Sunday, May 27, 2007

ten reasons lists might be trouble

sjz: More lists please!
tig: I’m happy to oblige.

  1. Do lists tell us we’re different?
    Do they help us tell each other apart…?
  2. …Or do they confirm that we are the same?
  3. Nothing wrong with vibrators of course, and the devices in question can evoke playful responses (they fire-off ideas of technosex and cyborgism in me).
    However, if list-making is a form of ‘big dick daftness’ (like men comparing themselves), it’s entirely appropriate that Sequenza21/ (whose discussions often border on the juvenile) would ask for pieces of music to “drive the adventurous iGasm user into sensory [sexual] overload”. For Sequenza21/ thoughts of self-stimulation sans penis can only lead to list making. (Susan McClary would have a field day.)
  4. There’s no canon—certainly no The Canon—there is only canonizing.
  5. I hope there is a difference between history (rich, convoluted, complex and contradictory) and list-making (simple, neat, reductionist and positivist)…
  6. …but I sometimes fear there may not be.
  7. What inconvenient complexity do we need to sweep under the rug to make our lists? Do they privilege objects—static (‘unchanging’) and durable (‘timeless’)—and devalue performances—process, practice and labor?
  8. As the Great Derek Bailey (you see? I’m not immune to the canonizing impulse either) pointed out, over the years, the number of Greats in the jazz tradition reduce in number. I don’t want to see people disappear and communities get erased.
  9. And why 10 (or 40 or 100)? Why would 10 (or 40 or 100) be (more) complete?

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