13 March 2007

Music and Thick-headed Fundies

A while ago (in fact, when I first started this blog last year) I wrote about my seething, festering, boiling-over raw hatred at the crappiness of the music played at my wife's church, and practically all modern evangelist churches. It is vacuous as music, like the crappy pop music that fills the airwaves only crappier still: fluffy love songs that, as Eric Cartman says, replace "baby" and "girl" with "Jesus."

I then progressed from wanting to kick John Tesh in the nuts to declaring my suspicion that most religious people liked crappy pop music even outside of their church goings. At the time, the now semi-retired (at least blog-wise) Hallq challenged me and said that he had doubts that was the case. He was right, of course, and I myself know some religious people who do like more intelligent music. So it's definitely not a slam dunk that if you're religious then you'll like Britney, Mandy Moore, et al. I still had my suspicions though.

And now these suspicions are bearing themselves out. On Mixing Memory, Chris reports on new research by social psychologist Sam Gosling on the correlation between musical preference and a person's personality. I'd highly recommend that you read his post, and I'll let Chris sum it up here:
In short, people who listen to jazz are smart, liberal, adventurous, and poor; people who listen to heavy metal are smart, liberal, adventurous, athletic, and prone to social dominance; people who listen to Madonna or the "Dancing With Wolves" soundtrack are agreeable, conscientious, conservative, rich, happy, dumb, emotionally unstable, and hot; and people who listen to hip hop are extraverted, agreeable, liberal, athletic, and hot. Well, those are the tendencies at least (I've known some smart Madonna fans, though I have to say that they were pretty emotionally unstable). (Emphasis added)
Of course, you can typically substitute "conservative" for "religious" in most cases. Now, it's certainly not true that all people who like pop music are religious or vice versa, but here it says that there is a positive correlation between pop music and conservatism(religion)/stupidity. You gotta trust the science*.

*At least until the next study shows up refuting those claims ;-)

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11 Comments:

At March 13, 2007 4:34 PM, Blogger Carlo said...

This is the worst possible result I've ever heard of!!! If I want a hot partner, I'll either have to put up with vacuous soundtracks or Crick-forbid, Hip-Hop! What ever happened to all the hot rock-band groupies????? The world IS going to hell...

That being said, I've always suspected that the music you listen to says something important about you. Here's a study that show that people who listen to country music are more likely to be depressed, alcoholic and suicidal.

 
At March 13, 2007 4:53 PM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

Surprise surprise about the country music ;-) About the groupies, though, I'd imagine it's not all-encompassing and that there are exceptions.

I have the hot partner and the vacuous soundtracks. Hip hop would probably have been better, though neither is an encouraging prospect. Give me Canadian rock (except Nickelback - can't stand them and their one song that they rewrite over and over again) and I'm happy.

 
At March 13, 2007 9:21 PM, Blogger Carlo said...

Yeah... I've got the hot soundtrack thing coupled to Nora Jones.

Yes, sometimes I get exasperated by Theory of a Default Staind Nickel too. Mind you, I do like Staind quite a bit.

I think that music is complicated, maybe I'll think about it and write a post. I remember reading about a study some time ago that showed that men, in general, enjoy the technicality of music (the lyrics, solos, instruments). Women on the other hand enjoy harmony (instrumental and vocal), and beat. They tend to ignore what the vocalist is actually saying. Most 'girl' music (Britney, 'Beyon-say', etc.) features perfect harmonies and pentatonic scales (You can pretty much play all their songs with 3 or 4 chords).

I think it's also got something to do with lyrics too though. I personally am sick-to-death of love songs. It blows me away when I listen to Julie's (my gfs) CDs where every single song is about some aspect of a standard heterosexual relationship. Boring!

 
At March 14, 2007 8:20 AM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

My wife is all about the lubby-dubby lyrics. If she likes those, then she'll listen to a song that sounds like elevator music. Actually, that's why I like the Tragically Hip so much - up until the most recent album, they never sang about love in the traditional sense at all. I'd be interested to read your post about it if you get it done.

 
At March 14, 2007 9:37 AM, Anonymous Sarge said...

As I mentioned, I am a musician and with certain of the instruments I play I often find myself in church services to perform. My parents attempted (unsuccessfully) to bring me into the Southern Baptist fold especially with the music stuff. Didn't work, though. But, it is interesting to listen to people in church on their music. A while ago the methodists updated their hymnal and I heard an old fart bemoaning that action. "They just want to tear everything down!" he wailed. "Our good Lowell Mason hymns have been good for as long as I can remember. Why do they have to go changing things?" And other words to that effect. But, that is the xian way of looking at things, everything is static to be good. This man is also a musician, so I thought he would know better. I told him that when his precious Mason hymns came in there were probably a bunch of old doofus's like himself who bemoaned the departure of shaped note music. And when that came in, plain song. To remind him that in the 400 AD period, Ambrose of Milan used the popular tunes of the day to toll in the upper class youth of the day. Since he was such a traditionalist, why not that sort of music? And I was given the true fundie answer. "I wasn't raised with that."

I learned early on that if you perform in a church, get the money up front before you play a note, the sentiment that 'Jesus Paid It All' runs strong in them to include their bills.

For the last two years I've been called at the last minute to play in churches for christmas and easter. They pay, I play. On three occasions the person who hired me knew I was an atheist, and others who knew complained about it and asked why they called me, of all people. They all answered the same way: "Who else would be free to play?"

Carlo, I like country music, play in Bluegrass Jams, and I don't drink at all, tend to be upbeat, and as my life has almost been taken from me on several occasions, I'd like to stick it out and see it through to it's normal end, thank you very much.

Here's a thought, though: what if it's a plot to get persons of agrarian background who are in the way of progress to get to the tipping point and thin themselves from the herd?

I know a lady who is a sociologist, and she has a theory that music is an indicator of societal status. Didn't state that well, but she contends that if you have music that is presented to appeal to youth, and it is part of their 'culture', things are pretty good economically.

 
At March 14, 2007 11:54 AM, Blogger Carlo said...

Carlo, I like country music, play in Bluegrass Jams, and I don't drink at all, tend to be upbeat, and as my life has almost been taken from me on several occasions, I'd like to stick it out and see it through to it's normal end, thank you very much.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like some bluegrass (and country as well) as well. Some of that stuff is played so quickly that it becomes a true technical feat, and I can appreciate the music even if I wouldn't listen to it all the time.

I do need to point out that the mean of a group doesn't say anything about any individual members in that group. If people who listen to country music are more likely, on average to commit suicide, it will not allow anything more than predictive power about the likelihood of suicide for any individual. The predictive power increases dramatically however, if the distributions of the categories do not overlap significantly (and in this case, obviously they do).

What I mean is that, listening to country music does not make you an alcoholic, suicidal or depressed. On average, country listeners are more suicidal though. This says nothing about causation.

Probabilities and distributions are very commonly misconstrued. I didn't mean to offend.

 
At March 14, 2007 6:44 PM, Anonymous Sarge said...

Don't sweat it, Carlo. Just mentioning that little anomoly. It is true, in my younger days I trained and rode horses in competition, so if someone accuses me of being a shit-kicker I don't say "no". I have actually nudged the occasional turd with the toe of my boot. Really enjoy Wilf Carter and Hank Snow, and here I am, a Yank. My one daughter-in-law is from Toronto, she's never heard of either of them.

Most people are very surprised find out that I'm a harpist. Of all the instruments I play, that's the one most folks think is the least likely for me.

 
At March 15, 2007 8:35 AM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

Wow, I don't expect anyone to be a harpist ;-) Interesting though.

 
At March 15, 2007 6:55 PM, Anonymous Sarge said...

HAHA! NO ONE expects anyone to be a harpist! (a la the Spanish Inquisition sketch)

I just got back from a five hour gig of playing in the local library to raise donations. Ow.

My wife and sons say that I've harped for decades, but at least sometimes they can ejoy my harping.

 
At March 16, 2007 8:27 AM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

You gonna threaten my with the comfy chair now?

Ow, 5 hours is a long time to sit playing. How are your fingers?

 
At March 16, 2007 9:01 AM, Anonymous Sarge said...

The fingers don't bother you if you if you practice regularly (as I do)and you get calloused. On your digits, of course. only speaking for myself. The middle hour I got to break, but the first two they brought in some folks from a local old folks home. Couldn't take a break for the first two hours, and one of my blood pressure meds is a diuretic. Yow. My shoulders bother me more than anything on a long job.

Yes, my lad, it's the comfy chair for YOU! The extent of your heresy also demands you be plied with the fuzzy slippers!

 

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