In last week’s issue of The Lawrentian, Stacey Day criticized certain attitudes on campus towards the concert given by Gym Class Heroes. The article received a generally vehemently negative response, evident through the long and defensive comments on The Lawrentian’s website, as well as on Facebook.
The outrage and disgust that this article sparked is fueled heavily, but not entirely, by Day’s statements that seem to be offensive to conservatory students. Hopefully, people will calm down after taking the time to consider my following points. I will not attempt to support Day’s arguments about hipsterdom, but rather to clarify that she is not attacking the conservatory directly.
It shocks me that the article has been so grossly misinterpreted — it is quite clear upon careful reading that Day is making a point about avoiding the alienation of the conservatory. Her main point is that the musical hipsterdom comes from a “complicated and antagonistic dialectic at work between the Conservatory and the college which has flavored and infected all social interaction on campus.”
Day states: “It seems easy and intuitive to blame the Conservatory for this, as a bastion of music freaks who only listen to old dead white men…” It is clear that readers are taking this at face value; their eyes jumping to that single source of offense without considering the context.
The quote — which, given, is worded and placed in confusing way — seems rather to be a sarcastic statement of a certain bias, which in my opinion, does exist, against conservatory students. Day goes on to state that blaming the students based on that bias is a “horribly and inaccurate over-simplification.”
It is also important to consider how the statement fits in to the overall argument: If Day were genuinely attacking conservatory students in particular, it would undermine her clear overall criticism of hipsterdom being a product of the whole campus.
This article has received a ridiculously negative response. I would have liked to see more a productive and interesting discussion about the real argument at hand, rather than a reaction towards a minor idea in the article.
I will not comment on the true arguments that Day makes, but it certainly is interesting to me that people seem to be reprising Day’s account of a “vitriolic and highly performative” reaction.