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women in rock

Pink

Maya Price recently wrote a punchy, well-needed open letter to Rolling Stone taking them to task for their pathetic "Women in Rock" material. Unfortunately, like so many critics who have more opinions than taste, Price (a woman rocker herself), proceeds to destroy her own argument with a bitchy side trip into Pink Trashing:

And could someone please explain to me why people keep insisting on referring to PINK as rock? Wasn't she doing the white girl hip hop thing a minute ago? Yeah, she performed on the Aerosmith tribute show --big deal..she was on the Janet Jackson tribute show just before that--Whatever's trendy. WHO CARES. She's a Spice Girl reject.

I don't care if Maya Price is a woman, I don't care if Maya Price is a rocker, I don't care if the target of her screed (Rolling Stone) needs to be attacked. There is simply no reason to listen to someone who can't be bothered to figure out the difference between Pink and Britney, Shakira, or that GrrlPink wannabee, Avril Lavigne. Price's comments are as uninformed as are those of the magazine she attacks: she assumes, like oh so many more-indie-than-thou fans before her, that Pink must suck because she's popular, that it's appropriate to paint every young female popstar with the same brush of contempt, that Pink's willingness to embrace a cross-cultural musical world is only evidence of her white girl quasi-trendiness. Of course, in falling all over herself to trash Pink for making music with Aerosmith and Janet Jackson (as if there's something wrong with that), Price neglects the most crucial influence on Pink's recent recordings, Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes fame. Perry, for all her failings (and I'm not a big fan of hers), would seem to represent exactly what Price is looking for: a strong female rock presence who many years ago hit the peak of popmusic stardom with "What's Up," rejected the pop world, left her band, formed her own label, and now works at making personal music of import to herself and others like her, and also lends a helping hand to new artists like Pink. But Price leaves Linda Perry out of her argument, because Perry would spoil the "Pink sux because she's cute, white, and popular" view.

Many of us have heard some variation of what I think of as the "Parent's Argument" (after my own past life as a teenager involved in the generation gap): "how can you listen to that stuff, it all sounds the same!" It's the worst kind of stupid argument, because it's not only uninformed but proud of that gaping lack of knowledge. "Man, that 'N Sync sucks, I've never heard their music, why bother, it sucks!" Whether it be disco or punk or rap or new age or whatever, people who have no idea what they are talking about make blanket assumptions as if the absence of understanding actually makes them a better critic. Does Rolling Stone fail miserably at covering women in rock? No question. Would it be nice if the whole world knew about Sleater-Kinney? I think so. Does Maya Price know what she's talking about? Nope.

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