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A Response To Vice Magazine Article, “Explaining Rave Culture To Americans”

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I came across an article today that I invite you to read if you haven't already. The piece is a perfect gin and tonic mix of hilarious and insulting. Clive Martin, writer for global media channel Vice, heavily embraced blunt honesty in a piece he posted entitled Explaining Rave Culture To Americans. Word rapidly circulated Twitter about the highly opinionated article, and I, after reading felt just a tad bit compelled to reply to it.

The piece is a letter to us crazy Americans, of course; and no it’s not a love letter, unless you consider the utter and complete verbal assault of the current popularity of rave culture in our country a love letter, then by all means, it is. Dear me where to start... I suppose I should just begin at the beginning. Being called a less than competent parent of rave culture was an interesting way to go about saying that Americans allegedly didn’t know how to nurture it when it was created. Well, maybe America didn’t, I wasn’t there when it first began and I was slow on the uptake when it became more known and popular in our country. I can only write what I know and have learned since becoming a very appreciative fan, and what I know is this: despite the fact that Europe got a head-start in the massive love-fest for rave culture and all of its glories, America isn’t exactly the idiot parent Martin so lovingly makes it out to be. True, rave culture was huge in Europe when in America, different endeavors and genres of music were, and while I never quite understood the love of Creed, a love it definitely was. As for resisting the “charms of Mitsis, Ministry of Sound and the music of Paul Oakenfold,” I wouldn’t call it resisting as much as not liking it as much as Metallica…which brings me back to the separate countries, separate interests situation. Yes, our party scenes were quite different, while Europe was where America seems to be now in it's love of rave culture, America was into other things…I’m quite sure Australia and Asia were into other things as well. To clarify my point, if people in say China abruptly started wearing Baby G wrist watches on their ankles and riding Razor Scooters by their knees right now I wouldn’t exactly just fire out and call them incompetent parents for using these things differently and at a later time. It seems a bit rash of a decision, but hey, everyone is going to think what they want to think.

In regards to the “Euro-fag” hating teenagers: Yes, there are many who thought and still think that Europeans were/are strange creatures for wearing what they do, acting as they do and listening to the music they do. There are ignorant people out there, as well as mean people, and there are most definitely stupid people. Things change, people change, circumstances change; it’s a general truth the world adheres to, but change or not, two things remain true: Certain kinds of people will remain the way they are no matter what, and change comes differently to people living on opposite ends of the planet…so I can’t really see myself calling every person out that has ever thrown an insult and then changed their minds afterward. As for the colleague who told Martin that “listening to house music was once akin to listening to Judy Garland live albums”? I certainly see his point, and I raise it this fact: UGGS were once used primarily in Australia to wear strictly to and from the beach. They stayed in the car. Now? Americans have turned them into a fashion statement, and Australians have and may always think we’re insane for it, but that doesn't change the fact that our feet feel like angels cradle them everywhere we go when we wear them, so I think we’re pretty content with being insane. It didn’t take the possibility of “MDMA in the water” to lead us to that conclusion, either.

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I’m in agreement with Martin on this fact: there are those who only associate with rave culture on the surface-level, and it’s a little sad. We’ve all heard the joke about the guy that “loves EDM” but only knows the name Skrillex. There is too much great music and great artists out there to be so ignorant as to only associate the movement and the culture with one name. Those who say they love the culture but only strive to dress up in close to nothing and drop pills from their tongues annoy me, too, and while some try to teach them otherwise, I would think that if they really wanted to learn and appreciate it, they would do it themselves. One respects what they love, so it's easy to separate the true fans from the surface fans, and while the surface fans do seem unteachable, I reserve the right to call attention to the current distinction. I could practically hear Martin's voice when reading the topic sentence “ALL DANCE MUSIC IS ELECTRONIC, YOU IDIOTS.” Yes, thank you for the shouty capitals, not to mention the carefully chosen term of endearment. While all dance music is in fact electronic, I don’t really see the harm in calling it electronic dance music. There is a great distinction between what is being created now and what was created then, and I personally feel that it’s alright to call it something other than “electronic music” because greater steps have been taken to create it. Also, I've gotten used to the name, and so I'm not about to change it because certain people dislike it.

All dance/house/bass music is electronic. Just say it to yourself; Electronic. Dance. Music. It sounds like somebodys great aunt attempting to talk about Mobys new album, or a clueless country police chief answering questions about a rave hes trying to shut down. It makes you sound like novices, and stupid novices at that. So go think of something else to call Afrojack.

I had to include that bit because honestly, it’s a great quote; I laughed so hard when I read it that I had to take a moment to gather myself. It doesn't really concern me what the general populous coins the term because either way, people will interpret it the way want to, and I just plain and simply don’t see why everyone has to stamp their feet and throw plates about it. I have this to say in regards to the part in Martin’s piece about the grammatically correct way to state that you’ve in fact taken molly: As correct as he may be, I just fail to see why it matters enough to state it. I’ll say it again, people are going to do what they want to do and say what they want to say no matter how wrong or ignorant an individual (or an entire continent, apparently) may think it is, and no amount of keyboard pounding is going to change that. As for the whole Deadmau5/Madonna thing: it’s stupid now and I thought it was stupid then, never in my life had I thought such a big deal would be made over an albeit ill advised, but still innocent comment. So I suppose I'm in agreement with Martin over this part as well, it really just shouldn't have been an issue in the first place, however the fact that it’s still being brought up now doesn't quite help with the whole moving on aspect of things...

I’ll end with this, and I apologize for the slightly dicey read, but it's how my thoughts went. Rave culture has traveled all around the world in very different ways for a long time, it’s been bent, tweaked, broken and fixed; it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and I think many people will agree with me that we don't want it to. As Kaskade said last night at the Grammy museum, "I really think we are just scratching the surface when it comes to dance music. It's just the beginning." Clive Martin's article was one of the single-most honest and entertaining pieces on anything I've read in a long time, so I respect him for that. That doesn't mean, however that I'm not going to fire back. This was fun though, so if you possibly have something to add or say, in agreement or not, I'd  love it if you would, otherwise here's the link again to the original article. As always, carry on...

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