Changing Artistry and the Sell-Out — Media Cleanse v001

(Nearly) every morning, I'm making it my goal to clean out all the stories that I've had on my reading list and pick a few that paint together well. Here's what I came up with today:

 The history of calling artists “sellouts.” 

The idea of being a “sell-out” was unthinkable during my childhood; then again, media was nowhere near as pervasive as it is today. Everyone is a brand. Everyone is selling something. When everyone is ”selling out”, perhaps it's time to retire the term and instead make fun of those, like me, who cannot grasp the new normal.

Also, can we talk about how annoying it is when a publication automatically shifts your URL to the next story. The infinite scroll mechanics of some modern publishers is a horrible user experience (UX) pattern. I get that more stories need to be tracked and time on site is important for the bottom line but I can't even tell where I am any more, let alone how to get back later, when you forcefully push a URL history update to my browser as I am nearing the end of an article. I'm looking at you Slate and Quartz (two publications which I otherwise enjoy, in case you're keeping score).

 The Inside Story Of SoundCloud's Collapse 

Tragic. Founder seems like he's crested his “thought leadership” and the leadership of the company seems to have forgotten the cardinal rule: Know thyself (Wikipedia).

 Tyler, the Creator on “Flower Boy” Seems to Come Out of the Closet 

It is a hard sell to come to any conclusion based on art and performance alone, but the to-ing and fro-ing of Spencer Kornhaber’s writing feels appropriate here. The article's build up naturally reflects the turbid process of struggling with identity for any person with a non-heteronormative sexual identity.

As an aside: I'm of a few minds when it comes to the intersection between performance, identity and language. Obviously, Tyler’s previous behaviour and choice of language signal a true violence to already struggling voices, this should not be forgotten. Choice of language important. While the meaning of words is fluid, each embodies additional cultural undertones to whomever engages with them, or plays them back in this case. Perhaps, that is not fair, given how widely media is consumed today (let alone in the distant future; consider this recent snippet on the Late Marshall McLuhen as food for thought) but the fact of the matter is he is surely aware of the current cultural landscape. Subverting the all-to-rigid notion of sexuality is going to provoke a reaction, most of all, in this age of internet-enabled niche tribalism, among his Odd Future/Tyler the Creator fanbase—who I assume probably believe at least some of those messages.

Kornhaber caused me to consider that this group of young people may be as confused about the way to navigate the world as one of their most cherished icons is, which in itself is not so revelatory after all.


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