novice Buddhist, expert neurotic. writer. aspiring adult.

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7th January 2013

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The Game is largely played by people who are white and/or middle-class, and much of it involves trying to outmaneuver one another about precisely that fact. At the heart of The Game is fear and loathing and boredom concerning the possibility of being bourgeois. Being bourgeois is The Game’s great sin, and it is often referred to using the code word “white.” If you can’t avoid this sin by virtue of being working-class or Ghanaian or something, your best bet is to deftly corner the market on wary “whiteness”-based critiques of anything that smacks of being bourgeois. The critique will try to present itself as an incisive dismantling of class/race/privilege, but at its heart it will just be “oh noes bourgeois.” The great paradox here, of course, is that The Game is itself an incredibly bourgeois pastime, but never mind that: just keep The Game in mind as we trace some of the history of Vampire Weekend.

This is why I hate the role of Game Commissioner: it’s not actually interested in other people. White, black, Persian — it’s not really interested in anyone’s particulars or what they have to say about that experience. Mostly The Game just uses non-white people as cudgels for Americans to outmaneuver one another on the subject of who’s too bourgeois. In order for The Game to criticize bourgeois “whiteness” as privileged, over-educated, too polite, and too clever, it needs various non-white people to go on representing some kind of “realness” — plus, accidentally, poverty, lack of education, and vulgarity. Better cudgels, you know?

— A familiar angry internet person was just angry at my band for doing something, and it just reminded me of how much everyone really really needs to re-read this piece that Nitush Abebe wrote a few years ago.

Tagged: raceclassmusicmusic criticism

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