I Want My Monoculture
Posted by s woods on September 28, 2011
Why I miss the monoculture by Toure, in Salon.
Fretting about where we are and where we’re going is clearly the rock critical meme of the year, and you can add this article to the evidence (I fret also, though most of my fretting tends to be about why and how I seem to be tumbling headfirst into a do-I-really-give-a-shit-anymore attitude about the entire operation — music, writing, etc. — while still cranking up the latest Britney Spears single every time it comes on the car radio). See also Christgau, espousing similar ideas about the “monoculture” in this 2006 PopMatters interview.
I don’t know, “monoculture” made very little sense to me when Christgau posed it (footnoted, not-irrelevant question I’ve thought about for a long time: did African-Americans, en masse, give a shit about the Beatles during the ’60s?), and, given the respective eras each writer is drawing upon, it makes even less sense to me when Toure poses it. Toure writes: “We no longer live in a monoculture. We can’t even agree to hate the same thing anymore, as we did with disco in the 1970s.” Huh? Disco sucks-ers (and who, by the way, is “we”?*) were a “monoculture”? You mean as opposed to the zillions of citizens buying disco records, listening to disco songs on the radio, and dancing to disco in roller rinks and whatnot (across a rather large portion of the the entire planet, no less)? Colour me extremely confused, if not downright skeptical.
* Um, I realized after posting this, that I employed that godawful royal “we” right in my first sentence here! But just to be clear, I am referring to a fairly specific if nonetheless ridiculously diverse species: people who are in some shape or form pop music writers (or “rock critics,” same thing in my book).