inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #76 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Wed 20 Jun 07 12:17
    
Back to Adam's earlier post and follow-ups for "when
I listen to shows or watch a "View From the Vault," I'm amazed at how
ossified the song sequences and song selection became."

Context is important here. First, I don't disagree: I too find the
View soundtracks less compelling than almost all the Dick Picks and
many of the Vault shows, precisely because they come from the heyday of
my own showgoing (and I remember those shows) and also because
they're, well, kinda predictable. Fine moments, but ...

Sidebar: minor digression before I launch, see Shenk's essay in
Rebecca's book on how last-period Dead shows had a kind of set-list
grammar that made the experience comprehensible; it's a cool adjunct to
the lit when coupled with Garcia's and Danny Rifkin's interviews where
they discuss how the pattern of a show, in this era we're discussing,
pretty much formalized the arc of an acid test.

So first thing's first: there was a structure, it was deliberate, and
part of why they hung on to it was because it was effective: it
delivered the goods, or provided a reasonably predictable platform
where the x-factor could descend, and most of all, allowed them to do
so in an era when five minutes over a deadline meant a staggering
increase in fees assessed, or worse (such as one memorable bay area gig
in the late eighties [?] when they went over by more than half an hour
and tons of us were stuck in lovely Oakland with no way to get across
the bay because BART had stopped running).

Another point to be made is that no jazz fan would be making the same
gripe. I think I'm remembering correctly when I say that neither Miles'
nor Coltrane's bands had working repertoires anywhere near as varied
and extensive as the Dead's. I recall a six-show run (three at
Shoreline, three in Sacramento) circa 1990 where we saw 106 songs with
no repeats.

I also have to say: I wonder about the sheer effort and courage
required to improvise in front of crowds that size. It's one thing to
jam with an audience of 2,000 in front of you; it's a wholly different
thing to try to do so in front of 30,000. I wonder to what extent part
of the ossification we're bemoaning is also a very human response on
the musicians' part to trying to create something of a ritual for them
to try to hang on to as they attempt to do something which may well
have been unique in modern musical history: to perform improvised music
and attempt to never repeat themselves, night and after night, year
and after year, for more than three decades.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #77 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Wed 20 Jun 07 12:20
    
... back to Adam's comment in #60:

"...they came out and played a second set that was nothing but an hour
of group improvisation? What do you think the reaction would've been?"

My hair would still be long and I would still be on tour, wondering
where everyone else was ...
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #78 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Wed 20 Jun 07 12:28
    
[Still catching up ...]

Xian's kind inquiry about my favorite footnote: 

Well, I have to say that as a historian, I love footnotes ... that's
where we get to peer beneath the hood or flip over the breadboard and
see how neatly someone wires and solders ... the footnotes in the intro
are really metatext, and can be read as a kind of narrative in their
own right. Lots of contextual stuff, etc.

But my favorite footnote is the one I talked about in one of the
earliest posts here, which is when I found the dictionary entry that
Garcia found. There's something truly Deadheady-mystical about having
to emulate that process, despite having had the huge head start that
Grushkin provided by publishing the title page in Book of the
Deadheads. It still took a LOT of hunting ... and lo and behold.

I think the only thing that would please me almost as much would be to
come up with the definitive answer of which single by which Warlocks
Phil found in the record shop on Haight Street. Years ago I figured out
that there was a better chance of this being the pre-ZZ Top guys'
Warlocks out of Texas, which had a limited distribution arrangement
that could have stocked a Haight Street record store, rather than the
pre-Velvet Underground Warlocks. But there's room for more work there
...
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #79 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Wed 20 Jun 07 12:34
    
Thanks for the kind words, David D.! And to yours and Adam's posts
about the Amherst conference: I'm truly glad to see that happen as
well. It builds on the experience of an informal group of Dead scholars
who have been meeting for ten years now at the Southwest/Texas
American/Popular Culture Association's annual conference in
Albuquerque. I encourage everyone reading this to come out - - and for
those so incliined, consider giving a paper! We've been amazed at the
degree to which a bunch of folks yakking about the Dead can actually
tap into the groupmind, creating a kind of scholarly equivalent of the
x-factor that really leaves folks with renewed energy, empathy, and
furthered insights ...
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #80 of 144: Adam Perry (adamice9) Wed 20 Jun 07 18:05
    
<<<<It's one thing to jam with an audience of 2,000 in front of you;
it's a wholly different thing to try to do so in front of 30,000 >>>

Not to beat a dead horse (np pun intended) but Phish did an hour-long
set of complete improvisation in Limestone, ME in 1998 in front of
70,000 people. And did the same thing in the same place in 2003, which
I was lucky enough to see in person, although that hour-long
improvisation was performed on top of a 100-ft (or was it 200ft?)
control tower. 

Pulling something like that off takes balls, selflessness, comfort and
interest and respect in all the players you're sharing the stage with,
and practice. I'm not sure how many of those traits, if any, the
Grateful Dead had (or if so, how often they had those traits) in the
last...I dunno...25 years they were a band. The "Dark Star" from Miami
'89 certainly showed them possessing and caressing all those traits.

All I'm saying is that if I'd been following the Grateful Dead in
their latter days I would've been turned off by the ossification...and
would've argued that I don't want my trips to be structured. But again,
that's just my taste. Some people went to the bathroom during "space"
and would've argued that they didn't want their trips to include entire
sets of "space."

Oh, and Nick...have you heard of the current Warlocks band, out of Los
Angeles? Their "Phoenix" album is one of my favorite records of the
past few years. Great stuff.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #81 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Thu 21 Jun 07 06:00
    
Yup, that's a cool set; they get points for having done so. But there
are many reasons not to compare the two bands, and I don't really think
we get anywhere in doing so; different animals. I look forward to an
academic book a la AGI on Phish.

I'll check out the Warlocks ... 
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #82 of 144: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Thu 21 Jun 07 07:07
    
Flipping back a few to one of Adam's points, I have no doubt making
money was an objective, and not just in the big show (or mega-Dead)
era. Check out Bob Weir's comments on free music on the train after the
1970 Toronto gig in the Festival Express movie. However, I don't think
that it was ever the primary objective. Money was a tool to enable
pursuit of the primary objective, to make music. If you look at the
edges closely enough, of course, they disappear.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #83 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Thu 21 Jun 07 08:09
    
Well said, Robin. Money was a central concern in the first decade of
the band's career simply because it was a struggle. But it's also worth
pointing out that the way they structured their business meant that
the business of making music was funded well; band member salaries were
not, comparatively speaking. Think of Healy's remarks that whatever he
wanted in the way of PA improvements, he got.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #84 of 144: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 21 Jun 07 10:41
    
The money factor needs to be examined in the context of the
counterculture's questioning of unfettered consumerism. The band came
of age during this period.  The shadow part of an "anti-materialistic"
sentiment, of course, means that we all need stuff survive. To use
Joseph Campbell, however, the band was far more atuned to following a
collective bliss, than trying to subscribe to the
"so-you-want-to-be-a-rock'nroll-star" ethos. It was all abit
contradictory, but no one can argue against these cats emerging from
the underground money-ain't-everything scene. Also, they were
collectively and individually sincere artists, and, taken together, a
constellation of true talent.    

I'm still waiting on AGI which may address this, but the earliest
stages of the Dead's survival as a group can not ignore that the band's
first state-of-the-art "PA improvements" were funded by Owsley's
contributions to the band, money derived from the elixir fueling
Psychedelia.  Would the Dead have survived without this infusion of
wealth? 

When the band had its farewell concert in 1974, there is no way they
were establishing the now-classic rock band model where The (fill in
the blank group) would use the ploy to market a succession of (fill in
a number) Farewell Tours. Something else brought them back together. 
Was it money, or was it that the Dead offered each member,
individually, an optimal artistic outlet for his respective talent? 
There are worse 9-to-5 survival gigs.

Money doesn't hold a band together for three decades.  It wasn't
simply the music, either.  From what the band members have said, it
makes more sense to view the Dead phenomenon in the way they saw it
themselves. They talk about having created a beast that unwittingly
took shape and carried them along.  The beast needed money to fuel it,
an audience to sustain it, a musical product to propel it, organization
to hold it together, willing members to man it, enough mutual
respect/love/admiration to stay with this beast, and enough attractant
to keep the members from splitting up. 

So part dust devil, part leviathan, part rolling thunder revival camp,
the long touring Grateful Dead phenomenon was phantasmagorically
beastly. Unrepentant books like AGI need to be written to force a crack
in the equally beastly egg of scholarly derision and complacency. The
Dead present one of the more fascinating phenomenon of our time.  
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #85 of 144: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 21 Jun 07 11:52
    
btw, just a brief note before another question. the reference to
setlist syntax (or grammar is it) comes from a paper by Gary Shank
(with an A), not Shenk (with an E). David Shenk was Steve Silberman's
coauthor on Skeleton Kizzle.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #86 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Fri 22 Jun 07 05:41
    
Good catch, Xian - - quite right. 
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #87 of 144: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 22 Jun 07 15:16
    
>> I'm uncomfortable saying with finality that the Dead were MORE
spiritual than their peers, but I'm sure tempted to ... that's one of
those generalizations that would depend on how we defined spiritual,
but I find an arc between "And We Bid You Goodnight" and "Days Between"
that hits every religio-spiritual bone in my body in spades, and with
chills. I think it's also interesting to measure that in reverse: how
is it that Deadheads as a group had such a unique religio-spiritual
vibe to them, not found in other popular music fandoms? >>

Fascinating question from your earlier post, Nick.  And, intriguingly,
how is it that the Dead with such ambiguous lyrics and no intention to
prosyletize to their audience managed to attract/develop a following
with such a religio-spiritual vibe.  Was this due simply to the
psychotropic drugs? That's the easy, dismissive answer.  More
profoundly, how much do ambiguity and layers of meaning within songs
abet this deeper shared experience? What was it about the music itself
that evoked such "spiritual" immersion? To those close to the
experience, the Dead's ambiguity seems to work like a Zen koan where
each member of the audience brings his or her own engagement to the
music.  Then, collectively, there is enough shared
commonality--kinesthetically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually,
drug induced--to shape the audience.  This is especially evident in
the "true believers"/repeat attendees.  These followers, over time,
began shaping a microcosmic culture.  Partaking in the same
rites/songs/sets became like communion; the shared sense of Deadhead
mysticism evolved.

You mentioned the song "And We Bid You Goodnight."  The first time I
heard this was at the close of the concert that closed Winterland. 
From midnight to 5:30 a.m. the Dead had taken the audience to the
farthest and widest reaches of the band's musical expression.  Then
with this soft acappela rendering, for the first time, I heard an overt
religious statement from the Dead: "Jesus loves you the best."
Ironically, this in itself was like a koan, because my sense of the
group and where I thought it was coming from was instantly changed,
broadened actually.  The group that paraded the trippiest Zen china cat
of all was at the same time able to embrace a spectrum of spiritual
possibility like no other group. LFRNFA.

Nick, what are the challenges in the area of Dead Letters to find ways
for sharing with non-sympathetic scholars the essence of the
Deadhead/Dead phenomenon in a manner that will be taken as seriously as
any other non-musical groups' spiritual/religious experience?
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #88 of 144: rolling loaded dice (xian) Fri 22 Jun 07 15:47
    
btw, there's an interesting discussion on good ol' rec.music.gdead
about this interview, and someone has questioned Nick's quip that the
Dead featured seven virtuosos. I realized that I had some thoughts on
that myself and will quote from my usenet post below"

"Yeah, I could have challenged Nick on that one (still can, I
suppose). I don't even think of Jerry as a virtuoso, given his
approach, although his sheer talent and inventiveness might qualify
him. Pig was brilliant in his idiom. Weir is inspired at at times
astounding in his reach. Brent was talented but not a virtuoso or a
genius. Kreutzman, in his heyday was approaching virtuoso territory,
imho. Phil's obviously a genius and a unique and inventive player but I
don't know if virtuoso is the right word. Virtuoso really gets at a
very different kind of musical excellence from the kind the Dead
engaged in, where the holistic effect often exceeded any single
player's capabilities."

not sure this link will work:
<http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.gdead/browse_thread/thread/5ad7ef066d
467f8c/1ec89bde4173ec36>
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #89 of 144: *%* (jewel) Fri 22 Jun 07 17:20
    
There seems to exist within the deadhead population a drive to incorporate
one's love of the GD with one's life and even one's occupation.  Do you
think this plays a part in the wide range of academic contexts in which the
GD have been studied?
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #90 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Sun 24 Jun 07 07:21
    
Great posts all ... many thanks! First, to the virtuoso remark ...
folks are correct to take me to task on that; especially musicians and
musicologists. What I meant in the context of the back-and-forth with
Dennis was that focusing on "three geniuses" created a skewed
impression, although I appreciate and agree with his general point,
which is to place them in a long tradition of artistic excellence in
the West. 

One of the fundamental things about the Dead, though, was that this
genius didn't take on the forms that normally obtain in that tradition
- - that's the collectivity we all talk about so much. In an interview
I sat in on with Mickey in the early nineties, a journalist with me
commented to Mickey that every member of the Dead was secretly
convinced that the band's success depended on that member, which got an
immediate assent (and much laughter).
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #91 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Sun 24 Jun 07 07:25
    
Continuing to move backwards ... great question, Jewel - - and I think
you're right, that's exactly right. One theme I hammer on in the intro
to AGI is the degree to which Dead scholarship is characterized by
both commitment and risk, which is unusual and noteworthy in the
academy. Another facet is the sheer diversity and significance of the
Dead phenomenon, which seems to call for explication and analysis from
this broad swath of disciplines.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #92 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Sun 24 Jun 07 07:33
    
Great one from Scott: 

"Nick, what are the challenges in the area of Dead Letters to find
ways for sharing with non-sympathetic scholars the essence of the
Deadhead/Dead phenomenon in a manner that will be taken as seriously
as any other non-musical groups' spiritual/religious experience?"

Ah, I wish I had a clue. The whole theme of stigma and how it attaches
to those scholars who study stigmatized groups is complicated. And I
think there are a number of contexts here as well: musicologists can
point to arguments over significance and excellence that have gotten
extremely heated; Rob Weiner in his intro to Perspectives on the
Grateful Dead gets at that with his assertion that the Dead are the
most loved and hated band in rock.

On the broadest level, I'm not really sure I place much merit in the
idea of scholarly discussions of music creating a desire in readers to
go out and expose themselves to that music; but there's also a part of
me that wonders if the degree to which the band's model of "participate
in the traditions" is exactly analogous to scholarship; it's part of
what's fun about talking about the fascinating echoes and levels and
interconnections in the Dead phenomenon that do indeed ripple out and
ultimately can encompass both veggie burritoes being sold in a parking
lot and microeconomic exegesis on what that means.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #93 of 144: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sun 24 Jun 07 09:25
    
>> scholars who study stigmatized groups

I put Tom Wolfe in this catagory when he went out to write "The
Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."  He politely declined to drop acid, and
the fact that he was an outsider to the Pranksters came through in many
ways in his narrative, but to his credit, beyond the imposition of his
pet hypotheses, he tried his best to be objectively "intersubjective."
 He viewed Kesey and the Pranksters as embodying a religious group in
its initial stages of formation.

Earlier, <pauli> said: "Being an historian I think that social
scientists tend to generalize more than historians, who tend to focus
more on change over time."  

When I read Denis McNally's history of the Dead, the thoroughness was
impressive, but there was a tendency to barrage the reader with too
many dates and names and places to the point that the context of the
Dead experience suffered.  In a collection such as AGI, I sense an
attempt to distill a number of valid perspectives on the Dead.

As for a sociological/anthropological perspective on the
spiritual/religious aspects of the Dead/Deadhead phenomenon, the
fascinating question is the one Wolfe attempted to overlay on Kesey and
the Pranksters.  Namely, more than how the Dead/Deadhead phenomenon
changed over time, in what ways did this subculture provide a
fascinating example of socio-spiritual cultural formation? The Electric
Kool-Aid Acid Test was most notable as a work of literary sociology
showing how Psychedelia emerged in Western culture.  The Deadhead
phenomenon evolved from this Psychedelia and endured along with the
band as a microcosm of that emergence. 

For me, this goes beyond scholarly curiousity limited to those in
academia and has me putting on futuristic skull-and-rose colored
glasses.  I try to imagine a post-apocalyptic scenario where, sick of
war, a Deadhead-like, primitive-but-selectively-technological tribal
formation might borrow from the Deadhead model to create neo-hippie
pockets of peace. Scholars don't like to talk much about a
peace-and-love ethos, but when we probe beneath the
military-industrial-high tech system that ensnares all of us (including
those guarding the towers of academia), what is more viable to our
humanity than that ethos?  
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #94 of 144: David Gans (tnf) Sun 24 Jun 07 10:26
    

> Rob Weiner in his intro to Perspectives on the Grateful Dead gets at that
> with his assertion that the Dead are the most loved and hated band in rock.

A musician/luthier friend of mnine, Bruce Harvie, refers to the Dead as "the
most overrated (by their fans) and underrated (by the rest of the world) band
in the world."
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #95 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Sun 24 Jun 07 11:41
    
Wow, that's the most elegant restatement of Rob's contention I can
imagine ... great!
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #96 of 144: can't close the door when the wall's caved in (xian) Sun 24 Jun 07 11:54
    
it also helps explain why there is a topic here in the Well's
independent "Flame" conference called SHUT UP HIPPIE.

I think the same insight/epiphany that has led so many Deadheads to
revere the experience (and - as mentioned earlier - at times to try to
weave it into all aspects of their lives) also contributes to that
tendency to ascribe idealizes, romanticized notions to every facet of
the doings of these all-too-frail human (if, at times, inspired, maybe
even divinely inspired) musicians (and their enablers, in every sense
of that word).

As Garcia said, 'Anyone who thinks I'm God should talk to my
children,' (or words to that effect).

We see it in Albuquerque, to be sure, from both seasoned and new,
young scholars, this occasional tipping into hagiography and frankly an
unscholarly acceptance of hearsay and lore without the rigorous
tracking down and verifying demanded by scholarship. I know I've been
guilty of passing along things I believed to be true until I or someone
else managed to debunk then.

Given ths stigma and the uphill battle all pop culture/American
studies interdisciplinary work still faces, do you agree that Dead
scholars need to bend over backward to get their facts straight and hew
to what can be checked, verified, etc., even if that means letting go
of some of the compelling material (such as, say, the tale of the
audience member who vanished - Spinal Tapwise - when Jerry, Phil, and
Bob focused their guitars on him)?
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #97 of 144: Nicholas Meriwether (nicholasm) Sun 24 Jun 07 11:56
    
Great thoughtful post, Scott ... lots of good stuff in there to chew
on, but it's also worth pointing out that Kool-Aid is a defining tome
in New Journalism, along with Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels, which
also had a huge Haight-Ashbury component.

One of the interesting aspects of the book, as well as of New
Journalism as a whole, it's embrace of subjectivity in authorial
perspective, and in particular the blurring of subject-object, a
metaphor which the Dead and other Haight-Ashbury bands were also
playing with in terms of performer-audience boundaries; and, in fact,
so were other San Francisco arts, such Ann Halprin's dance workshop.
LSD becomes a wonderful aid to that kind of thinking with its ability
to blurr lines of consciousness and ego boundaries, a point made by
many of the artists at the time.

I like your question: "Namely, more than how the Dead/Deadhead
phenomenon changed over time, in what ways did this subculture provide
a fascinating example of socio-spiritual cultural formation?"

But it's funny, I'm still more focused on how they illustrate themes
that run deep in human history, or precedents and antecedents rather
than uniqueness. I obviously think you're right, that there's something
unique there, but I'm not satisfied that I'll ever be able to make
that argument until I've figured out those earlier contexts.

Which is probably why I gave AGI the subtitle I did ...

Random aside: at one of the meetings of the Southwest/Texas
American/Popular Culture Association, we had a Native American audience
member who came to a session and stayed for several more; like many
spectators, he was impressed with the collaborative dialogue that
followed the papers, and when the conversation had shifted to overtly
spiritual aspects of the phenomenon, he commented, "I think the
Grateful Dead phenomenon looks like the beginnings of  a religious
movement." It was a fascinating remark, and in some ways highlighted
the varying cultural resonances of those terms. 

Now, time for me to go back and reread Kool-Aid ...
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #98 of 144: John Ross (johnross) Sun 24 Jun 07 11:57
    
Reading this topic and observing the whole phenomenon as sobebody who
admitedly has never been impressed by most of what I have heard of the
band's music, I have a couple of questions:

First, is there a fundamental difference between the deadhead culture and
that of people who construct their lives around things like folk music orr
bluegrass festivals? There's an essay called "Bluegrass and the Folk
Revival: Structural Similarities and the Experienced Differences" by Philip
Nussbaum in the book "Transforming Tradition: Folk Music Revivals Examined"
(University of Illinois Press, 1993) that describes the culture of bluegrass
fans that seems to have a lot in common with deadheads (with the possiible
very important exception of drug use). My own experience at folk music
festivals feels like it has many of the same elements of community.

And second, how important to the legitmacy of "dead studies" or whatever we
want to call the academic study of the subject is the fact that there are
musicologists and others (such as Fred Lieberman) involved who are also
rrespected by the broader academic establishment? This is not to argue that
ti would not otherwise be a legitimate field of study.
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #99 of 144: Gary Burnett (jera) Sun 24 Jun 07 12:05
    
My take on Christian's question: 

First, the uphill battle does still remain to some extent, though it
does seem to have improved somewhat.  Perhaps it's just that there's
enough of a remove at this point, or perhaps I see it this way because
I have tenure, & that makes all the difference in the world :-)

However, I don't know tht we have to "bend over backward to get [our]
facts straight and hew to what can be checked, verified, etc."  That's
certainly one way to go, but it assumes a kind of positivist belief
that "facts" are all that matters, when that's not always the case --
there are certainly other kinds of rigorous scholarship that don't
limit themselves to bare "facts," but endeavour to tell stories of one
kind or another.  And I can certainly imagine some interesting
scholarly approaches that would be able to do something with stories of
vanishing audience members and the like.

Still, even now, junior academics need to be ready with solid answers
when their senior colleagues tell them (as one told me once) "you
really have to stop doing all of this pop-culture nonsense."
  
inkwell.vue.301 : Nicholas Meriwether, "All Graceful Instruments"
permalink #100 of 144: Gary Burnett (jera) Sun 24 Jun 07 12:13
    
A couple of slips.

I wholeheartedly agree with Nick's observation about the embrace of
subjectivity and the blurring of subject/object.  Embracing
subjectivity within scholarship does imply that things are not
rigorous.  

And John is absolutely correct both about the connections between the
Deadhead community and others (such as the Bluegrass community), and
about the place of academics doing Grateful Dead studies having
established names for themselves in other ways.  Rebecca Adams is an
excellent case in point -- *we* know her as the Deadhead professor, but
the core of her sociology has to do with other matters.  She once told
me a story that seems apropos:  she was talking to a mutual academic
acquantance of ours (who shall remain nameless), who said something
like "I don't think that there are any Deadheads in LIS ("Library and
Information Studies," which is my field).  She pointed out that I was a
Deadhead, to which he responded "but ... but ... but ... but he does
*good* work!"
  

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