Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
79

Is Rick Moody Too Wealthy to Criticize Taylor Swift?

People are angry that Rick Moody has opined that Taylor Swift's music is ten kinds of commercial suck. Their beef is this bit: That it will not matter that we all will realize that she is terrible, "because her parents work in finance, and she has good manners, and she’s going to marry up, and she’s going to get into the movies (not just guest appearances in CSI), and she’s going to launch some clothing lines at Target (no, wait, I think she already did that), and a personal fragrance (I think she did that too), and parlay all her bad press into some self-serious complaints, making good on every opportunity to monetize her career at the expense of making actual art."

The anger is about how he's in too glassy a house to throw that stone, which is not really accurate, I don't think? I mean, just because: The Black Veil v. Fearless? One of those is a commercial enterprise.

The criticism is still in the semi-inchoate early Tumblr levels now; surely someone will write something more thorough later, explaining why someone who isn't poor can't criticize someone for being a truly devoted brand-builder on the back of cannily crafted pop music.

Let's compare and contrast: Wikipedia's "early life" section for Taylor Swift describes where she "summered" and also has this: "Swift's first hobby was English horse riding." Also she has ALREADY, terribly, dated a Kennedy? At the same time, Rick Moody's Wikipedia includes the sentence "He lives in Brooklyn and Fishers Island."

This is a good turn of events overall though, because once upon a time only rich people were allowed to have discussions about books or movies or music. Now it is something we flag.

Me, I'm just mad that he slagged off Alanis along the way—criticizing the "faux-confessionality" of "Jagged Little Pill"??? HOW DARE YOU SIR. Pistols at dawn.

79 Comments / Post A Comment

C_Webb (#855)

I think the part about "marrying up" is insidious. WTF? Does he mean "up" in terms of music "royalty" (OK haha whatev) or in terms of class, which since she's already rich can only mean marrying someone like — oh, I don't know — an ancestor of a figure in a Hawthorne story? In which case … ew?

Also, no, Rick, my ten year old daughter was not "duped" when she bought "Red" with her allowance. She bought fun pop songs that she likes to sing in the same way she likes these stupid "Yummy Breakfast" keychains that she attaches to her backpack. Unless Taylor Swift is claiming to be Neko Case or Patti Griffin (is she?) then yes, hate away, but don't act as if everyone singing along is stuck in the fucking Matrix. Heck, I hate the music too, but that doesn't make me a better fucking person.

C_Webb (#855)

@C_Webb Also: Am I poor enough to criticize Rick Moody?

HereKitty (#2,713)

@C_Webb Seriously, is "marrying up" even still a thing?

I guess it is for middle-aged men who have nothing better to do than be the absolute last person to weigh in on 23-year-old tween idols.

Leon (#6,596)

@C_Webb – I wish somebody would claim to be Merv Griffin.

Honest Engine (#1,661)

@HereKitty @C_Webb Seriously, is "marrying up" even still a thing?

It is on Fishers Islands, for sure.

CaptBackslap (#10,313)

@C_Webb I think "ew" severely underplays how disturbing it would be if Taylor Swift married a centuries-old lich.

Aloysius (#1,808)

If you're admitting to blowing Dave Coulier in a movie theater, your confessionality is pretty fucking real.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@Aloysius – STRONG AGREEMENT. His Alanis Morrisette slam is wholly unwarranted.

CaptBackslap (#10,313)

@Aloysius – I was more offended by the Natalie Imbruglia diss. "Torn" was one of the best singles of the '90s. Also, dear god she was beautiful.

LondonLee (#922)

I started reading that expecting something more than the tired old rockist argument about "authenticity" but that's all it is.

And I find it funny that he says Swift isn't that original while wanking over trad rockers like Los Lobos.

He's basically the kids in my High School who hated punk and disco.

I don't think he's too rich to criticize Taylor Swift; I think he's too much of a raging rockist sexist (and ageist! TEENAGE GIRLS MAN) to do so. You don't see him dredging up the class background of [INSERT WHITE GUY MUSICIAN FOR WHOM HE HOLDS A THROBBING BONER], now, do you?

iantenna (#5,160)

this is the shit that boils my blood. "More than a million people bought her album in the first week. And every one of them was duped." funny you say that rick because, at our last family gathering, my 12 yo niece and various cousins and friends jumping up and down and shouting along to "we are never getting back together" didn't look duped to me. and what the fuck have you done to empower young women, exactly, rick?

sharilyn (#4,599)

My mistake, I thought everyone stopped caring what Rick Moody thought about music a long time ago. His favorites mentioned in this same post are hopelessly narrow. His specific New England-based class angst is also SO two centuries ago.

I'm sure noone really cares what I think, either, but here's my two cents anyway: I largely agree with Mr Moody about Taylor Swift, but I caught myself singing along to Miley Cyrus recently and THERE'S NOTHING GODDAMNED WRONG WITH THAT.

julebsorry (#5,783)

Hey, what's wrong with English horseback riding?

(Note – the awesomeness of horses in no way negates the terribleness that is Taylor Swift)

As long as he's not dating high school students he can criticise whoever he wants. Imagine the creep factor of a male musician in this day and age dating someone who was still in school.

But more importantly Ruling Class people who recognize the existence of the class system and acknowledge its shortcomings are entirely necessary to the progress of both society and the arts and they will always be superior to members of the Ruling Class who just bobble along.

That said he doesn't seem to understand the first thing about what makes Taylor Swift an awful musician. It's not that she's artificial, it's that she's not good.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

A listicle of things I'm really tired of hearing about for 2013:
1. Taylor Swift
2. People's Opinions about Taylor Swift

Matt (#26)

Hendrix

Matt (#26)

Clapton

Matt (#26)

Allman Brothers

Matt (#26)

Zeppelin

Matt (#26)

Tull

Matt (#26)

BTO

Matt (#26)

Stones

Matt (#26)

Grand Funk Railroad

Matt (#26)

James Gang

Matt (#26)

T. Rex

Matt (#26)

MC5

Matt (#26)

Skynyrd

Matt (#26)

Leslie West

Matt (#26)

Blackmore

Matt (#26)

The Who

Matt (#26)

(the *old* Who)

Matt (#26)

10 Years After

Matt (#26)

Santana

Matt (#26)

Thin Lizzy

Matt (#26)

Hot fuckin' Tuna

laurel (#4,035)

@Matt There’s nothing like a [pop music hit] machine to make a man feel insignificant.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

VU

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Dead Boys

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Television

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Richard Hell & The Voidoids

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Heartbreakers

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Blondie

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Stiv Bators (*Solo)

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Tom Verlaine (Not the Verlaines)

iantenna (#5,160)

oh, go fuck yourself, rick moody. i don't give a shit about your tax bracket, anyone who praises the 35th album by the young fresh fellows and then shits on taylor swift in the same piece should not be allowed to comment on popular music in 2013. they were a fucking 3rd tier power-pop band 20 years ago and they're certainly not getting any better. and los lobos, a great live band? WAY TO GO OUT ON A LIMB THERE, BUDDY, I ALSO ENJOYED YOUR RIDICULOUS RACE CARD PLAY IN THAT ONE. jesus, fuck. RETIRE ALREADY, FOSSIL, THIS GAME ISN'T FOR YOU ANYMORE.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Sisters of Mercy

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Lords of the New Church (Old Lords)

Art Yucko (#1,321)

The Mission (tortillas)

Art Yucko (#1,321)

The Church (of the poison mind)

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Mercyful Fate (The King)

iantenna (#5,160)

also, rick moody needs to turn in his entire motown/stax/phillies/etc. collection, along with all goffin/king compositions and anything recorded at rca studio b. if you don't understand how taylor swift is carrying on the beautiful american tradition of manufactured pop music, you're not cut out for music criticism.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

"Is Frederic Engels too rich to criticize capitalism?"

iantenna (#5,160)

She makes me want to die.
no argument here, buddy.

iantenna (#5,160)

way to stay relevant by talking about the books and jolie holland, both of whom haven't done anything of note in nearly 10 years. i'm so upset by this, you guys. i just shut the door to my office and put on fearless on full blast.

Cobalt (#7,571)

So a manufactured, prepackaged pop "product" called Taylor Swift is therefore automatically worse than one who isn't privileged, regardless of quality (or lack thereof?) Privilege complaining about privilege, in public? How declasse.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

My beef is with Matt for pushing the comment count enough to trick me into reading about this "controversy".

Matt (#26)

CAN'T STAND THE QUIET

NinetyNine (#98)

I want adventure!

NinetyNine (#98)

I want romance!

NinetyNine (#98)

There's no such thing as adventure.

NinetyNine (#98)

There's no such thing as romance.

NinetyNine (#98)

These is only trouble

NinetyNine (#98)

and desire.

libmas (#231)

@NinetyNine It's not some big moral thing.

Mr. B (#10,093)

So, who's a Taylor Swift fan around here?

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