Wednesday, July 21, 2004

ASCI: Amardeep Singh Cultural Index

Some of you may have tried the Teachout Cultural Concurrence Index test a few weeks ago. I myself abstained, basically because the very first question stumped me ("Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?"), and a third of the references that followed were essentially foreign to me.

That's not to say that I'm a Philistine... Actually, I'm pretty much a snob, but of a slightly different kind. My tastes: hip hop, indie rock, electronic music, eccentric films, assorted eclectic weirdness. As I've gotten older I've also dabbled in jazz, lots and lots of Indian music (which I'm keeping off the list -- maybe there should be a separate, 'desi' taste list), and the odd classical number. But my heart and soul is still rock and roll.

I'm trying to sustain some logic in the contrasts: Originators versus appropriators, "sell-outs" versus die-hard independents, slightly goofy versus slightly serious, alienated versus exotic... I also stole a few from Terry Teachout that I liked.

In every case, you can pick "DC" (Don't care) or "NHOI" (Never Heard Of It)
And I'm not sure it matters whether you "concur" or not with me. If you really must have a mathematical formula, try this:


number of "A answers - number of "B" answers = ASCI score
For every DC, subtract three points. For every NHOI add three points. If you want. What does the final number mean? It's a secret.

Final note: obviously, given a choice between a legendary band like Bad Brains and a more recent, (briefly) radio-friendly band like Living Colour, most serious people will pick the original as "better." But don't tell me who is more respectable. Rather, tell me whom you would rather put in your CD player when you're driving around town. Honestly.

1. (It's 11pm) The internet or Jon Stewart?
2. Pavement or Wilco?
(Too lame? Try: Clinic or the Doves?)
3. Sonic Youth or Unwound?
4. (It's 1991) Fugazi or Nirvana?
5. Bikini Kill or Sleater-Kinney?
6. Bad Brains or Living Colour?
7. Fatboy Slim or Moby?
(Too lame? Do this one: Mouse on Mars or Aphex Twin?)
8. Le Tigre or Peaches?
9. Grandmaster Flash or Run DMC?
10. The Nation of Ulysses or The Make-Up?
11. Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve) or Alan Moore (The Watchmen)?
12. Mos Def or Talib Kweli?
13. Public Enemy or Dead Prez?
14. Nas or Jay-Z?
15. Bands with "mouse" in the title or bands with "cat" in the title?
16. The Cable Guy or The Matrix?
17. Repo Man or Slacker?
18. Juliette Binoche or Audrey Tatou?
19. Dude, Where's My Car? or Friday?
20. Afrika Bambaataa or Kraftwerk?
21. Adult or Fischerspooner?
(You can also substitute Ladytron for Adult)
22. Andy Warhol or Keith Haring?
23. Actual graffiti or Jean-Michel Basquiat?
24. Andre the Giant or Hulk Hogan?
25. "Vogue" era Madonna or Marilyn Monroe?
26. The Sopranos or The Simpsons?
27. Mac or PC?
28. Jill Scott or Alicia Keys?
29. Aimee Mann or Liz Phair?
30. Deep house or drum n bass?
31. Ambient or trip-hop?
32. (Want to dance) A live band or a great DJ?
33. Vegetarian or meat?
34. Juice or soda?
35. On a date: Sushi, yes or no?
36. On your own: Taco Bell, no or yes?
37. Organic vegetables or regular veggies?
38. Backpack or sling?
39. Dead Kennedys or Bad Religion?
40. A little sublime (not the band, the real thing) or a lot of beautiful?
41. Reggae or ska?
42. CDs or MP3s?
43. Atmosphere or Aesop Rock?
44. 1969 or 1979?
45. 1981 or 1991?
46. The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin?
47. Tolkein or Rowling?
(Too lame? Try: Le Guin or L'Engle?)
48. In New York: Brooklyn or the Lower East Side?
49. In the Bay Area: San Francisco or Berkeley?
50. On a mountain or on a beach? 

Obviously there's more that could reasonably be added. If people have ones they want to add (or if you want to make your own, 'specialty' sub-list), feel free to go ahead, in the comments, in an email to me, or on your own blog. Also, feel free to tell me if anything on the list absolutely sucks. I'm thinking of this as a kind of group project, rather than my own thingie. If other people join in, we can change the name to something else...

In particular, I would be grateful if people could put up more authors -- more literature. My tastes in literature are so obscure that it might throw off the whole list (I've read every author on Terry's Index).

4 comments:

JD said...

how about do the right thing or menace 2 society? (honestly, I'm all about menace).
biggie or tupac?
donna haraway or judith butler?
castro or mao?
debord or althusser?
ti-grace atkinson or gloria steinem?
also, i remember the choice being between PE and NWA. Then, it was Bring the Noise. Now, its Straight Outta Compton.
Aretha Franklin or Esther Phillips?
Billie or Nina?
Bill or Hillary?

Amardeep said...

Thanks Julian. I can't believe I left out Biggie or Tupac -- it's like I forgot 1994-1997. But all of those are good, and will go in V 2.0 of the ASCI.

I also think I might agree with you about Menace II Society over Do The Right Thing, though I haven't tried to watch it in several years... The shots of the Queensbridge projects are raw and real; Spike Lee is all stylization.

I also forgot: (it's 1am) Al Green or Marvin Gaye?

Rob Breymaier said...

1. (It's 11pm) The internet or Jon Stewart? Stewart
2. Pavement or Wilco? Wilco
(Too lame? Try: Clinic or the Doves?)
3. Sonic Youth or Unwound? Sonic Youth
4. (It's 1991) Fugazi or Nirvana? Nirvana
5. Bikini Kill or Sleater-Kinney? Sleater-Kinney
6. Bad Brains or Living Colour? Bad Brains
7. Fatboy Slim or Moby? Moby
(Too lame? Do this one: Mouse on Mars or Aphex Twin?)
8. Le Tigre or Peaches? Le Tigre
9. Grandmaster Flash or Run DMC? Flash
10. The Nation of Ulysses or The Make-Up? NHOI
11. Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve) or Alan Moore (The Watchmen)? Alan Moore
12. Mos Def or Talib Kweli? DC
13. Public Enemy or Dead Prez? Public Enemy
14. Nas or Jay-Z? Nas
15. Bands with "mouse" in the title or bands with "cat" in the title? Mouse
16. The Cable Guy or The Matrix? Matrix
17. Repo Man or Slacker? Slacker
18. Juliette Binoche or Audrey Tatou? Binoche
19. Dude, Where's My Car? or Friday? Friday
20. Afrika Bambaataa or Kraftwerk? Kraftwerk
21. Adult or Fischerspooner? NHOI
(You can also substitute Ladytron for Adult)
22. Andy Warhol or Keith Haring? Warhol
23. Actual graffiti or Jean-Michel Basquiat? Actual
24. Andre the Giant or Hulk Hogan? Giant "anybody wanta peanut?"
25. "Vogue" era Madonna or Marilyn Monroe? Monroe
26. The Sopranos or The Simpsons? Simpsons
27. Mac or PC? PC
28. Jill Scott or Alicia Keys? DC
29. Aimee Mann or Liz Phair? Mann
30. Deep house or drum n bass? House
31. Ambient or trip-hop? Ambient
32. (Want to dance) A live band or a great DJ? DJ
33. Vegetarian or meat? Meat
34. Juice or soda? Juice
35. On a date: Sushi, yes or no? yes
36. On your own: Taco Bell, no or yes? No
37. Organic vegetables or regular veggies? Organic
38. Backpack or sling? Backpack
39. Dead Kennedys or Bad Religion? Kennedys
40. A little sublime (not the band, the real thing) or a lot of beautiful? beautiful
41. Reggae or ska? Reggae
42. CDs or MP3s? CDs
43. Atmosphere or Aesop Rock? Atmosphere
44. 1969 or 1979? 69
45. 1981 or 1991? 91
46. The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin? Stones
47. Tolkein or Rowling? Tolkien
(Too lame? Try: Le Guin or L'Engle?) Le Guin
48. In New York: Brooklyn or the Lower East Side? DC
49. In the Bay Area: San Francisco or Berkeley? SF
50. On a mountain or on a beach? beach

chutry said...

I actually prefer "Do the Right Thing," but I haven't seen "Menace" in years. That could be the film scholar in me touting the party line (DTRT is regarded as a formally innovative film), but I found that Lee engaged with class issues in a very subtle way, especially when I was teaching teh film this week.