Against the Honor Code

In my first-year writing course, we were recently having a discussion about plagiarism and citations. My students easily grasped the concept of citations as a way of giving credit to other authors whose ideas they are quoting or paraphrasing. (They were less clear on the notion of citations as a way of pointing to an existing discourse that they are participating in—but learning to participate in such an intellectual conversation is one of the primary goals of the course.)

I then asked my students what they understood plagiarism to mean, and why they shouldn’t do it. Again, they easily understood what plagiarism is, at least in broad strokes. However, I was rather troubled by some of the answers to the question of why it should be avoided. In particular, one student said that plagiarism should be avoided because of the Honor Code. Continue reading “Against the Honor Code”

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Fuck the NCAA

As I write this, I am watching the UNC–Syracuse game in the NCAA men’s Final Four, thus breaking my vow not to watch any of the men’s basketball tournament this year. The spectacle of the game I find pretty repugnant, particularly the student sections who never fail to seize an opportunity to act like jackasses for the national television camera. Continue reading “Fuck the NCAA”

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Cee Lo Green’s Amateur Hour

The past Saturday, I saw CeeLo Green perform. CeeLo is a performer I’ve dug on and off since his 2004 album Cee Lo Green is the Soul Machine, and 2012’s The Lady Killer remains one of my recent favorite albums for its powerful neo-soul hooks and rocking horns. His more recent work has been less than spectacular, though—the laughable Christmas album in 2012 (Cee Lo’s Magic Moment) and last year’s Heart Blanche, which I liked well enough but which Pitchfork didn’t even bother to review.

Continue reading “Cee Lo Green’s Amateur Hour”

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Air Flows: The Sound of Breath on Recordings

The following is a presentation I gave at the 2014 meeting of the U.S. Branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. I am currently preparing this presentation for publication as an article. However, I am publishing this presentation here as a kind of “working paper” in advance of the article. For copyright reasons, images and sound clips have been omitted.

Air Flows: Breath, Voice, and Authenticity in Three Recordings

Gregory Weinstein IASPM, 14 March 2014

In his 2007 outline of a “musicology of record production,” Simon Zagorski- Thomas framed a discussion of recording’s editing possibilities as a problem of embodied perception. He suggests, “If, at a subconscious level, the perception of music involves hypothesizing what it would feel like to produce that sound, it would be useful for both music and musicology to study the grey area between edited performances that are perceived as possible and those that are perceived as impossible or unnatural.” He goes on to ask, “How much room for breath needs to be left in a spliced performance before we perceive it as an activity that is impossible to generate, and therefore artificial” (2007, 1974)? Zagorski- Thomas argues that we, as listeners, breathe along with recordings and that our (often subconscious) awareness of a recording’s breath space contributes strongly to our overall awareness of the recording as artificial (or not). This suggests a striking move away from the notion of authenticity in recording as a dialectic interplay of mediated performances and their immediate counterparts, and towards an understanding of recordings as not just representations of a performance, but as constructions of musical bodies. Continue reading “Air Flows: The Sound of Breath on Recordings”

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