Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-n6p7q Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-25T18:25:58.327Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

5 - Another Authentic Folk Is Possible

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2021

Get access

Summary

‘[A]ttach yourself to what you feel to be true. Begin there.’

The Invisible Committee

The synergies moving across the histories of American folk music, digital culture, and (tactical) media theory particularly coalesce in a few of the moments that have appeared above: Dylan getting noisy on his typewriter, Lomax plugging in his soon-to-be-forgotten ‘Global Jukebox’, Seeger calling for a hammer and for a bell, the members of the New Brunswick Laboratory of Imaginary Media Research + Design grabbing pencils and attempting to generate new channels. In these diagrams of connection, conflicting desires and anxieties have sounded out, and persistent questions have been posed if not definitively answered. What does it mean to ‘be real’? How can one become ‘real’, not alone, but rather in conjunction with the ‘becoming real’ of others? How are we to understand, and indeed nurture, the material media ecologies that have defined and sustained such projects?

Some readers may find all this reference to ‘the real’ alarming, and rightfully so, for the concept of ‘authenticity’ has had a troublesome history. Much of this trouble has stemmed from the concept of ‘the folk’. Connections between racist and sexist notions of authenticity and the rise and more recent recombinations of fascism need not be recapped in detail here; suffice it to say that ‘authenticity’ has often been wielded as a dehumanizing weapon, a history that many scholars in the humanities and social sciences have attempted to critique and to trace. Participants in the folk revival were well aware of the problematic legacies of their traditions as well. In a short piece written around 1942, entitled ‘Progressive and Fascists Both Sing Folk Songs’, Pete Seeger considers how the Nazis relied on ‘static’ and ‘naïve’ folk visions, whereas the progressive movement of which he was a part ‘responds most keenly to the expanding, militant side’.

Despite Seeger's demonstrable openness as a folk theorist, however, his own approach famously appeared stale to the burgeoning counterculture that he had helped to form.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×