I’m finally back from my whirlwind “Spring Break” trip to Northern California. I had a wonderful time visiting my old friend Paolo Parigi at Stanford, and giving a talk to the Organizations and Markets workshop organized by Mark Granovetter, Paolo and perhaps one other (apologies!). Had a short day at Berkeley with a co-author, and a half day in the city visiting a friend. Short trip, but good, and I’m glad to get feedback on my research from such fine minds.
The week after you return from a trip like this is always a furious flurry of paperwork, email, and in this case, a whole lot of student-related business, what with it being midterm season. I should be on the other side of it now, with a little more time to devote here. I won’t be able to get through it all, but it will help to start with a digest of things on my desk.
First is an article sent by PL from the Onion AV club: “How Long Does it Take to ‘Get’ an Album?” I’ve had in my mind for some time the idea of tracking responses to novel music over time and in a variety of contexts. [That said, “consumption practices” aren’t really my gig, just yet.] If you talk to music reviewers (and this is mentioned in the article, but true also in my interview data), they often mention the importance of listening to an album while driving, walking, or otherwise in motion. I’m not sure I understand why this is so, but I’d like to figure it out.
Next is the Internet sensation: Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and a funny article in Billboard about its horrible earwormy-ness, sent by GR. At the end of the article, it mentions a Tin Pan Alley style production process that lies behind the song (and a roster of other artists, none of whom I’d heard of). I’d like to know more about Ark Music Factory, so hit me up if you know anything.
Third is Bret Easton Ellis’s analysis of Charlie Sheen as a “post-Empire” celebrity. The concept is interesting and not unrelated to a distinction I’ve written about here before: the contest between celebrity brand identities and media framing devices. I’ll have to spend more time thinking before I can compare my approach and Ellis’s argument, but his piece is funny, offensive (he’s got an extremely Empire sounding set of patriarchal, misogynistic ideas) and interesting, and worth reading in its own right.
Finally, a blog written by a reporter located in Yemen, but recently deported and now in Ethiopia. It is hard to get accurate news from inside Yemen–most of the foreign nationals are constrained for occupational reasons from disclosing their personal observations of the regime and its monstrous, manipulative control of the populace. And now the reporters are being deported.