It’s rather discouraging to wake up every morning to the news that old white men are pieces of shit, since that’s my demographic. I’ve been trying desperately to convince the universe that I belong to an entirely different clade, the spider kind, but so far medical science has failed to provide a mechanism to make my transformation at all convincing.
He has a new book out, The Masters, a collection of interviews with famous musicians who are all “masters,” however that is defined, and who, coincidentally, are all white men. An interviewer noticed that peculiar distribution and asked about it.
Asked by The Times how he chose the musicians to feature, Wenner replied:When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to Black performers, not to the female performers, OK? Just to get that accurate. The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level,he said.
The Times reporter David Marchese, a onetime online editor at Rolling Stone, pushed back on that claim by citing Joni Mitchell.
It’s not that they’re not creative geniuses,” Wenner replied.It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock. Of Black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.
I appreciate that it was
kind of intuitive, not based on reason or evidence, he’s just a racist sexist ass deeply at a gut level. I mean, how can you write about the inspiration and founding figures of rock ‘n’ roll and forget to include black people and women?
I think back to my early years, and who got me excited about music, and it was Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin — who I had a crush on in 8th grade, and would love to meet and talk to, but hey, Jann, she died of a heroin overdose in 1970. I’m pretty sure she’s deeply inarticulate now.
Isn’t the whole thing about rock is the passion? If you’re looking for articulate philosophers you’re going to miss the majority of the people who made the genre work. He disregarded Joplin and Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone and Bob Marley and James Brown and Aretha Franklin and Prince because he thought only people like Mick Jagger were smart and philosophical enough to meet his standards. You know, the guy who said this:
You start out playing rock ‘n’ roll so you can have sex and do drugs, but you end up doing drugs so you can still play rock ‘n’ roll and have sex.
Profound, man. A true intellectual.