Friday, June 11, 2004

Odd associations

I'm in the middle of reading The Social Psychology of Music. I will provide a review of this interesting book when I have finished, but I just wanted to share two literary references that struck me while reading the chapter on "Music and social influence." First, the author referenced Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, probably better known as the John Cusack/Jack Black film. The author, Ray Crozier, was using a scene from the book as an example of unpopular music preferences being mocked and altered by normative processes. I was both amused at seeing a fictional novel cited next to heavy duty psychology articles, and a little dismayed that Crozier resorted to a fictional scenario in making a point. It cheapens the point he is making, as this scene did not occur in real life or reflect legitimate research. And it seems unnecessary given the other citations he does make to support the exact same point.

The second is not an intentional reference by the author, but one caused by my unfamiliarity with British folk dancing. In the introduction to this chapter, the author uses morris dancing as an example of group activity that is influenced by both conformity and innovation. It is probably an excellent example, but my only other experience with morris dancing is in Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. In this fine tome of fantasy satire, the Lancre Morris Men, six time winners of the Fifteen Mountains All-Comers Morris Championship (twice when the other finalists ran away), perform the Stick and Bucket Dance to help kill nasty elves. So my visions of morris dancing are a little skewed. Though I would like to see the Stick and Bucket dance some day, from a safe distance.

No comments: