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May 03, 2011 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-05-03

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Music criticism is not just a man's jo

By EMMA GASE you have taken it seriously then?"
Daily Music Editor He looked puzzled for a minute,
as if realizing his own inadvertent
About seven months ago, when I sexism, before finally admitting
still was a young, green and eager- that yes, he probably would have.
to-please writer, I wrote my very After dousing him with all the Jew-
first hip-hop album review. At the ish guilt I could muster, I thought I
time, this was a big departure for was satisfied, that I had made him
me - while a long-time hip hop/ pay for this little mishap. But then
rap fan, I had yet to stray from I kept thinking about it. And I got
the near and dear garage-y guitar really, really pissed.
bands I felt so comfortable analyz- I know my friend wasn't trying
ing (but mostly judging) in my writ- to be sexist. I know it's easier to
ing. So, naturally, this nervousness believe in a writer's credibility if
propelled my perfectionist self to you know from personal experience
new levels of neuroses. I listened to that the person is dedicated and
the album like a deranged scholar, well informed, regardless of wheth-
meticulously double-checked all er it's boy or girl, rap or rock'n'roll.
the dates of the rapper's incarcera- But seriously ... what the hell?
tion - I even started writing it more So I did a little research.
than 24 hours before it was due. I Of the 42 Pitchfork staff music
was reasonably happy with how it writers listed on the website, a
turned out. But this is college life, measly two are female, while oth-
and once it ran, I promptly forgot ers had ambiguously unisex names
about it. Until now. (curse you, Sam and Alex). Now, I'm
A couple of weeks ago, a friend no mathematician (or even passably
jokingly told me that he had read number-competent, for that mat-
my hip-hop review when it was ter) but that seems to be an awfully
published, and how he had scoffed small percentage for such a widely-
at my gangster references and hip- read website with such a sizable
hop lingo and written off my cred- staff. But that's only one snooty,
ibility - because the only thing he self-righteous music publication.
knew about me (at the time) was All five major section editors at
that I was a girl, specifically a white Paste Magazine are male. The Chi-
girl. And what could a white girl cago Tribune's music critic is Greg
from the suburbs possibly say about Kot, one of The New Yorker's main
Gucci Mane? music writers is Alex Ross (male)
Now thathe knew me as a person, and the Seattle Times' longtime
he explained, the article seemed reigning music critic was Patrick
much more legitimate because he MacDonald, until his retirement in
knew that I knew my stuff and 2009. On April 4th, only three out
wasn't just a wannabe poseur put- of the 15 most recent music articles
ting up a front. Annoyed, I coun- on The New York Times' website
tered with a petulant, "Well, what were written by women.
if my name had been Joe? Would I never grew up thinking that

"Whatever, man. Sexists ain't shit."
music was a "guy thing." But then
again, I happened to be raised by
maniacal music connoisseur par-
ents who considered it their prima-
ry mission in life to shape my taste
in their holy image. Radio Disney
and show tunes were universally
banned from the car in favor of the
Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, Big Star
and Neil Young. I'm glad that my
parents are into cool music, but it
did take me a while to figure out
that most other little girls didn't
receive Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for
their 11th birthdays.
Retrospectively, I shouldn't be
that surprised. The first music crit-
icism I ever read and loved was Les-
ter Bangs'"Psychotic Reactions and
Carburetor Dung," closely followed
by Ian MacDonald's "Revolution
in the Head"; drastically different,
yes, but both undeniably (deceased)

dudes. In the arguably male-dom-
inated world of rock'n'roll in the
'60s and '70s, with Creem, Rolling
Stone and . Crawdaddy being the
forebears of contemporary music
journalism, it is true that men have
a long and fruitful (but hopefully
surmountable) 40-year head start
on us girls..
This isn't meant to be a torch-
wielding, Tori Amos-endorsing
rant about sexism in music jour-
nalism, or an Ani DiFranco-style
call to arms about the rights of
"womyn." This goes deeper than
just the critics. If you think about
it, men probably write more about
hip hop and rock'n'roll because the
subject matter contains idioms typ-
ically geared toward, well, dudes.
"Sex On Fire," anyone? Or how
about "Ms. New Booty?" "Bitches
Ain't Shit?" I don't know about

ya'll, but I'm not exactly getting
the sense that these are the type
of guys to chivalrously respect my
female boundaries. But I also have
no interest in writing about - or
listening to - a sensitive, Taylor-
strumming, floppy-haired falsetto-
ed gentleman simpering about his
precious first love, no matter how
deferential his attitude toward my
gender.
So maybe it really is just harder
for girls to write about music that
people don't expect them to like,
and we're still in the process of
closing that gap. Maybe I'm just a
freak experiment of my parents,
and such an outlier in this issue
that I can't possibly have a normal
perspective. Maybe more men just
want to be critics. I guess in the
end, it doesn't really matter - I still
like Gucci Mane.

15th century Venice comes to life in Special Collections

By VERONICA MENALDI
Daily Arts Writer
Take a look at the paper this
article is on. Now look at its font.
Printed words, whether in a daily
newspaper or a
college textbook, Watermaks
are often taken .
for granted. But frffl VeflCe
how were they Exhibjt
made when that
technology was Special Collec
first invented, tions Library,7th
and what did they floor of Hatcher
look like? What Graduate Library
about where Until June 30
these books were Free

printed?
Hatcher Graduate Library's
"Watermarks From Venice Exhib-
it" aims to answer these questions
and more through a display that
features actual artifacts of printing
done in Venice during the second
half of the 15th century, as well as
books from the University's Spe-
cial Collections Library's vast col-
lection produced during that time.
Starting in the latter half of the
15th century, Venice was the place
to be for the printing industry.
Printers were coming in from all
over Europe to be a part of what
was happening in the water-filled
city.

Assistant librarian for Shapiro
Science Library and coordinator
for the theme semester, Rebecca
Hill, said this exhibit fits well with
the overall theme of Winter 2011 -
water.
"When people think of Venice,
they think of canals and gondolas
even if they've never been there
before," Hill said. "Water is a part
of its history. When people think
Venice, they'll think water, so we
wanted to highlight the role books
played in the city."
After being approached by Hill
to create an exhibit that incorpo-
rated water and special collection
books, Outreach Librarian and

Curator for Special Collections
Library Pablo Alvarez put together
the "Watermarks" exhibit.
"It's a nice experience to have
all these different media on display
to learn about how this technol-
ogy worked," he said. "Until you
understand how much isinvolved
in making a whole book, it is very
difficult to visualize what is really
in play and involved before print-
ing any book."
There are four different Vene-
tian printers- represented in the
exhibit, all of which brought some-
thing new and innovative. One of
them integrated printed graphics
that were usually hand-colored.

Another included highly detailed
woodblock ornaments around
the text. A particularly inventive
printer developed the idea of a
small pocket-sized book as well as
the font now known as italics.
The focus of the display is to
illustrate what the printers were
able to do to make their work reach
millions rather than displaying the
actual information presented in
them.
"The exhibit is not about the
content of the books," Alvarez said.
"It's about the production of them,
how printers and publishers played
a very important role in the dis-
semination of ideas."

E
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