makes it better?

          • Ryan Drake

            Than telling people that I am a big fan of something that I hardly listen to? Is that a real question? We don’t need to actively like or dislike everything.

          • bret

            You have a show on The Spy, it’s incredibly lame that you don’t listen to the station and/or preach the gospel of it. If you don’t why should we?

          • Ryan Drake

            I don’t think anyone SHOULD listen to my shows for any reason. If you like what I am playing or talking about, then I would hope that you would continue to listen. But I am not out there telling people “you need to listen to this show because…”

            I use social media to promote them to as many people as possible that I think could be interested. Beyond that, I don’t think anyone *should* be doing anything.

          • bret

            The Spy needs more hosts like you. “I’m not a fan of the station but I have a radio show on The Spy, so listen or whatever, I wouldn’t though.”

          • Ryan Drake

            Haha. You’re reading a lot into my words. The Spy is a great platform. I respect the hell out of it. That doesn’t mean I need to listen to it all the time because a majority of the music that is played on there is not what I want to hear. I am almost certain the most people feel the same way when it comes to their musical preferences.

            My whole point was that it is OK to not like the music on the Spy. It’s OK to not like anything. Just don’t pretend that you do.

          • bret

            I’m not reading into your your words I’m reading your actual words.

          • bret

            Lol, the name of your last piece on Oxford Karma is “Why I Got Into The Local Comedy Scene and You SHOULD Too.”

            Good grief Ryan.

            http://www.oxfordkarma.com/why-i-got-into-the-local-comedy-scene-and-you-should-too/

          • Ryan Drake

            I didn’t title it. Zach Hale did.

          • bret

            LOL

          • Alright, “bret,” you’re hedging on trolling at the moment. If you don’t have anything constructive to add to the conversation, please feel free to troll on newsok.com.

          • bret

            So having critical conversations about the local music scene is trolling? I thought that’s what this site was all about?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

          • “LOL” and “…” is not critical conversation.

          • Chris Harris

            Wait a minute. LOLZ is my favorite response to this kind of discourse.

          • bret

            I laughed because Ryan was trying to blame you. “LOL” is not trolling, friend.

          • He’s right, though; I wrote the headline.

          • bret

            Maybe but not taking ownership is lame. If he has such an issue with the word “should” he should have asked you to rewrite it.

          • bret
  • Chase Kerby

    Now that we’ve established that the scene isn’t what it seems to be or isn’t what it used to be or what we want it to be as both listeners and artists, can we start trying to come up with creative ways to improve it instead of dissect its issues? We’re all smart individuals and I’m sure we can do more than criticize each other’s point of view. Also, let’s stop with the elitist, “I’m more indie than you” mentality. I think the scene here would benefit greatly by just appreciating differences and realizing that one persons opinions are no more special than anothers.

  • ron

    Bored in the USA. Oh, just a little…

  • bret

    Chris writes an article called The Unintended Consequences of Demonizing Honest, Dissenting Opinion” while over on his Facebook he refers to any dissenters of said article as “townies.”
    Unreal.

    • Chris Harris

      I think that you (and a few other commenters) are confusing my call for more honesty and integrity in journalism with a suggestion that we should all adhere to some blanket acceptance of shit-talking as constructive criticism. The “townie” thing goes back a long time and has nothing to do with whether or not someone agrees with my opinions. This article is ABOUT how writing things that other people disagree with brings along unintended consequences, like having some troll presume to know something about my life and my motivations, or having some other troll offering unrelated critique of my music, or having some other troll bring up some completely unrelated Facebook shit-talking from months ago. Your 23 (so far) comments (out of 58 total) are reinforcing some of the things I’m saying in this article.

      • bret

        No, I’m not confused. I’m calling you out as a hypocrite. It’s dissent. You can demonize me and others as trolls or townies and say we’ll never get to write an article or whatever but it remains dissent.

        • Pizza Thieves dude

          You clearly have no concept of what he’s referring to, or are just ignoring it to further your attack. I’m not trying to put any words in his mouth, but this is my take on the word. His use of “townies” has nothing to do with wealth or class or anything else of that sort as you’ve implied in your comments. The “townies” you’re so caught up on are people who only go see shows if their friends are playing, or go to a local bar and then complain about the meager cover charge and that it’s too loud. The people who complain about the lack of tours that come here, and then never go support the many great smaller bands that do tour through here. The people that can’t grasp that anything local isn’t always great and there’s a lot to be improved on and that we can learn from other cities. People that complain about the lack of venues, but don’t support the ones we already have. People who are quite fine with the scene just stagnating with the same tired out tropes. People that don’t understand that a great scene needs to be diverse, welcoming to outsiders, and supportively self-aware – all at the same time. A scene that throws anyone who dares to say that something can be improved or brings in a new opinion under the bus, is one that will never grow or be vibrant. There’s a lot of great things in the local music scene and some great potential, but we need to change our attitude and grow up as a community. “Townies” are insular, a good scene is an open scene. Not one that ostracizes so called “outsiders”. He doesn’t refer to anyone who chooses to stay here as a “townie”, in fact he has plenty of people here who he respects and who respect him. He’s invested a lot more in the local music community than most of us ever will, so just because he chooses to move doesn’t mean his comments are invalid. He’s still involved in the scene and is still playing shows here, as a matter of fact. You can misconstrue his words all you want to fit your narrative of “hypocrisy”, but that doesn’t make it true.

          • Chris Harris

            To my knowledge, no common use of the term “townie” has anything to do with wealth or class. I’ve always known it to mean someone who chooses to stay in their college town, long after ending any association with the college. By that definition, I’ve been a townie for years. But, I always associated it with a lack of intellectual curiosity, rather than a lack of means. If it’s common to use the term as some kind of socioeconomic dig (it’s not), then I will certainly find another term to use to describe people who are complacent.

          • bret

            That’s probably a good idea. I’ve always heard it used as a derogatory term as someone who either can’t afford or isn’t smart enough to get into college. College students use it as a pejorative all the time.

          • bret

            Saying someone who disagrees with you or calls you out is lacking “intellectual curiosity” is the very definition of demonizing.

          • Chris Harris

            I’m growing increasingly frustrated with your ignorance. I didn’t call them “townies” BECAUSE they disagreed with me. I called them “townies” because it’s what they ARE and I knew that would really get to them. I can keep saying it, but it was an obviously stupid internet argument from months ago that had everything to do with people being shitty people and nothing to do with the relative quality of any “honest, dissenting opinion”. You’re trying waaaaay too fucking hard to put me in my place and missing the mark pretty embarrassingly. Your pathetic fumbling about with straw men and red herrings is pretty bush league for someone so committed to the troll game. Level up, townie.

          • Chris Harris

            Oh yeah… 25, 26…

          • bret

            Why would calling someone what they are get to them unless it was meant as a pejorative?

          • Chris Harris

            IT WAS ABSOLUTELY MEANT AS A PEJORATIVE. ABSOLUTELY AND UNABASHEDLY. FUCK THOSE TOWNIE ASSHOLES. But, I didn’t call them that because we had an honest disagreement about opinions. I called them that, in an intentionally pejorative ‘FUCK YOU’ context, because they were being assholes to my friends. Why do you feel like I owe you an explanation for your shitty straw man argument?!?! A shitty straw man argument about something that you clearly don’t have the “insight” to discuss with any authority?!?!

          • Chris Harris

            I thought that this was going to be exciting to have a discussion with lots of people. I didn’t realize that it would be 50% contributions from one anonymous obsessive. I’m starting to think I was off the mark with my quip about you aspiring to be asked to write something. I’m starting to think maybe you do write. And, maybe some of the things I said hit close to home.

          • bret

            What things?

          • bret

            I don’t feel like you owe me anything I just think you’re being hypocritical. And using townie as a pejorative, as you’ve just admitted, isn’t cool, that’s all. It’s just a critique.

          • Jamie

            Wow. How incredibly unprofessional. And embarrassing.

          • Chris Harris

            27.

        • Chris Harris

          Right, but you haven’t pointed out any hypocrisy. I’m not suggesting that everyone should have to accept or agree with everyone else’s shitty opinions, not even mine. I’m not calling anyone “townie” because they disagree with my opinion in this article. I’m calling them “townies” because some of them ARE the same “townies” that I had some dumb, unrelated pissing match with months ago on Facebook. If my article was about how even shitty, mean spirited Facebook shit-talking should be given the same reverence as thoughtful journalistic critique, then you would have me in a sticky situation. I would happily admit my hypocrisy. But, that’s not what it’s about at all. I didn’t write an article titled “The Unintended Consequences of Demonizing Anything Ever Said That You Disagree With”. There’s a difference between some of the complaints here and what I would consider “Honest, Dissenting Opinion.”

          24.

  • David Goad

    I like music.

    • Chris Harris

      AND DRUGS!

      • David Goad

        I only do drugs with former child stars who worked for Disney.

  • sard

    These comments… Yeesh

  • ClobberDobson

    This guy really thinks he’s King Shit, huh? It was a decent and thoughtful piece, but reading his comments reveals a lot about who this guy really is. He isn’t perceptive enough to see that he’s part of the problem. The music scene is much too small for this kind of ego and elitism. It is divisive and leads to unnecessary segregation amongst musicians and bands who are all equally deserving of the same opportunities offered here, no matter how slim they may be. It’s funny he brings up Lester Bangs. Having read much of his work, I have to say there is no doubt Lester would side with those Mr. Harris deems “unworthy” for the “opportunities” he and his ilk have experienced. The scene doesn’t belong to people like Chris Harris. It belongs to those who aren’t even posting here on this blog. They are probably paying real dues tonight in “some local bar” for the sheer love of playing live music. There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm. It leads to the paradigm change necessary in having something special here, which we might even already have — despite the naysayers. Keep the negativity to yourselves, or take it elsewhere. There’s a difference between being a realist and being a negative creep.

  • ClobberDobson

    This guy really thinks he’s King Shit, huh? It was a decent and thoughtful piece, but reading his comments reveals a lot about who this guy really is. He isn’t perceptive enough to see that he’s part of the problem. The music scene is much too small for this kind of ego and elitism. It is divisive and leads to unnecessary segregation amongst musicians and bands who are all equally deserving of the same opportunities offered here, no matter how slim they may be. It’s funny he brings up Lester Bangs. Having read much of his work, I have to say there is no doubt Lester would side with those Mr. Harris deems “unworthy” for the “opportunities” he and his ilk have experienced. The scene doesn’t belong to people like Chris Harris. It belongs to those who aren’t even posting here on this blog. They are probably paying real dues tonight in “some local bar” for the sheer love of playing live music. There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm. It leads to the paradigm change necessary in having something special here, which we might even already have — despite the naysayers. Keep the negativity to yourselves, or take it elsewhere. There’s a difference between being a realist and being a negative creep.

  • ClobberDobson

    This guy really thinks he’s King Shit, huh? It was a decent and thoughtful piece, but reading his comments reveals a lot about who this guy really is. He isn’t perceptive enough to see that he’s part of the problem. The music scene is much too small for this kind of ego and elitism. It is divisive and leads to unnecessary segregation amongst musicians and bands who are all equally deserving of the same opportunities offered here, no matter how slim they may be. It’s funny he brings up Lester Bangs. Having read much of his work, I have to say there is no doubt Lester would side with those Mr. Harris deems “unworthy” for the “opportunities” he and his ilk have experienced. The scene doesn’t belong to people like Chris Harris. It belongs to those who aren’t even posting here on this blog. They are probably paying real dues tonight in “some local bar” for the sheer love of playing live music. There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm. It leads to the paradigm change necessary in having something special here, which we might even already have — despite the naysayers. Keep the negativity to yourselves, or take it elsewhere. There’s a difference between being a realist and being a negative creep.

  • ClobberDobson

    This guy really thinks he’s King Shit, huh? It was a decent and thoughtful piece, but reading his comments reveals a lot about who this guy really is. He isn’t perceptive enough to see that he’s part of the problem. The music scene is much too small for this kind of ego and elitism. It is divisive and leads to unnecessary segregation amongst musicians and bands who are all equally deserving of the same opportunities offered here, no matter how slim they may be. It’s funny he brings up Lester Bangs. Having read much of his work, I have to say there is no doubt Lester would side with those Mr. Harris deems “unworthy” for the “opportunities” he and his ilk have experienced. The scene doesn’t belong to people like Chris Harris. It belongs to those who aren’t even posting here on this blog. They are probably paying real dues tonight in “some local bar” for the sheer love of playing live music. There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm. It leads to the paradigm change necessary in having something special here, which we might even already have — despite the naysayers. Keep the negativity to yourselves, or take it elsewhere. There’s a difference between being a realist and being a negative creep.

  • ClobberDobson

    Mentally ill Chris?

  • ClobberDobson

    Mentally Ill Chris. Stop deleting my important posts, you arm chair scenesters.