By: Ben Johnson
|This is what happens when you let them stay up through nap time.|
My friend Kelly McClure is a music publicist, which is a profession that involves creating and inhabiting a world of information that is nominally about music but which, unlike music, might actually get people paid. I like my friend Kelly. She’s one of my best friends. She’s funny and she’s neurotic in all the best ways, and she appears to like me even though I, as a human, am basically repulsive.
One of the things she’s been made aware of from swimming in her music information world, which very much is not the same as a “real” world that people actually live in, is this thing that’s happening between Mark Kozelek and Pitchfork.com. Apparently, Kozelek has been a “lightning rod” for “controversy,” and he called some audience people rednecks, and then he improvised a very sexist song about Pitchfork contributing editor Laura Snapes, and apparently Pitchfork changed their review of his recent album from “I [Ian Cohen] like it (?)” to “I [Mark Richardson] don’t like it,” and Ian Cohen was also the guy who wrote that one album review that said “people who work in factories for a living are sad and depressing” (I’m paraphrasing; there’s only so much research I’m willing to do about this) in it, which aggravated a whole lot of people who definitely do not work in a factory.
Kelly wanted to know my opinion about all of this, and I can’t imagine how another opinion could be helpful, other than to theorize that maybe Kelly’s afraid of finally going completely and totally insane, and just would like a tether to reality from the group of all people who do not and will not ever give a shit about this kind of a thing. I already feel bad about mentioning all of these people’s names, because that is publicity, and that is a vote of confidence, and that is cultural capital, and that is what keeps the whole ugly machine running. Which, actually, is good for Kelly in a professional sense.
How about I’ll just give out grades to all the parties involved on a scale of 1 to 10, like Pitchfork?
Mark Kozelek: 7.4
First of all, it should be mentioned that Mark Kozelek’s music is boring. Like intentionally. I have never listened to anything he’s ever done and had a thought other than “my life will be better when I’m no longer listening to this.” Maybe you like that kind of music, though. I don’t know. Maybe you’re having a depressive episode. Almost definitely you are white, and very likely you could benefit from getting laid and/or going down a damn water slide or otherwise doing something that’s fun. So as far as I’m concerned, all of this guy’s music is just not for me.
I don’t regard this as a moral failing of Mark Kozelek’s, though, it’s just background for what kinds of thoughts I have whenever somebody tells me something about what he’s up to. It’s like hearing news about a new kind of boat that is extra fast, or looking at a picture on Facebook of some distant acquaintance’s kid holding a sign that says “first day of toddler school.” Thanks for the information that doesn’t apply to me, this was a good but unnecessary reminder that fast boats and strange children in toddler school are things which exist in the world.
The reason why I’m giving this dude a 7.4 even though he makes boring music for boring people to read magazines to in their boring houses, is he called those people rednecks for not shutting up at his show, and he appears to be a generally obnoxious, unlikable person who takes himself way too seriously, and apparently has no shame about it, because he’s the guy from Red House Painters, you know, that band, Red House Painters? That is a good archetype for entertainment purposes. He’s like every character on Veep, except for music, and except also a real person. As much as I’d like to be “socially responsible” and “chastise” him for being “problematic,” laughing at the dude is probably a better way to deal with the situation. He’s the guy from Red Fucking House Painters.
Laura Snapes: 9.1
I don’t know anything about Laura Snapes. She appears to be just doing her job. Good job doing your job, Laura Snapes. I hope that sexist song that this giant fucking baby Mark Kozelek sang about you didn’t bum you out too much. And if it did, I hope you benefit from the commensurate uptick in visibility with a book deal or something that makes you feel good an amount that supersedes the amount you got bummed out.
Ian Cohen: 0.0
It’s super fun to give Ian Cohen a 0.0 rating whenever the opportunity strikes. I recommend it.
Mark Richardson: 8.7
I didn’t actually read his review of the most recent Sun Kil Moon album because I could not care less, but Mark Richardson gets high praise from me for stepping in there when there was an opening, writing whatever reactionary horseshit Pitchfork wanted, and getting a damn check for a review about an album that Pitchfork already had a review for. Whether Pitchfork already paid Ian Cohen for his review, or if they decided not to pay Ian Cohen, both are awesome. Keep getting those checks, Mark Richardson. It’s all a big stupid circus anyway.
I think your website is fantastic, and you should definitely be responsive to Kelly McClure’s pitches, because she’s repping some really good bands. I hope I'm using all the right terminology. You people are all weirdos.