A commenter writes of my post on These New Puritans:

I have met people in their teens and early twenties who are much less arrogant than this writer(Alec Bemis).New Puritans are OK, definitly not cutting edge, and not like anything we havent heard before.Yes, I'm old, but I was into The Fall as well as the Stones thousands of years ago and I still recognize what bands from the past brought to the party.

Maybe Alec is burnt out on the oldtimers, which is understandable, but if he could think past his own experience it would be a nice.He remionds me of a spoiled kid I once knew that would break his toys when he got tired of them so no one else could enjoy them.

Posted on February 19, 2008 11:10 AM by andrew

Let me respond.

1. As a clarification, I am 33, the same age of Jesus. Clearly those kids in their teens and early twenties who you're meeting have some work to do to get as arrogant as me. But don't worry, sounds like they have plenty of time to catch up!

2. I never said that These New Puritans were “cutting edge.” They cite terrorist videos as an influence for Alec's sake, and those have been around at least twenty or thirty years. I even point out in my post that their music reminds me of groups like the Fall very very much. I think you are taking a typical boomer-era view of praise, and assuming that I think the only art worth celebrating is “original.” Really, though, my criteria for artistic greatness has much more to do with “excellence of execution.” There is a huge difference.

3. I'm not “burnt out” on the old timers. To this day Sonic Youth are consistently one of my favorite bands to experience live and there's a reason I was posting video of Mark E. Smith only a few days ago. I will see Bob Dylan live every opportunity I get until the man dies. But I am quite aware that the more comfortable a band gets, the more discomfiting sponsorship opportunities can be. I'd be the last person, for example, to criticize the Shins when their music was used to shill for McDonald's early in the band's career. They almost definitely needed the money. As a band becomes more of a self-sufficient entity, however, it needs become increasingly aware, and careful, of how its accumulated chain of cultural associations are wielded in public view.

In other words. Rolling Stones shilling for Rice Crispies in 1964 = A-OK!

The Rolling Stones shilling for Tommy Hilfiger on their No Security tour in 1999. Well, you've got to be joking me. Maybe if they called it their Social Security tour I would have been more sympathetic.

After the jump, Bob Dylan's most embarrassing-slash-greatest commercial moment(s).

Strangely this instance of Dylanshill did not bother me a whit.

As the person who uploaded this vid to YouTube wrote in his description field, “If you're going to 'sell out' this is the way to do it. Bob turning his back on the stuff this gal is selling. Why? The clue is in his song “High Water,” probably written around the same time as this tune: 'Throw your panties overboard! I can write you poems make a strong man lose his mind.'”

Whoa, high minded lit-crit rationales. I'll be honest, my reasons for respecting Bob's choice to appear with the be-pantied lady is a little less high-minded. Simply put: in a career of rubbing people's nose in his arrogance, in his ability to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, Bob topped himself with this one.

Until that Escalade commercial that is.

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