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David Poland

By David Poland

Slate Goes Luddite

I got the impression from his work that Michel Agger was a young man, if not in body than in mind. But a quick read of his response to Steven Levy

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12 Responses to “Slate Goes Luddite”

  1. The Carpetmuncher says:

    iPods kiss ass
    but Napster started the revolution
    iPod just got credit for it
    and created some sexy hardware
    i gotta get one of those new Shuffles that just clip on your belt

  2. Duc says:

    Yeah, I was using audiogalaxy and napster to download music and playing on winamp and then my minidisc player before the iPod was a twinkle in Steve Jobs eyes. Your man’s claim isn’t that controversial – its that iPod popularised something that was already in motion, and I reckon he’s right. Plus iPods suck – form AND function over reliability.

  3. palmtree says:

    Yeah, but before the iPod you had to burn CDs that could only play a little over an hour. Now you can have virtually your entire music collection in the palm of your hand. To me, that’s a different way of thinking about music than just a walkman or mp3 downloading. This is also about the further fragmentation of audience…you can start listening to progressively weirder music without worries that it’ll take space from your core songs.

  4. The Carpetmuncher says:

    My entire music collection (which is expansive) is digitized and yet I don’t own an iPod, though my girl does and I use hers occasionally (and of course I covet one, they are very fashionable!). I too have my entire music collection in one little harddrive, even if it won’t fit in the palm of my hand.
    But not having an iPod doesn’t make me any less a part of the “revolution” – because it really is about the invention of the MP3, Napster, and digital downloading and peer-to-peer sharing. The iPod is just a commercial reaction to the real revolution, but hardly the inciting incident. It’s closer to revolution profiteering than anything else, no matter what Apple’s propaganda wants you to believe.
    I tend to agree that the iPod is more a “next generation” Walkman than anything totally new, the same way a DVD is realy just a “next generation” Laser Disc. Less a triumph of technology than one of marketing and design.
    Still, iPods kick ass…

  5. Cadavra says:

    Funny, but I simply don’t have this compelling need to listen to music EVERY SINGLE MOMENT I’M AWAKE!!!

  6. Wrecktum says:

    They you miss the Poland’s point, Cadavra. It’s not about listening to music 24/7. It’s about the opportunity to listen to music. It’s about digital delivery of all forms of media any time, any where.

  7. palmtree says:

    “iPod is more a “next generation” Walkman than anything totally new”
    Don’t entirely agree. Yes, the function is both to listen to music. But iPod has changed listening habits…whereas before a mix CD or tape would play in a somewhat predetermined way, you are now the programmer of the iPod and “playing DJ” in a fundamentally different way. True that that’s the same as having a portable hard drive, but making that hard drive listenable is the difference…it has created new uses if the technology itself was old.
    btw, they do sell hard drive casings that wrap around stand-alone hard drives and turn them into ersatz iPods. That is the difference.
    And yes, portable digital mp3 players did exist before iPod, especially in Asia. Apple just made it better designed and marketed.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t agree. Listening to music portably, as with the Walkman, was a bigger paradigm shift than being able to jump around from album to album or from track to track.

  9. palmtree says:

    “Listening to music portably, as with the Walkman, was a bigger paradigm shift than being able to jump around from album to album or from track to track.”
    My paradigm shift is bigger than yours!
    Seriously though the question was not which is bigger, but is there one or isn’t there?
    My response is there is one because it has changed the relationship between people and their music. Being able to listen to music continuously for 16 hours and not have a single song repeat to me is a big shift from the Walkman.
    In other news, I agree with Cadavra about the importance of silence.

  10. palmtree says:

    I guess my point in a nutshell is…the availability of music is coming close to reaching infinity. Seems different than just being able to play the same 12 songs over and over.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    When Ipods are linked directly to WiFi, so that you can immediately call up any song ever written anywhere on Earth, _that_ will be a big paradigm shift. But for now, since you still have to dowlonad the songs and input them yourself, I don’t think it’s that big of a thing yet.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon