the kids are all-right

this morning, T sent me this article from the Christian Science monitor on Serbian turbo-folk.  It is a nice piece, and captures what I observed of the music myself–although author Itano mentioned it several times, it bears repeating: the turbo-folk scene is filled with women in high HIGH heels, short SHORT skirts, and big BIG lips.  the infusion of surgically enhanced women into former yugoslavia is unrivaled by every place but Hollywood and Las Vegas.

one of the things i’ve marvelled at, lately, is the ability of contemporary right-wing despotic governments to capitalize upon the power of pop music.  In the U.S., we tend to think of pop music (the big category that includes disco, rock, R&B, etc.–“pop” in the sense of “popular”) as indelibly anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian, and sometimes simply anti-authority.  But elsewhere in the world, this position is laughable.  The use of turbo-folk by the criminal Milosevic and now Serbian right-wing candidates is one example.  The use of rock music in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge is another.

It stands to reason, then, that the truism that pop music is an avenue for liberation–sexual, social, and cultural–is actually a mechanism (an ideology) that assists despots, ethnic cleansers, and mean, bad communists.  (obvs. as distinguished from the good communists!)  the objective, then, is to deconstruct, or (Ahem, Dartmouth students) analyze how this liberation ideology has been built, developed, and deployed, and to pay particular attention to its manifestation in authoritarian states.

Speaking. Of. Which.  I am still effing waiting on someone to point me to a good article/book on the topic of Cambodian rock and roll.  I’ve asked nicely, but I’m getting upset over here.  And if it doesn’t exist…if you come to the conclusion, as I have begun to, that this is a totally overlooked phenomena, then why, praytell, aren’t you asking me to NSFit with you and your fluent-in-Cambodian-colleague?


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