From a different planet

Letters, we get letters:

Dear Dark Legions Archive,

Sometimes I feel like I am from a different planet. The people around me like mundane and boring music, but if there’s something quirky about it like being from Kuala Lampur or having a flute, they think it’s genius. I listen to it and realize there is nothing being communicated. The musicians are making music, and they’re doing an OK job, but it doesn’t convey any experience or emotion. It’s just there and the only way to appreciate it is by the techniques they use, the quirks it has, or how blasphemous it is. I seem to be the only one who sees this. I will be in a crowd of people who are headbanging to something so stupid it’s painful. They think the best part of death metal is the breakdown. They also fervently believe that Ulver’s “Nattens Madrigal” was actually recorded in a forest, probably one with lots of electric outlets. I don’t think they’re stupid, but they seem to be oblivious. Help — what do I do?

Metal UFO
Portland, OR

We live in an age where image is more important than reality. Because we are all equal, we can only get ahead by convincing other people to use their equality to support our more-than-equal-ness. So being able to sell things to people, or make them like you, is really more important than doing anything productive. This is why our jobs are boring and our currently is losing altitude faster than Flight 93. As part of this, people listen to music in the same way they shop — to buy things that make them look good to others. So the short answer is that they’re not really paying attention to the music. Even if they were, they listen to it on their iPods while doing a million other things, including watching TV and IMing, so it’s not clear they have the mental focus to even know if they like it or not. But no mind: they don’t care if they like it. What they care about is that their friends like it, and think they’re hardass (kvlt) or educated (prog). It’s all about status climbing. Your solution is to be very selective about what you listen to and stop going to concerts with people who still believe in this dying civilization. Good luck, because realists are the ultimately minority, making up less than 2% of the population, and few of them have any time for metal, rock or pop culture at all.