Background, part 2: I occasionally enjoy reading Chuck Klosterman. He knows a lot about rock music and is often funny. But, like many late-30-something writers who embrace pop culture, he can seem like he's trying to hard sometimes. Many of the essays in Sex, Drugs and Coco Puffs are great, but there are more than a few where I picture Klosterman giving himself a 'wow, I'm cool!" pat on the back after writing them. Anyway, Klosterman now writes for Grantland.
Klosterman's recent column is a "second by second" analysis of Led Zeppelin's "In the Evening". Sure, parts of it are smarmy, but in it Klosterman is often funny and displays a considerable amount of music knowledge. Now, read or scroll down to the last paragraph of the Klosterman piece.
I was particularly struck by this part:
For any piece of art, this is a compliment of the highest order — whenever something's nonessential elements are still compelling enough to generate new meanings for swathes of creative people who have yet to be born, you're totally riding the dog. Details that have been lost to social memory can still thrive within the context of modern products, even if no one recalls who made them up or what deserves the credit; while we're always predisposed to credit the progenitors of certain ideas, it's those who normalize the concepts that define what our social experience is.Then there is the wonderful last line:
This is Led Zeppelin when they sucked. And wouldn't it be wonderful if all things were this bad?I think there's something about gaming in there, particularly about the OSR. But it's late in the day and I am pretty tired, so I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll take a stab at some points, though:
- You can read the above as, say looking backwards at Appendix N and other material circa D&D 1978 OR you can read it as contemporary commercial geekdom looking back at D&D.
- What "normalized" the concepts that define our social experience of D&D? Moldvay? Certainly it was Mentzer for me. . .
- Is crappy D&D still better than most other things? You may hate 4th Edition, but is playing 4th Edition still better than other forms of entertainment?