remix declared uncool (again) 2

JL emailed about the Brad Troemel essay mentioned earlier:

Part 1 confuses the terms "remix" and "mashup"...

Troemel enjoys his sneer at "mid-2000s bloghouse mashup bands like Girl Talk, Danger Mouse, Justice, Digitalism, and 2 Many DJs" without explaining that mashups were a particular type of digital mix where two or more tracks could be pitch-shifted and beat-synched to sound like one. That was certainly a gimmick that dated quickly whereas if you are just shuffling tracks around or doing general studio editing a track could be completely remade and better than the original. That was true in the '90s and it's true now -- there's always a certain amount of crap overstating the claims for editing. Troemel's equation of remixing with exhaustion of content echoes Simon Reynolds' young fogeyish "there's nothing new under the sun" arguments in the book Retromania.

Part 2 pretends there is no longer a mainstream culture (I guess the rest of middle America has caught up to NYC and is finally "down" with multiculturalism) or vast problems with copyright.

Right, Troemel says "Today’s DMCA warnings sent to dorm rooms pale in comparison to the aggressive lawsuits previously brought forth for taking without asking." Megaupload, anyone?

His point about the vapidity of "open source" gets dangerously close to a point I read elsewhere ... about the term "open government" -- how it used to mean transparency but now means machine-readable XML files from the Department of Agriculture... "Open source" is a corporatist term popularized in the late 90s as an alternative to "free software," because cloaked in that term's ambiguities was Richard Stallman's political statement about human rights.

"Free" confused people because Stallman meant free as in free of repression and censorship and Silicon Valley said "hey we can't just give stuff away." Troemel turns this confusion into another opportunity to smirk: "The Open Source logo is, for the digital generation, what the Coexist bumper sticker is for baby boomers — a harmless if meaningless display of one’s standing as a good liberal." The dig about the Coexist bumper sticker is pure Rush Limbaugh and again, could use a fact-check as to whether it's distinctly "baby boomer" or just a-generational new-age sentiment.

The point of Troemel's article seems to be "the remix is dead, long live the remix" along with taxonomical analysis of various types of remixes. Fine, whatever, am not sure we needed this. What upsets people about Troemel's writing isn't its outrageous controversy but its peculiar combination of theoretical convolution and factual error.