Rockism and poptimism  

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"Rockists believe that pop music should follow the 'authentic' rock and roll paradigm: the basic instrumentation of guitars, bass guitars and drums." --Sholem Stein


"Only by killing disco could rock affirm its threatened masculinity and restore the holy dyad of cold brew and undemanding sex partners. Disco bashing became a major preoccupation in 1977. At the moment when Saturday Night Fever and Studio 54 achieved zeitgeist status, rock rediscovered a rage it had been lacking since the '60s, but this time the enemy was a culture with "plastic" and "mindless" (read effeminate) musical tastes. Examined in light of the ensuing political backlash, it's clear that the slogan of this movement--"Disco Sucks!"--was the first cry of the angry white male." --Peter Braunstein, Village Voice, June 1998[1] [June 1998]


"In 1978, Greil Marcus asked twenty writers on rock-including Dave Marsh, Lester Bangs, Nick Tosches, Ellen Willis and Robert Christgau-a question: What one rock-and-roll album would you take to a desert island? The resulting essays were collected in Stranded, twenty passionate declarations to such albums as The Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet, the Ramones' Rocket to Russia, Something Else by the Kinks, and more. Universally revered as the ur-text of rock journalism, Stranded is an indispensable classic." blurb to Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island (1979) by Greil Marcus.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Rockism is the belief that rock music is dependent on values such as authenticity and artfulness, and that such values elevate the genre over other forms of popular music. A rockist may also be someone who regards rock music as the normative state of popular music or who promotes the artifices stereotyped with the genre. Poptimism (or popism) is the belief that pop music is as worthy of professional critique and interest as rock music. Detractors of poptimism describe it as a counterpart of rockism that unfairly privileges the most famous or best-selling pop, hip-hop, and R&B acts.

The term "rockism" was coined in 1981 by English rock musician Pete Wylie. It soon became a pejorative used humorously by self-described "anti-rockist" music journalists. The term was not generally used beyond the music press until the mid 2000s, partly due to the increasing number of bloggers who used it more seriously in analytical debate. In the 2000s, a critical reassessment of pop music was underway, and by the next decade, poptimism supplanted rockism as the prevailing ideology in popular music criticism.

While poptimism was envisioned and encouraged as a corrective to rockist attitudes, opponents of its discourse argue that it has resulted in certain pop stars being shielded from negative reviews as part of an effort to maintain a consensus of uncritical excitement. Others argue that the two viewpoints have similar flaws.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rockism and poptimism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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