blogs are dead

so i’m live tweeting the Grammys (TM) this year. over @WITWhat, if you’re in the mood.

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Naima Green’s wonderful work

I just love this series by photographer Niama Green:

Sade, by Naima Green

Sade, by Naima Green

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as you might have expected, i’ll vma but i’ll do it over on twitter. @WITWhat if you want to follow along, or maybe it’s still in a sidebar somewhere.

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does mtv deserve another chance

do i need to do another vma simul-blogging event? does this ferguson, MO spot change my mind?


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avant-garde to scene-based

Once we argued into the night about whether we would accept money from Guinness to do an ad. (“It would be a lot of money.” “But they’re a corporation!” “But we drink Guinness.”) Incidentally, Guinness had not offered us money to do an ad. We just thought it was an important principal that needed to be argued about.

A reminiscence at the Irish Times.

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a written version of a spoken version of a written version

a modified transcript of an interview I did with the good people at The Society Pages is available now on their webpage. i’m starting the following rumor: if you go to the page it increases the chance by .075% that they will reprint the interview in their upcoming series on culture.

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As an author, you either speak out when people are unfair to the work, or you hold your tongue and expect most people will be more careful.

I’m a tongue-holder, except for now:

Regev (2013: 128-9) cites my book in his and concludes that “the analysis of genre trajectories implies that genres cannot exist concurrently in multiple incarnations—at any given moment a genre’s incarnation is either avant-garde, scene-based or industry based.” But implication is not necessary. I recommend you turn to pages 62-3 in Banding Together, where I discuss “the overlap of genre forms within a musical style, [as] it is clearly the case that such overlap exists.” I give you a few examples there, too.


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witw in the newz

it’s worth me parachuting into my own blog to mention two important news items (not necessarily in order of importance):

1. The online journal Sociological Science is up-and-running with four very excellent pieces of research.

2. News of the journal’s debut has hit the Stanford Graduate School of Business site, and this blog gets its first “news” mention in the article. I *am* a popular social science blog, trust me.

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this pug

This pug dressed as a wrecking ball (carrying this Barbie dressed as Miley Cyrus) has been nominated the spirit animal for the 2014 Grammy Awards. And with that, let Grammynation bind itself together, in front of the almighty screen.

Those of you joining us from the Red Carpet pre-show might reasonably ask, ‘What are you wearing?’ Thank you for asking. The gown is entirely from Old Navy (2011 and 2012 collections), and the jewels are from Claires. Tell me, what should the Signature Drink be?

20 performances. 12 collaborations. PLUS, a “celebration 50 years in the making” and all the nominations for album of the year perform.

“Someone who grew up on the Grammy’s:” Beyonce, threatening to Flashdance because she’s “Drunk in Love.” This song is her Rhianna moment for me: warbly notes, crazy giggle interjections, bleeped out words. Plus, she’s grinding around on a chair, as if dancing would make her fall. HOVA on the stage in his <rap tux.> (Note: just a tux.)


The whole performance gets a solid 3.5 visual, 4.5 sound. (pirate bay rules)

L.L. Cool J is the host, and still has his purple velour tux (rap tux) and Kangol hat. Also: jaunty pin.

Full helmet Daft Punk.

First award: Best New Artist. Pharrell’s hat will be a meme in 3, 2, 1….

1009smokey1Am I rite?

Best new artist is…Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. (Our voters are 1-1) “We made this record without a label” (CUE EXIT MUSIC)

Lorde, performing “Royals,” easily the thing I’m most interested to see. She’s playing on a raised circular stage with a drummer and a synth set, and she’s got screen images of those angels from Dr. Who. (Not really. Just regular sculptures.) I love the “I’ve just voted in the middle east” nail treatment she chose to go with the “extra in a john hughes movie” outfit.

For threading the line between faithfulness to the record and refreshing it, I’d give her an 8.3. For energy, a 3.2. Is it only me, or is the show on benzodiazepines?

Commercial break #1, and I’m confused.

LL Cool J wants all you kids to listen to all the words of this Hunter Hays song because you should “dare to be different.” In case that’s not enough soothing, there are Steve Jobs and John Lennon quotes up on the screen to reassure you. I remember being a teenager, and I know it’s tough, but I’m getting really wary of all these folks engaging in relentless pandering to teen angst in order to make a buck.

“Pop duo/group performance:” “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and (the here credited) Nile Rodgers. Daft Punk won’t talk, which is great. “On behalf of the robots…” says Pharrell.

Steve Coogan is going the next award, and how much I wish he was still in his crazy, wild days. Introducing Juicy Jay and Katy Perry, with a nice joke about how it may be “hard out here for a pimp” but it “isn’t that easy for the prostitutes, either.”

I took my eyes away from the TV for a second, and there’s Katy Perry singing some insipid song dressed as a Traveler Witch. (We don’t say “gypsy” anymore, please.) “She’ll eat your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer” is a line any self-respecting rapper in 2013 should GIVE TO HIS KID FOR THE 4TH GRADE RAPPING COMPETITION.

Commercial break. Increasingly convinced it’s 2001.

(I guess people were really disturbed by that Lorde performance. Talk of drugs and seizures. Can’t figure out why.)

Chicago and Robin Thicke: a perfect whitey white white white white. Chicago’s horn section is pretty fun, tho. Resolved: I’m singing Chicago at the next karaoke night. Am I being really crass to suggest this is a calculated attempt by Thicke to distance himself from the Miley teddy bear/spirit finger performance? Oh, it’s not crass. Now he’s singing “Blurred Lines,” with Robert Palmer style back up singers, with the Chicago guys, full tux, performing with him. Not a teddy bear in sight.

Keith Urban is performing and he’s got his black t-shirt unbuttoned (when did we, as a society, allow t-shirts to have buttons?) just far enough for me to see he’s got some kind of dragon/starburst tattoo over his heart. And Gary whosit (Clark, Junior) has shopped at the same store as Pharrell, junior edition.

SB201The Grammy’s innovation is year is a “Twitter Mirror” which is seven kinds of odd, in part because they put it in the basement/garage.

John Legend pretty much always dresses like an angel, right? I’m not joking, that’s a straight lullaby that he just sang. THIS YEAR’S GRAMMY’S, SPONSORED BY CODEINE.

Best rock song, aka the category in which every single person is 10,000 years old and one group’s (Muse) video features the lead singer dressed for a 2001 SFO rave: Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney and etc. for “[I blacked out the name…SNOOZE].” If more than five people reading this have heard that song before tonight, I’ll buy drinks for the whole bar.

Taylor Swift is now performing on a piano seat that has a gauze train. I assume it’s going to marry another piano seat later, when Macklemore plays. In the middle bridge, she chose to manically flip her hair back and forth, thereby producing the first necessary GIF of the night.

Snoozy snooze snooze.

Location of this year's Grammy's

Location of this year’s Grammy’s

“Superbowl halftime performer Bruno Mars” introducing Pink, doing an aerialist routine while she sings. It’s pretty cool that she appears to have no security wires, and allowed the audience members to spin her around. It looks genuinely fun. Especially the part where an oiled up dancer catches her. He might be Jax from the Real Housewives show, FWIW. And from her breathing, I take it she might actually be singing. En seriouso: every time I hear her sing, I’m so impressed by her voice and showmanship. She’s pretty underappreciated, given her talent.

Best pop solo performance: Lorde, “Royals.” (YAY!) Great short thanks focused on her co-nominees, and then she walks right down the stairs LIKE A BOSS. Love that gal.

This is going to happen sometime soon.

This is going to happen sometime soon.

Oh LOOK! Twitter informs me that I correctly predicted the meme (YAY ME!)


I’m not going to comment on this Ringo Starr performance because I’m sick of telling you people not to hand him the mike.

Best Rap Collaboration: “Holy Grail,” Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake. “Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you, Blue.” Real talk. Justin Timberlake wasn’t at the show; reporting in from a Target in Orange County. Very funny; Blue only drinks from platinum sippy cups, daddy.

Kanye and Rihanna are Def Jam artists? “Rap is always rock” L.L.? Whatsit?

Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons perform. First FIRST performance with any energy. I’m loving watching Taylor Swift dance in the front row. Imagine Dragons best taiko group, 2013.

Poor Casey Musgraves now needs to follow that up with her Eletrik Cowgal nonsense. I assume this ballad to ambivalence is kitch-that-forgot-we-can’t-decipher-southern-kitch. (It looks the same as sincerity, IMHO.)

Please god, no more Beatles. I’m refusing to comment on this one, too.

Here we go, do this instead:

TAYLOR-SWIFT-DANCINGI think there’s another hour and a half of this, but I’m inclined just to take this to twitter. Folks over there are talking to me. @WITWhat. Find me.




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voting opens late

what the hell…let’s vote for winners.



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