Earlier this week content farm legitimate news site The Daily Beast posted a list called “Amazing But Overlooked: 25 Colleges You Haven’t Considered But Should” that succeeded in suckering me into linking to it (and yeah, I realize that makes me a weak person unfit for Internet). Among the schools listed was the University of Georgia, whose “overlooked merit” was Athens’ “music scene.” Reads the blurb:
The intense music curriculums of Berklee, Juilliard, and Curtis Institute may have merit, but Athens should be a beacon for students interested in a thriving live music scene outside the classroom. Home to the 40 Watt Club, the Melting Point, and the Georgia Theatre, Athens is known as one of the best places to catch live music in the country. The list of big-name bands that started on its stages is long, including REM, Drive-by Truckers, Indigo Girls, and Of Montreal. “What’s cool about the music scene here it that it’s so varied,” said Hilary Butschek, arts editor for the university’s paper, The Red & Black. “A lot of local band members say they came here because of the music scene.”
Now, I’m not one to hand out compliments to The Red & Black all willy-nilly, but, that’s exactly, if inadvertently, correct. How can Athens’ music scene be considered “overlooked” when everyone goes to UGA and/or moves to Athens because (or at least aware) of it?
I know there are plenty of kids who choose UGA for football alone—and a smaller group that does because of academics—but c’mon. They get it. EVERYONE knows about Athens’ music scene. My parents know about Athens’ music scene. My grandparents, rest their souls, knew about Athens’ music scene. My cat knows about Athens’ music scene. (Incidentally, his band is playing at Flicker tonight.)
I don’t mean to appear unappreciative of the attention, or act like we live in some magical bubble that is self-containable now and forever, because, y’all, we don’t. As creatively incestuous as Athens is, our music community could most definitely benefit from more interaction with the wider world.
But, and perhaps because of that point, the most frustrating thing about every goddamn little blurb like this is that it references the same obvious few things without bothering to research what’s going on now. Yes. R.E.M. is from Athens. Yes. There are some famous (and awesome) venues in town.
But there is so much more. This kind of oversimplification of what makes Athens’ music community special does nothing but move us backwards and is so reductive and pervasive that it makes me feel all smash-y every time I read it. (Which is 18 times a year on some dumb and uninformative click-bait list like this.)
So, anyway, I’m sorry I even posted it. Don’t click the link above. Put down the Internet. Go see a show.
EDIT: Flagpole‘s Gordon Lamb accurately notes that the Indigo Girls, though they played Athens quite frequently in their heyday, were from Decatur. Double buh.
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