Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Self-Importance of Webcomics Creators?

(Pictures from Questionable Content, Anywhere But Here, The Whiteboard and Scary-Go-Round. Click on the pictures to see them within the context of the website. (Pictures will be added later. I just want to get this post up.))

It seems to be rather common among webcomics. Whether or not it's a detriment to character development, I'm not sure, but it's there. I'm talking about the tendency for all characters in a certain webcomic to have the same musical taste.

Now there are other examples of geekery as well. The fact that many people have great interest in a relatively small area of arts or activity is rather common, and extends to DnD, as well as the use of a particular computer system, the need for an optimized hardware, liking certain games, whatever. While it can be argued that most webcomics are about groups of friends, friends can still have differing tastes.

It's not just that they all like a certain form of music. Anyone from the outside that they happen to meet on the street also turns out to enjoy that music. Also, anyone who doesn't is somehow deficient.

I've listened to enough music to know that the music you listen has nothing to do with your intelligence, but it's there. People who don't like jazz are hicks. People who don't like indie are uncultured.

Furthermore, if anybody with any redeeming qualities comes along that doesn't like that form of music (or whatever the creator decides to like) they're easily converted. All you have to do is expose them to the music. They listen to one song, or play one game and they're hooked. They give up that stupid music they listened to before and embrace this new style, while the characters that were already in the comic don't change their tastes at all.

Another version of this is having all characters hate a certain kind of music the creator hates. Let's face it. The reason that certain types of music are popular is because a lot of people listen to it. Many of those people are intelligent people as well, even though the majority are idiots or jerks. (Actually the majority of people that listen to all music styles are idiots or jerks. It's just a way of life. There's no style that's immune from it.)

There's a very good reason for this, of course. Pick a stance which you are fervently against. Pick the side of abortion that you don't agree with, or any issue for that matter. Now try to form a good, well-thought out argument that supports that stance. Hard, isn't it? It's hard to see that the opposing viewpoint has any merit whatsoever, even when it does. Also, when you don't like a certain form of music on principle, there is nothing in the world that would force you to actually listen to it. Even if they strapped you to a chair, and blasted the music in your face, you wouldn't listen, you'd just sit there and hate it. Admit it, you would.

I'm a firm supporter of the belief that while there is a such thing as bad music, there's no such thing as a bad musical style. Every style is just a tool, what matters is how that tool is used. Musical works should be judged on their individual merit, not on some overarching generalizations. Let's face it. The majority of all forms of music is crap. That includes classical, jazz, indie, rhythm and blues, folk tunes, whatever. The majority is crap. Very little is superb. Some tunes that have survived forever didn't deserve to. Others have been lost that were absolutely amazing, for whatever reason. To believe that one style is the pinnacle of all music is close-minded.