I got accepted to the Social Problems conference in New York this coming August. Many will tell you that this isn’t really a big deal, as this conference will try and make room for everyone. Yet, because this is my first “big” American conference, and that it is in New York, this is a big deal for me. A huge deal.
I have never been to New York, a city that retains mythical status in my mind. I am reminded of my favourite story from the rise of Guided By Voices. Robert Pollard and crew had been releasing limited run LP’s in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and people pretty much hated them there. So they lingered in obscurity, before finally someone starts mailing out their LP’s to magazines and weird record stores (against Robert Pollard’s wishes, as he was convinced that everyone hated them). Eventually, the records get into the right hands, and they get invited to play in New York. Their attitude was, at that time, “if they don’t get us here in Dayton, what are they going to think about us in New York?” So they play, and the rest, as they say, is rock history.
Now, I am not naive enough to think that I am going to gain any kind of “legendary” status; far from. I know enough about this game to understand that this is not how it works. Yet, as a personal milestone, I am drawing parallels.
There are cynics who always try and downplay this stuff as “passe,” but as far as I am concerned, they can go eat a hat. I hate cynicism, nothing more than someone trying to drag me down. Also, mostly because of seductive I find it. I am in an ongoing battle with my own cynicism; I don’t need to battle yours too…
My favourite quote, one that I repeat often (in my own mind):
Billy Bragg: “You can’t argue with a cynic; they already have all the fucking answers.”