Thursday, May 15, 2008

Moral Panic?

The Mexican/Latin American culture that is present in today’s society evolved for the zoot suit culture of the 1940s. The jazz music and the baggy clothing were the trade marks of the zoot suitors. The zoot suits culture was viewed as deviant. They attracted a lot of negative attention and discrimination because of their radical style.

While I was reading about the zoot suit riots I wondered if this event would fall under “moral panic.” It seemed to be similar to those events of moral panic that we studied in English 313. There was a “panic” over a deviant culture, because of the threat that people believed that it possessed. The zoot suit was a new trend that created concern among the population. This concern was extremely exaggerated by the people who didn’t understand the culture.

Yet there are many distinctions from this event and the events that we read about in class, which leads me to believe that maybe the zoot suit riots were not what Sprighall considered “moral panic.” The sailors, which were the rivals of the zoot suitors during the riots, said that they were attacking the dress and the “dangers” that it represented, yet the common thought was that the attacks were of racism. In the moral panics that I’ve read about the attack is on the representation, not on those who are “exposed” to it. Comic books movies and video games are censored to take the power away from the materials; the youth are not targeted as was the case with the zoot suit riots.

I believe that because the relationships in the zoot suit riots are different from the other events, it separate the zoot suit culture from other moral panics. In situations of moral panic that I have encountered the youth is being exposed to something that could be potentially dangerous to them and society, which causes the parents have an exaggerated reaction to the potential harm. In this case the sailors and a lot of the society saw the zoot suitors as the potential harm because of their deviant ways. The harm was not to their youth, but to society and that’s what initiated the panic. This event was definitely a panic over the loss in morals in society but I don’t believe that it falls under the category of “moral panic.”

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Incorporation vs. Excorporation (East vs. West)

I have not made as many blog posts here as I should have, but one of the things I did want to draw a comparison on was how different musical subcultures view incorporation. Mainly, the differences between Western and Eastern musical subcultures.

(See: Incorporation)

The United States has been a capitalist society for a long time. Music subcultures like punks, emos, grungers, ravers, new wavers, mods, goths, skankers, and rockers are all based on quintessentially "sticking it to the man". All of their fashions are based on excorporation. They take what's available in society and make it their own. When it comes to mainstream pop and rock in this country much of it is incorporating. Everyone should have a t-shirt of their favorite band, posters, albums, novelty items, etc. The excorporators might even take some of these items and make them their own. Especially if they are vintage. Newcomers to America often have a need to fulfill their American Dream, and incorporate their families. It's the second generation that often has a need to make their own way and cut their own paths through life.

The Westernization (Americanization) of Japan however has created a similar effect in that they also strive for the American Dream. Capitalism has been ingrained into their society. But they also keep the Japanese ideals of conformity. Every Japanese person should act and look the same as the next. When it comes to those who decide they don't want to conform to the general Japanese ideals, they still conform within their own subcultures. It's completely acceptable for goths, punks, and rockers in Japan to shop for expensive clothing and all wear clothes from the same line. And they all buy the merchandise their band sells. Public Domain laws are also different in Japan, so the fans also create and buy unofficial merchandise from each other.

S.K.I.N. Piano Duet + Violin + Shamisen (Traditional Japanese Instrument)

An example of a rock subculture in Japan is Visual Kei. The whole point of this subculture is to have the right look and have a great performance. No need to create an amazing sound as long as the performance is good. And if you've ever been to a Japanese concert, its very likely you'll see many people in the standing room doing just that. Standing. Still. Though more recently I've seen more screaming girls at the front than usual. I did get the chance to see the new band S.K.I.N. last summer and I've got to say that the band loved the reactions they were getting from the crowd. The lead singer really milked us for as many callbacks as he could.

When it comes to pop performances in Japan, the audience might participate in Para Para, a form of synchronized dancing that mostly consists of arm movements. Every fan memorizes the movements so that they can participate during the performance. It's similar to memorizing the dance moves from your favorite music video.

The westernization of Japan has lead them to believe heavily in capitalism and incorporation. Obviously the only ones really pushing these things are the business interactions between our two countries. There needs to be more human interaction rather than just mainstream media being passed between us.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Salsa in Canada!!

I went to the library in Santa Monica the other day, and I was going through their DVD's and I came accross this one called "Latin Beats." So, I decided to pick it up and check it out. When I started watching it, I was really suprised. It was a documentary shot in Canada, I had no idea Canadians love this type of music, as the documentary went along I realized that many South Americans (Columbians, Chileans, Bolivians) migrated to Canada in the 70's. And that's when it all began, the Latinos brought the spice to the Canadians. Ramiro Huerta was one of the first people that began the Latin music movement 1988. My idea of Latin music in other countries other than Latin America was wrong, I see now that it has reached different heights through out the years.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


This post was inspired by my recent trip to the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. This music festival is infested with hipsters. If you aren't sure what classifies a person as a hipster, the video above will explain. I first saw this video a year ago. One of the things that makes it so funny to me, is that it is incredibly true. For example, the play-by-play analyst mentioned that a hipster would never admit to being a hipster (let alone participate in an event). The whole idea behind being a hipster is to have an "I don't care" attitude. Hipsters are passionate about very little and it's rare to catch them smiling.

Why this attitude? It's very similar to the hippies back in the 1960s. Of course their values and purposes were very different, but the crowd isn't. Both hippies and hipsters are made up of predominately upper middle class, young suburbanites. They are also, for the most part, college educated (most hippies dropped out of college, but still had experienced some college). Both of these counter cultures sprung from kids who are very well off. These suburban kids decided to abandon their upbringing for a less attractive lifestyle (hippies abandoned their parents' money/college, and hipsters abandoned caring).

This possibly happened for the same reason why rap music is mostly purchased by white, suburban teenage males, even though its target audience is the urban, African
teenage male. These kids seek to live a different life. Maybe a life that is a little risky, but not too risky.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Does music define “who you are” or does “who you are” define the type of music you listen to?

One of the main objectives of our blog was to discuss what it is that attracts a person to listen to the music that they do. I believe that it is part of one identity, the music that they feel expresses who they are. When your music plays and you get chills, you feel can feel it inside you. Sometimes it causes you to let out your emotions, by yelling or singing along and other time you just consume the emotion of the singer. I don’t believe that music has a huge affect on who you are or your attitude. I believe that who you are and how you feel attracts one to listen to the music that they listen to. Which is why sometimes one is in the mood to listen to different things.

Good Lyrics Lost In Bad Music

I wanted to go over a music genre that I think wouldn’t have been covered otherwise. Country, good lyrics that get lost in bad music. Not to say that all country is bad, I do like some songs. I thought that it was important to add this type of music because it is one of the few genres that still talks about real issues. A lot of Latino music is about love, rap mostly deals with drugs and pimps and I’m not really sure what rock and punk talk about (I can’t make out the lyrics). Although some of these songs do address political and current issues, my personal opinion is that it is found more in country music. Like the Dixie chicks, I’m not ready to make nice. I believe that a lot of popular music doesn’t deal with real issues because we don’t want to have to think about what is going on in our society, in this world. We listen to music to escape, we watch movies to escape, and we read to escape. There are many problems in our society and in our world, but its just easier to ignore and not think about them.

Chicano Legend Santana!!

I couldn’t write about Chicano music with out mentioning Carlos Santana. He is one of the best guitarists ever! A true role model for all Chicanos and musicians alike. It makes no difference that he is Mexican, he attracts audiences of all kind. Santana has collaborated with many different types of artists to compose amazing songs. He shows that music has no boundaries; no matter what subdivision of the American culture you belong to I’m sure that you can appreciate that talent that Santana possesses. Some of my favorite songs that he has done are, Maria Maria and Into The Night, with Chad Kroeger, which is one of the best songs that I have ever hear. Carlos Santana shows that race doesn’t matter when it comes to music. His music, I believe can be appreciated by any culture.

This is definitely worth looking into. If there is anyone who doesn’t like Santana’s music I’d really like to know. Here’s a Link..