published Friday, February 17th, 2012

Courter: When not going can be as cool as going

Like thousands of other music fans, I sat glued Tuesday to the computer waiting for the Bonnaroo lineup to come out. I did so primarily because I was being paid to do it, but also because I wanted to know who would be performing on the farm in Manchester, Tenn., in June.

After it finally showed up as a playlist on Spotify (pretty cool) at noon, the rest of the afternoon was spent being amused and befuddled at the comments on various social-media sites about the quality of said lineup.

Some people love the lineup, which features Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish and the reunited Beach Boys. It's a safe bet the pro-2012 lineup fans found a favorite group or two among the more than 120 acts.

Some people did not see their faves listed, so naturally this would be the worst lineup EVER, in their eyes.

Then you had the folks who have never been, will never go and think anyone who does go is an idiot.

My favorite group of posters are the hipsters. They are the ones who fancy themselves true music lovers. So passionate, knowledgeable and clued in are they, they feel it is their birthright and duty to remind the rest of us just how wrong we are for liking a certain act.

They rarely post to say something nice about bands they like, primarily because to do so would mean that act might become popular, and then they'd have to stop liking them because it just isn't cool to like something others do.

These are the same folks who waxed on about how tragic it was that Adele won so many Grammy awards, because you know, she's so popular and, therefore, terrible.

My favorite T-shirt I've seen at Bonnaroo over the years -- right up there with the one featuring Bob Ross, the PBS landscape painter -- was the one that read "I'm into bands that don't even exist yet."

It reminds me of the lines from "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Blues Rock" by Todd Snider:

"Well we blew 'em away at the Grammys show

by refusing to play and refusing to go

and then just when we thought fame would last forever

along come this band that wasn't even together."

I'm sad to say I was that guy back in high school and college. Then I grew up. Actually, I heard a professor in a marketing class say that some ads were not directed at me. Back in the day, I was also an expert on movies, pop culture, television and, well, everything, honestly.

Anyway, his point was that advertisers target demographics and that a white, middle-class, Southern, college-aged male might not be the target of an ad for a feminine-hygiene product. It took me a while to accept that it wasn't all about me, but once I did, I started to see things differently.

Suddenly it was OK if people liked hair/metal bands or bluegrass music. It no longer bothered me that guys who starched and ironed their blue jeans also listened to James Taylor.

What they listened to didn't alter one second of my day.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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