Monthly Archives: April 2018

Final Showdown: Jefferson vs. Hamilton

Jefferson’s idea that everyone should be uniform farmers was the best way to run America is ridiculous. I can’t imagine what life would be like without the same innovations and technological advances we have today. Even writing this online blog post would have been impossible without the consequent waves of innovation that Hamilton’s idea of pressing toward the future catalyzed. Not everyone can be a farmer because then there is no specialization. While Jefferson does make a point when he says it’s harder to keep a nation together without uniform interests, I think he missed the mark a little. Just because everyone doesn’t have the same profession, and thus economic interest, doesn’t mean we don’t have the same national interests. Our interest IS America, no matter if you’re a doctor, a teacher, or a blacksmith. The reason I mesh better with Hamilton’s ideas is that he describes America much like what I have grown up with. Our culture is all about individualism and what makes each person stand out among the crowd. Americans strive to answer the question, how does my uniqueness contribute and build community? And I think this is a perfect reflection of it.


What would I be without this?

Morality of Music Stealing

With the evolution of music technology, it’s no wonder piracy has been a increasingly long thorn in artists’ side. The ability to illegally copy music, and then distribute it for free (or worse, for profit, thus taking money right out of the original creator’s hands) has only gotten easier. It’s kind of funny too, because a lot of the same people who are worried over piracy (aside from the artists themselves, of course) are the same people who shy away when faced with the suggestion that fans should make sure artists they like listening to are supported and paid for their work. It’s all kind of crappy when I think about it. On the one hand, it’s so easy to say I support these artists, and they should be paid for their hard work and creativity. It sounds like a no-duh moment. But on the other, that can be expensive and I like keeping things cheap. Even beyond music, I run into this problem more frequently than I would have guessed. I love the idea of supporting independent artists and clothing lines, craft and jewelry shops, but it can be a lot cheaper and easier just to get something at Walmart. I feel like those artists are being neglected, and find myself wanting someone else to support them. It’s a bit hypocritical, I know, but I feel this is a reflection of today’s popular music industry. At the end of the day, nobody (the producer or the consumer) really cares about the artists anymore, it’s just about that cold hard cash.


I can confirm


Nature of the Mp3

When creating (or recording) music, often times there are moments when the frequencies of the different instruments cancel each other out and the listener does not hear both instruments. During conversion into an mp3 file, this overlap can then be removed, because, after all, you don’t need to include something you can’t hear anyway. This allows for mp3’s to be much smaller than the original file, and easier for transportation and storage. There is something about this process that bugs me. It seems like technology is trying to deceive you. Producers are selling you something that is only half of what you thought you were buying. It’s like going to a concert where the lead singer lip syncs, only it’s so natural that you don’t even realize it. While taking these overlapping parts away does make it easier and cheaper, and it really shouldn’t matter anyway since I can’t hear it, it just seems that people are lying about it. But I guess a distinguishing factor of today’s music (versus the music produced and sold fifty years ago) is that in order to have it fast, cheap, and now, shortcuts and robotic tuning must take place. It still bothers me that Katy Perry singing from my iTunes download sounds so different than the Katy Perry singing at a concert. I also know it doesn’t logically make sense to not like the mp3 process, but the feeling of somewhat being jipped remains.


I want to download this whole experience. But then, would it even be authentic anymore?

Lomax’s Quest for the Ideal

Miller describes the journey Lomax goes on trying to find ‘real folk music’. He ended up travelling to various prisons, hoping that the black inmates would reveal to him this perfect condition of what he called folk. Instead, he found that the inmates had all sorts of music, like pop songs of the time, a military band, and even an orchestra. Lomas didn’t find the “isolation and homogeneity” that he sought from the prisons’ black inmates. To me the whole idea of what Lomax was trying to do is kind of silly. He just made up some stereotype in his head and then spent actual money and real time on trying to prove it. I know his intention was supposed to be noble (?). He felt that folk music was dying and desired to preserve a piece of American cultural history before it was destroyed. But the thing is, no matter how hard you look, nothing you record or categorize with be the authentic product. When he recorded Muddy Waters, the singer didn’t even know what Lomax was talking about when he wanted him to play folk music. Muddy listened to the radio and heard pop music just like everyone else. Its frustrating when I see how Lomax was trying to push this ideal he had in his head onto so many other people. And while Muddy may have made it into his own thing in the end, so-called folk music wasn’t where his heart and desire was. He wanted to sing the songs all the other popular (white?) artists were playing. He didn’t want to be confined to one genre, a genre that wasn’t even his own but was forced upon him by a disillusioned man looking for something that didn’t exist.


They spent all that time looking to preserve folk music sung by black slaves in the field, yet this is what folk music looks like today. I say his efforts to preserve this part of history didn’t work out so well.