An Open Letter to Music Critics Who Hate on Phish

If you want me or any other critic worth their salt to take you seriously, then you can’t rely on the same tired ad hominem tropes that have been trotted out for twenty years by folks who are attempting to justify their frustration over something being successful that they don’t like. I love vitriol, and when it is practiced by folks like The Onion, it can elevate our discourse. But you are quite literally copy-pasting an OJ Simpson “the glove doesn’t fit” joke twenty years after it was first made. How on Earth can you find that funny or clever?

Here’s the thing you don’t understand: there are plenty of valid and salient ways to criticize Phish or any other band. I could spend days poking fun at the sniveling hipsters you find at Wilco, Yo La Tengo or xx shows. Talk about low-hanging fruit. But why? Would it be funny, clever, or original? Or would it put me in line with 12-year-old Facebook bully working out self esteem issues on an effeminate classmate? If that’s what you want to do, if that’s the level you want to be on, then you are “entitled to your own opinion.” But I fail to see how someone who claims to enjoy music would want to communicate about music with all the substance of Sean Hannity.

If you want me to take anything you have to say about music seriously, then first and foremost take a fucking class in logic. Not everything we say or do has to be logical, but if you are going to shit on something then you can’t rely on fallacious arguments. Second, read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind.  Third: read this and this. Fourth: grow up. Part of being an adult is understanding the difference between you and others. Others are different from you, and they don’t like the same shit as you do.

And that right there, buckeroo, is what bothers you so much about Phish. They became wildly successful in the absence of radio play and massive marketing budgets. They are the most successful independent musicians of all time. They are the culmination of the indie movement, and you don’t like them. But instead of dealing with the fact, you whine like a toddler who has dropped his ice cream. Instead of getting on with your life, you broadcast your personal frustrations by insulting people you don’t know. Surely, you’re joking. Surely, you are trolling for hits. You can’t expect us to take you seriously, can you?

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43 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Music Critics Who Hate on Phish

  1. stems Reply

    First of all, it’s Vice.

    Second of all, Phish signed to a major label.

    Who cares?

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