Thursday, September 17, 2009

On Being Comprehensively Demolished

Despite actively discouraging contrarian theories, I have enjoyed Vern’s determined sallies on the pop-influentialitiness of the Beatles – especially his concluding assessment that, on balance, he had “comprehensively demolished [my] literalist, book of Genesis theory on the Beatles”.

The appeal of this judgement lies in the fact that I was completely unaware that I held such strident Creationist views on pop music, and my take on the thing was that Vern had slipped gently from Position A (a cantankerous suggestion that the Fab Four influenced few developments bar the pretentious noodlings of Yes), to a much weaker but more plausible Position B: the claim that the Beatles were themselves influenced by previous musicians, and that there have existed other influential musicians besides the Beatles, such as Bob Dylan.

Since I wouldn’t dream of disagreeing with Position B, which is perfectly obvious and compatible with my huge but conventional Beatle-respeck, I assumed that Vern and I had moved to a state of sweet convergence and harmony. But no, of course the Battle was the point, and so Brit had to be Comprehensively Demolished.

One significant aspect of commenting I neglected to mention here, is the potential for protracted argument. It’s almost exclusively a male pastime, and Vern’s effort on Beatledom is the very best kind of internet combativeness: indefatigable, gloriously pointless and impeccably, teethgrittedly well-mannered. Furthermore, it required dedicated research, rising manfully from his sickbed to google out the dates of arcane prototype concept albums featuring Red Indians.

The episode brings back a nostalgia for my old days of blogging, which consisted almost entirely of exactly that sort of trivial combat. But it’s time-consuming, inevitably repetitive and even if, like Vern, you announce confidently that you’ve Won, there’s never really a Last Word. 'Ardest game in the world, blog arguing is. I was in that game fifty years, man and boy. I’m well out of it, mate.

But it’s good to know it’s there, if I ever need it. Get well soon, Vern.

18 comments:

worm said...

memo to self: possible new word for blog arguing - 'blarguing'?

There's plenty of stuff out there about masculine argument vocabulary and how it revolves around imagery of violence, war, killing, emasculation and comprehensively demolishing. Words as weapons.

good to see such things as having to be 'right' or 'wrong' have no truck on this blog!

Brit said...

Well I wouldn't go that far into relativism, Worm.

Vern was wrong in his first comment and right in his last. Presumably between the two he must have comprehensively demolished himself...

worm said...

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away

worm said...

ps. I wasn't talking about literal relativism, more that there is no mandate to actually be bothered to defend ones rightness or wrongness on this blog

Peter Burnet said...

Maybe, worm, but Brit has some longstanding, loyal cyber-friends who are always ready to defend his wrongness.

David said...

"Trivial"! You call the fate of western civilization, "trivial"?

David said...

Worm does put his ... finger(?) on the nub of the problem: it's hard to stop arguing when it's hard to tell the difference between leaving the field in victory, your opponent in chains and his women lamenting, on the one hand, and not having a good come-back, on the other hand.

Finally, I just had to adopt the heuristic that, if I stop responding, it's because I've won; when my opponents stop commenting, it's because I've won.

Brit said...

True, David, and sometimes your opponent writes a comment that seems so self-evidently wrong that you don't bother replying and assume victory on the grounds that by making it he has admitted defeat.

Similarly, below I assumed that Vern had just decided to agree with me, and was consequently much surprised to find him declaring 'comprehensive demolition'. I've been playing a different kind of blog-game for a while so I almost forgot about Demolition as an aim.

Re: trivia. Well even when the topics were less trivial than the relative pop influence of Johnny Cash and John Lennon, it was eventually inescapable that endlessly trying and failing to convince a Canadian lawyer of the non-teleological basis of evolution by natural selection was an odd way to spend one's time by any standards...

malty said...

Ahem, this blog is turning ever so slightly, homo erotic,desist, if you will, duckies.

Brit said...

Feeling left out, Malty?

worm said...

I've just re-read the whole thing and cant find much homo-eroticism - perhaps my gaydar is broken

Brit said...

Malty's a northerner, Worm. Their gaydars are much more sensitive.

Peter Burnet said...

endlessly trying and failing to convince a Canadian lawyer of the non-teleological basis of evolution by natural selection was an odd way to spend one's time by any standards...

Oh, and I suppose if it had been a Yank or some froggy across the Channel you would be remembering it all nostalgically as the time you led the forces of enlightenment and sacrificed selflessly to make us all a better world?

Pompous toff. May you drown in a two hundred comment thread arguing recursive systems with Skipper.

Brit said...

No offence, Peter. There's just something intrinsically comical about "Canadian" which makes it so much better for punchlines than "American." It's like "Belgian."

Again, no offence.

malty said...

Hark ye, fellow occupiers of the fibre optic universe, where I come from, within the sounds of rivets being, er, rivetted, any mention, and I mean any, of Johhny Cash would immediately have one pigeonholed as a raving deviant.
Where I now reside, in the land where men wear frocks, any discussion involving The Beatles attracts comments like "Thatcherite Pooftah"
As the Scots say, ones taste in musical operatives denotes ones leanings, if you will pardon the expression, gender wise.

Brit said...

So what qualifies as suitably hetero music, Malty? Is it Donovan?

malty said...

Yes, yeeeeees, Jenifer, Juniper.

Peter Burnet said...

No offence taken. Surely we are both too old for smiley faces, but, oh what the hell...

:-) :-) :-) :-)