Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Color Me Bob

As Jason and "his lady" are away on their honeymoon frolic, I (Bob) have been invited to weigh in on Things Advanced. And now the week's half over... so let's boogie!

One of the difficulties of Advancement Theory can be understanding the important concept of "overtness". Novices often will identify someone or something as advanced, wherein it's actually overt. There is a rational hermeneutic behind these ideas, which can be delineated with Hegelian rigor. But such is not my "way". No, I seem to be the "zen" guy in the Foundation. I am blessed/cursed with satori-like insights into the nature of Advancement. It's a gift.

Still, an intriguing aspect of Advancement Theory are those gray areas, where what at first seems obvious soon results in a quagmire.... Case in point: Is it advanced to release a cd with one of those extra cardboard covers surrounding the jewel box? The Lou Reed (aka "the rosetta stone") magnum opus "THE RAVEN" has such packaging, which in itself would seemingly setttle the issue. But wait: Wilco's last two albums have the cardboard (everything on the Nonesuch label does - Can a company be advanced?), and for my money, Mr. Tweedy and gang are the current standard bearers of the "hip overt".

Ultimately, such packaging seems clearly overt to me. It signifies an "important work of art". And look at Nonesuch, or even better, the jazz label ECM. One knows EXACTLY what an album on these labels is going to sound like, even before clawing the goddamn cardboard off....

Which brings us back to Lou Reed. Lou could play a cardboard guitar and he'd remain the ne plus ultra of Advancement. It's a gift.

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