Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twitter raises more questions than it answers

Dying your avatar green: meaningful protest or empty signaling?

Asserting anything on Twitter: communicative microblogging or empty signaling?

How does Ken Baumann know Shane Jones?

Is The Secret Life of the American Teenager a reality show?

Why isn't Shane Jones following me on Twitter?

Why are celebrities so boring? Is Twitter an inherently boring forum?

No, because Tao Lin's tweets are better than most of his long-form blogging these days.

Sorry, that last one wasn't a question.

I only have one "favorite" tweet, and it's by Tao Lin: "i 'chugged' iced coffee then felt what seemed like 'nothing' then felt sort of worried then thought 'what did you expect' in a kind tone"

But I also really liked a tweet by someone named @Babylonian who I take to be a gamer, which went something like this: "finally 'unfollowed' @tao_lin feel like a 'huge' weight of 'reading' schizophrenic 'tweets' of a 'pretentious' 'douche' has been 'lifted'"

Why the fuck doesn't Twitter search work, like, at all?

Why doesn't googling "boston rain june 2009" (or variations with "rainfall," "precipitation," "average" etc.) validate my belief that this month has sucked beyond reason with statistics?

Why don't alarm clocks have an adjustable snooze time? If they do, how come no one knows about it? If they do, why didn't anybody tell me?

Why are there no great female composers?

37 comments:

  1. Clara Schumann once said, "I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose — there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?"

    In all seriousness, this question truly perplexes me from both a literal and an ironic stance. Are there truly "no great female composers" and if so is it because women are strongly discouraged from composing or for some other reason? It was once believed that women were not good classical musicians, until symphony auditions were made blind and swiftly more women took seats than men. Or is this just a widely perpetrated falsehood? Like saying "Why are there no great female thinkers?" or "Why are women such bad drivers?"

    So like, either way, I'm sure it's sexist, I'm just not sure how sexist.

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  2. Amy Beach?

    I have 7 favorite tweets, and 3 are by Tao:

    --just remembered when people used to put 'mwua' before varying lengths of 'haha' ('mwuahahahahahahaha'), a pre-9/11 thing perhaps

    --just cleaned the inside of a dresser drawer by putting my hand in a sock and moving it around really fast inside the drawer

    --going to sell autographed copies of my signature soon

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  3. I think my alarm clock has an adjustable snooze, but I never learned how to program it. I've had the clock since approximately 1994.

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  4. Oh man that first Tweet is really good.

    Shit really? (re adjustable snooze) I thought I invented that in like 2000.

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  5. But I can't think of a single female horn player in the entire history of jazz. Singers, pianists, sure, but no horn or percussion players...

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  6. My clock holds many mysteries I have yet to resolve after ~15 years.

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  7. i am following you on twitter now (sounds creepy).

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  8. I can't think of any "great" female composers, the way most people mean when they use the word "composer". Tori is my number one pick and after her it looks like a long way to number two.

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  9. Oni's doing a series of concerts featuring piano music written ONLY by women, ONLY since the year 2000. Cindy Cox is probably my favorite of the composers that Oni's research has turned up. Check it out, there's even a little embedded player full of MUSICK--> http://cacox.com

    Why no great female composers? Sexism, both direct ("because you're a woman you'll never be able to compose") and cultural (a weird and still-pervasive inability of the larger classical music culture (whatever that is, probably mostly New York Times music critics and Yale professors?) to grant ascendency to a woman's music).

    Oh, and not because I dislike Tori Amos but because it's just hanging there: to me, there does not seem to be a great distance between Tori Amos and "number two."

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  10. Yeah I dunno why not, personally I don't rule out any of the possibilities, including inflammatory ones ala Summers. Who knows. But anyway, it also doesn't seem like that big a deal, like, are there people out there hurting for lack of female "great composers"?

    Re: Tori thing and number 2, that's just me spouting my personal preferences. I am sure there are loads of female composers I've never even heard of.

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  11. I'm sure there are people hurting, e.g., women who want to compose and have their talent fully recognized but have few models and are dismissed by an industry that sees women as fringe members.

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  12. Hmm. I guess so, I don't personally know of any such women, nor do I know of people in the music industry who dismiss women. But, I am not in that world so obviously I don't know squat.

    I will point out an analogy however, which is with regards to women in science and engineering, either in industry or academia. A lot of hoopla is made about equalizing gender ratios in this context and generally I am not that sympathetic towards the usual liberal view, for many reasons, none of which involve a negative view of women. Moaning that there ought to be more women in physical chemistry so that the gender ratio is 50/50 is silly in a lot of ways -- not the least of which is, like, who would want to be a physical chemist? Nuf sed, three cheers for the women in the world who have their head on straight. (Disclaimer: my views on this have been influenced significantly by Phil Greenspun, who I tend to agree with on a lot of fronts.)

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  13. "Moaning" about equalizing gender ratios to a 50/50 level is one thing but the picture with composers seems way more off the charts, where even people who are pretty familiar with chamber music (e.g. you) can't name any well-known women.

    Bizarrely enough there are women who want to break into mostly-male fields and are discouraged from doing so, however unappealing said fields may seem to an outsider. I have no idea what a "physical chemist" actually does.

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  14. Yeah, the composer situation is extreme, which can be interpreted in a lot of ways. Like, with that kind of statistical significance there must be some *really* strong effects at work.

    I hear you, sexism sucks. But how often does it really happen in the context that we are discussing? How many people do you personally know that were like, "Yeah, I really wanted to be a NASCAR driver, but the culture was just too macho for me"? And of those cases, how much of the effect can really be attributed to bona fide sexism and not just "birds of a feather"? I'm a guy, and there's gonna be a big barrier for me to go drive NASCARs.

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  15. One concrete example I can think of is my mom: she studied History of Science as an undergrad, loved it and wanted to go on to teach it, but she was the only or one of only a few women in the department at the time, and her male professors literally flat out told her to give it up because it wasn't a field for women. And it's not even a hard science! ("Hard" as in "pure" not "difficult"). Because of the barrier to entry she didn't go to grad school and hated her job until she went back for her PhD ~30 years later. She now teaches history, though not history of science since the university where she lives didn't offer that.

    Point being that I think stories like this happen more than you think. The assumption from the male side may be "Why would you want to enter this field when we're all men and you wouldn't fit in?" but that can quickly veer into outright refusal of admittance.

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  16. Well this a real shock.

    I blame academics, they're just boring people.

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  17. Actually, the assumption from the male side may very well be "finally, some women!"

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  18. Yeah your mom's generation is probably worse. Def sounds like flat-out sexism-- I dunno, what are the causes, insularity/insecurity? What else is there? Like I said, I blame academia!

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  19. And your mom won the "best legs" contest! Those old farts in the department are making my head spin.

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  20. yeah I guess insularity, insecurity, maintenance of status quo, wanting to maintain a position of privilege and assumed superiority, refusing to question that. etc.

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  21. Just to clarify, I was trying to say that Tori Amos is like poops. I hope I didn't cause any confusion earlier. Thanks

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  22. Jon, thanks for clarifying re: poop and thanks for the tips re: "real" lady composers. in sum, thanxx!

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  23. So what can we as blog readerz take away from this thread? I need a "bottom line" for mental closure

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  24. Bottom line: The world is more sexist than most men care to recognize.

    ?

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  25. I don't actually think that Tori Amos is doo, but that is what I was saying.

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  26. she's doo, she's not doo. you've created more confusion than you know.

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  27. Eileen Myles has this great moment in one of her poems where she imagines herself as a midwestern traveling saleswoman, driving through one town after another in a kind of dreamlike denial of how male it all is: the bars, the ballfields, the clubs, the racetracks, etc etc etc etc. Bottom line, anybody want to read Not Me by Eileen Myles and let's talk about it?

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  28. is it online and if not which book is it in?

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  29. I can't remember what the poem's called, but the book is Not Me. It was kind of amazing to look around after reading that and seeing just how many physical spaces are delineated by men, and what that must be like for a woman. So I guess the Bottom Line for this thread should revert to "the world is more sexist than most men care to realize."

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  30. I'd like to read it. Do you own it? We should meet up and do a book trade.

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  31. Hells yes, let's do a book trade. I can give you the Myles and Cathy Park Hong's Dance Dance Revolution if you haven't read that. Also, Under the Stink: the Unauthorized Biography of Tori Amos

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  32. sweet! I haven't read um, any of those. all our books are packed currently but after Thursday or so we can trade you for ... Sam Starkweather's CITY OF MOTHS? HIT WAVE? what have I read recently ... I assume you have Chelsea Minnis. I just read an old David Shapiro book. will think on it.

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