Sometime today the Rolling Stone Tumblr got its 50,000th follower.
I think those zits that live beneath the surface of your skin and are super-painful, and you try squeezing them but nothing really happens besides your face getting red and blotchy but they keep hurting for days, are probably worse than the ones that hurt for a day or so and then emerge like something massive you haven’t seen since you were like, 14, because at least you can pop those and they look a LITTLE better (but not really of course), and then you curse the gods for STILL GIVING YOU ZITS even as you now use a moisturizer with retinol more for its wrinkle-avoiding properties than anything else. And then you look in the mirror again to make sure that zit is sorta gone and you’re all, “THAT FOOT OF CROW WAS NOT THERE YESTERDAY.”
I just think it’s funny that we live in a world where people actually, seriously write “RTs are not endorsements” as a thing that is important to know about them.
And then it dawns on me that Jim DeRogatis’ objection to Pitchfork is based on something deeper than the fact that they’ve almost put him out of business: it’s that he’s committed to thinking about music, and acting, like a 17-year-old, with his heart on his sleeve complaining about his boss to a newspaper, bitching to me about not feeling like a VIP, writing a book about his teenage hero, and generally being an insolent, self-contradictory, spoiled, histrionic, bratty guy.
And if Pitchfork was a guy he would be almost the opposite of that guy, or he would have at least grown out of being anything like that guy. There are no more 0.0s, the writing is professional and well-mannered and sometimes quasi-academic and almost never voicey. Pitchfork grew up and is now engaged in a kind of disembodied, endless taxonomy of pop music, which is astute sometimes and interesting to read when it’s on point, and useful and thoughtful, but you’d be hard-pressed to find people who would describe the writing as passionate. You read it and sometimes learn a lot, and find out about a ton of great music, but it’s really far from Lester Bangs sitting on the floor in his messy living room and raving about records he loves on a typewriter. Pitchfork writing is serious about pop music and Jim DeRogatis is passionate about it, and obviously those overlap sometimes but they come from different places.
And now there are 30 million people reading Pitchfork and roughly 0 million people reading Jim DeRogatis, and his philosophy about writing and thinking about music is currently music writing’s historical loser, and somewhere out there in the crowd right now is music writing’s current historical winner, Nitsuh Abebe, maybe taking notes on his phone, maybe problematizing some arguments, and likely on his way to composing a piece that will make you think, like, “Fuck! That’s so smart.” It won’t metaphorically take you somewhere new, or get you really excited about a record or music, but that’s not what it’s aspiring to do.