Thursday, January 10, 2008

The EMP Pop Conference rejected my presentation proposal, "I Wanna Destroy You: The Prisoner's Dilemma and Conflict Between Multiple Band Leaders." No esoteric, only-half-serious-at-best discussions of game theory for you! Their theme this year involved the effect of pop music on major political conflict, especially relating to Latin American music.

It may sound like sour grapes when I say that I think that pop music has absolutely nothing to do with real political conflict in almost all cases (with a few rare exceptions, such as reggae on Jamaican politics in the late 70s and Fela Kuti on Nigerian politics in the same period). And it may sound like sour grapes when I say that I know almost nothing about Latin American music that hasn't been written to death (because the Latin American music I love is pretty much tropicalia [psychedelic Brazilian pop from the late 60s and 70s], about which I can contribute nothing new). These may sound like sour grapes because they are.

Anyway, I proposed a discussion of the intersection of two topics that I do halfway understand, because I think the essential conflict in pop music is internal, between band members or sometimes within a single songwriter wresting with competing impulses. I think it would have been a fun topic, but that, as they say, is that.


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