Jan 19, 2009, 08:44AM

Subversion of subversion

On going discussion/debate over the ubiquity of Guitar Hero.

These guys are really getting into it:

Distraction is the permanent end state of the perfected consumer, not least because distraction is a state that is eminently programmable. To buy a guitar is to open possibilities. To buy Guitar Hero is to close them. A commenter on Horning's article writes, "To me, the radical move that Guitar Hero makes is to turn music into an objectively measurable activity that is more amenable to our Protestant work ethic. It brings the corporation’s focus on quantitative performance indicators to the domain of music, displacing the usual mode of subjective enjoyment."

  • And this is surprising? I hate Guitar Hero, but the subversion of classic rock songs goes way back.

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  • This article is so sloppy and condescending. He's talking about a state of distraction, which I would trace to Benjamin's ubiquitous (and brilliant) "work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction," an essay that describes the anti-fascist powers of reproduced art, that is, that art which is reproduced to the point of omnipresence loses some of its "aura" and thus is harder to turn towards fascist statecraft. To claim that guitar hero, then, is a cheap way for the proletariat to amuse themselves instead of actually improving themselves is therefore puzzling at best and condescending at worst. How can the writer distinguish between two arbitrary evaluations of a task (musical proficiency and guitar hero proficiency) and claim that one is liberating and the other enslaving? What a bunch of reactionary drivel. What's important is what people make of Guitar Hero, not what some bloodless intellectual decides guitar hero means. Basically, if you're having fun doing it, fuck the haters.

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  • Kids these days, get off my lawn! But seriously, what a bunch of elitist drivel. An anecdote: my 11-year-old brother got Guitar Hero and has been playing it non-stop. As a result, he's asked my parents to buy him a bass. And by the way, I don't know that channeling Marxism is quite the best way to get across a point. Though in this case it's an efficient signaling mechanism that the ideas expressed are crap.

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