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On Biz Markie and nostalgia

Biz Markie performing in Amager Bio, Denmark.

Image via Wikipedia

My friend’s niece is a big fan of Yo Gabba Gabba!, a brilliant brand of childrens’ programing on the part of Nick Jr. I remember finding ridiculous videos from the show and trying to show them to some of my friends. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn beat boxing from Biz Markie?

Well, at one point, I tried to pitch the show to a few friends. They didn’t buy it. Instead, they launched into a nostalgia-fest of childhood, with the usual “kids today have terrible television,” and “in my day” speeches. It made me feel old not because we were discussing TV shows from decades past, but because my friends seemed so set in their ways.

I bring this up because the field of music journalism includes many pitfalls, one being nostalgia. I often worry that sometimes I may lean a little too hard on my Fugazi reference-points. And I fear that sometime in the future I may turn myself off from current music and still try to serve the cause of music journalism.

Case in point: Chris Conrad’s deplorable article on “The Aughties versus the ’80s” for South Oregon’s Mail Tribune. Conrad’s work of “journalism” is half grumpy-old-man-complaining, half factually impoverished. It appears as if Conrad just sought out some space to complain about things he didn’t know about and talk about the good ole’ days of indie rock by using Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life as a veritable crutch without understanding the finer points of the book. That being, those artists, those kids, made their music partially because of the old white guys telling them how great the good ole days were.

It’s an article that should warrant an entirely different sphere of conversation. But, it still worries me. What if I come to a point where I outright ignore the vital music of the present, come to the conclusion that the future of music is bunk and still believe that I have the ability to curate the vanguard of pop music? Isn’t that a failure of journalism in and of itself?

Obviously, that’s all in the future. But the example of my friends’ dislike of Yo Gabba Gabba! tends to be disheartening. Fortunately, whenever the Biz came up this weekend, that show’s very name wasn’t far behind. It seems there are still some people my age who notice the creativity on TV that’s entertaining the children of tomorrow. And that gives me hope for the future.

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