frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,
frenchpony
frenchpony

  • Music:

I Has Been Edjumacated

The conference was lots of fun, but very long. Nine hundred ethnomusicologists swamping onto one little bitty college campus! I probably saw too many papers, and not all of the ones I saw were good, but there were a lot of interesting ones. And I also saw what one of my friends calls "the First Amendment paper." Apparently, there's roughly one paper every conference that's either so bad or so controversial that people feel that it's in there just to demonstrate free speech. In this case, it was a guy from Ohio State University talking about the ethics of secret recordings.

Actually, that's not quite accurate. He didn't talk too much about ethics at all; just expressed his views that secret recordings were always permissible and morally justified, even in the face of a recordee who specifically denied permission when asked directly. The guy basically came right out and said that all the music of the world belongs to ethnomusicologists by right, and who are people to deny it to us? Kind of like: performers aren't actually human, they're trees who produce apples that we can pick.

Ooo, I was so mad that I could spit! Right after he finished speaking, I jumped up and asked him if he saw any difference between just not asking for permission, thereby assuming consent, and going directly against someone's denial of permission, which Mom Pony taught baby me was basically lying. He just smiled and said he saw no difference, that everything was allowed in the pursuit of the holy object. Then I got to have the immense pleasure of hearing a luminary in the field tell him, in a very nice, conversational tone, that she thought that his paper was "morally repugnant." That's something you don't always hear in a high-level academic conversation!

So that was an interesting session. I also attended two panels on Jewish music and the meeting of the Jewish Music Special Interest Group. Made a few good contacts there. There was also a shape-note workshop with Neely Bruce and Tim Eriksen, which was fantastic, and I saw a very nice grad student that I'd met at a conference back in February, so we are fast becoming Conference Buddies.

Good times, good times. Next year, it's going to be in Mexico. I aim to be healthy enough to submit a paper for that one, because I've never been to Mexico!
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