I take issue with Emilie Friedlander’s claim that Kim’s was the snobbiest record store in New York City; that title belongs to Other Music, whose microfine genre shelving distinguished, for example, “trance” from “dream.” But Kim’s was cool, and its employees liked bands and movies that you did not know about. Paradoxically, that made them cool to those of us who prided ourselves on not liking what other people liked. The defining feature of popular culture was that everybody knew about it, and popularity correlated inversely with quality—in tastes, at least, if not in individual works. Except now, thanks to the internet, everybody knows about everything.
Shamus Khan’s opinion piece about “The New Elitists” initially made me angry. Sure, I enjoyed the sweet anecdote about William Vanderbilt getting snubbed by the New York Academy of Music, and I’m always up for a screed against the rich. The rich are given resources out of all proportion to their talent and usefulness, usually by their parents. It’s a peculiar way to run a country that defined itself against inherited aristocracy, although it makes more sense if you think of the United States as the country that defined itself against Marxism. My complaint is that Khan focuses his column on cultural elitism—the “omnivorousness” that passes for sophistication but is often simply the hallmark of privilege. I consider myself a cultural omnivore. I like Sean Paul’s art and Jean Paul Sartre. Must I therefore be an elite?
You should be listening to the Co-Main Event Podcast, hosted by my friends Chad Dundas and Ben al-Fowlkes. Even if you don’t follow mixed martial arts—which would be insane, like not following boxing during the 1920s—you can appreciate the funny segments, including MasterTweet Theatre with Sir Nigel Longstock. Sir Nigel is the world’s foremost theatricalist. He is also me, and as a Twitter account he is far more popular than my actual Twitter account. He may not have as many total followers yet, but in the time I spent writing the last two sentences he got three. Since yesterday, when Sir Nigel joined Twitter, he has accumulated 40 followers—a rate that far exceeds any acceleration @Combat_Blog ever achieved. Should I therefore conclude that Sir Nigel is a more successful endeavor than this blog? Obviously not, which tells us something about the internet as metric.