Are we a cult of amateurs?

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kayagum
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Are we a cult of amateurs?

Post by kayagum » Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:11 pm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19196474/from/ET/

Are we a "cult of amateurs" that "devaluates the expert"?

An interesting article, especially when we consider TOMB's place in the universe.

Enjoy! Discuss! :D

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Post by JGriffin » Thu Jun 21, 2007 1:18 pm

Considering that a good number of posters here are highly knowledgeable professionals, I'd say it's not the case at TOMB. In fact, TOMB probably helps when, for example, the pros on the board disabuse some of the amateurs of folk-wisdom misinformation like "you have to use all the bits" and start to educate about proper gain structure.
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Post by apropos of nothing » Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:07 pm

I saw the Wired editorial about that book today, and was thinking in the same context: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/ ... ddite_0621

I mean, sure on the one hand, professionals are pretty smart about some things. If I didn't think that, I wouldn't be here, reading.

On the other hand, I would rather listen to Eyeball Skeleton's album on auto-repeat 30 times in a row rather than hear even one Steely Dan or latter day Pink Floyd song.

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Post by eb. » Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:20 am

"the declining quality of music and video"???? So is he referring to Britney Spears or Michael Jackson or Bread, because they all totally suck.

Back in the day when every human lived in "communities" we had musicians and entertainers, but we didn't worship them like gods like we do now, where they travel throughout the country in freakshow-like "tours" where people praise at the altar of rock'n'suck (Fall Out Boy).

That guy is a hose.

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Post by lsn110 » Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:22 am

Some of my favorite music came out musical movements that valued the amateur over the technical. The Beatles came out of the skiffle scene...And well, punk rock. Nuff said.

There are people that will make the argument that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is waaaaaaay better than Bob Dylan because the TSO gots chops. Honestly, if they want to believe that, whatever. They can and will continue to bemoan the state of things and I can and will continue to discover new gems of music that would not have ever existed under their imagined totalitarian system.

Without going into too much of a rant...if people actually obeyed the leave it to the professionals line of thinking, our society would not have a great many of the inventions that we do have.

DIY forevah.

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:38 am

The Google-ad-subsidized, cut-and-paste world of blogs is the thing that bothers me the most about our modern world. I bet at least a third of internet traffic is related to Google placing ads on sites that impart very little benefit to humanity. The situation has gotten absurd.

In music, the specific example I can cite is the world of music blogs. Sure, they are a new way for up-and-coming bands to be heard and reviewed. But what's REALLY going on, the reason most music blogs exist, is that their owner/operators want to hang some MP3 files out on the internet as a lure in hopes of generating some click-through advertising. Therefore the music blog medium tends to skew towards things that are already in demand (although a few very influential sites like Pitchfork have the ability to actually generate true hype, which then ripples down through the whole community of other music blogs)

This is all a bleak, sad, lonely world apart from the original idea of music, which was originally something that was shared in real time and real space by real people.

I wouldn't trade what we have now, Google ads and all, for what we used to settle for in the 1980s when it was REALLY hard to even find information about cool underground bands (at least for me, growing up in the midwest). But the current model of music blogs is pretty cheezy, I think.

It's not all bad: I am encouraged by the recent developments in live music streaming (eg ejamming.com)

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Post by littlepokey » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:25 am

Music is art. With that in mind, it seems to me that the internet doesnt foster a culture of bad art. It simply makes more art avaialable to the consumer.

From the artist's perspective this is a positive thing because a much larger audience is instantly available to them (albeit a step or 2 removed)

From the audience/consumer's point of view this is a positive thing because there are so many more options available to them. Tastes can be as general or as specific as required. The "experts" aren't in the position of spoon feeding the masses the flavor of the month.

Perhaps there are more "amateur" artists trying their hand at something they are not an expert on. So what. That is a good thing. People should be encouraged to express themselves. Not the other way around. If a consumer doesn't like it, they have the freedom to just listen to something else. It sounds to me like this is someone bitching about the fact that they aren't smart enough to make their own decisions about what they like.

"I miss the days of corporate music exec's dictating my tastes in art"

This is what I believe.
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:39 am

littlepokey wrote:Music is art. With that in mind, it seems to me that the internet doesnt foster a culture of bad art. It simply makes more art avaialable to the consumer.

From the artist's perspective this is a positive thing because a much larger audience is instantly available to them (albeit a step or 2 removed)

From the audience/consumer's point of view this is a positive thing because there are so many more options available to them. Tastes can be as general or as specific as required. The "experts" aren't in the position of spoon feeding the masses the flavor of the month.

Perhaps there are more "amateur" artists trying their hand at something they are not an expert on. So what. That is a good thing. People should be encouraged to express themselves. Not the other way around. If a consumer doesn't like it, they have the freedom to just listen to something else. It sounds to me like this is someone bitching about the fact that they aren't smart enough to make their own decisions about what they like.

"I miss the days of corporate music exec's dictating my tastes in art"

This is what I believe.
I agree with all that, and I'd rather have things the way they are nowadays (even with all the excess noise of traffic-generating crud Google ads-subsidized sites) than how they were in 1984 (pick your poison: Thompson Twins or Duran Duran, both delivered up by Casey Kasem on the lone, one-way media pipe [FM] into the house)

That said, there's an awful lot of junk floating around the web. Webshit, I call it.

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Post by bannerj » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:36 am

amateur in the root Latin means, "lover." There is no need to hate on amateurs.

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Post by centurymantra » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:09 pm

bannerj wrote:amateur in the root Latin means, "lover." There is no need to hate on amateurs.
Nuff said...lock the thread! 8)
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Post by Gorilla » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:15 pm

There was also a great book from a couple of years ago called the wisdom of crowds. When you look at who we elect for president (or american idol or whatever) you may not believe in the wisdom of crowds, HOWEVER, the average answer to a question from a group of people is usually more reliable than the loan expert's opinion.

I tend to think of message boards as being less about armatures and more of a crowd or community. Pick any long thread on here -- favorite mic pre, what kind of mixer should I buy, the efficacy of cheap condensers. If you truly looked at the average answers, I think you'd find wisdom -- even with the experts that are on this board the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:30 pm

That Wisdom of Crowds book drove me nuts. Pop sociology at its worst. It made me think though. Sometimes the crowd does fine at something, sometimes the 'experts' do way better than the crowd. The book emphasized examples where the crowd is 'wise' but ignored all the times that the crowd can't even tell whether it's coming or going.

Malcolm Gladwell and James Suroweicki have managed to sell many, many books by writing those half-baked books about how the 'conventional wisdom' is always wrong. The problem is, sometimes the conventional wisdom is just fine.

End of rant.

I agree that the TOMB works best as a community. I really like it here for that reason.

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Post by Colin F. » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:13 pm

bannerj wrote:amateur in the root Latin means, "lover." There is no need to hate on amateurs.
Exactly. An amateur is someone that does something merely for the "love of it" rather than for money. There is no shame in that.

I think with recording, in particular, its a very interesting time period that I actually think is moving into a new phase. For about the past decade, with software advancements, its become quite easy to surpass low quality and even mid-quality recordings of say 15 to 20 years ago. On the other hand, its harder than ever to be a professional as the amount of WORK involved in producing something which is generally deemed as "professional" is greater than ever.

I notice this all the time when I hear those 90s flashback type block on FM radio. Mixes from the early 90s sound thin and rough by today's standards, even when they are done by the same mixing engineer!

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Post by comfortstarr » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:55 pm

This book (which I've yet to read, but have heard a couple of extensive interviews with the author) feels more scary and probably more accurate: http://www.bordersstores.com/search/tit ... pe=Keyword

Basically, she's saying that for some, the digital age is resulting in less prolonged reading and analysis activities by individuals and that that actually leads to different physiological evolution inside the brain.

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Post by E-money » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:59 pm

I'm purposely keeping my amateur status in hopes of Olympic gold in 2012.
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