PDA

View Full Version : An article slamming the uke, calling ukuleles "the lamest of all time"



Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 09:54 AM
http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-03-31/attention-indie-rock-no-ukes-84433

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen such hate for the ukulele before. Does it really call for this much ire?

greenway
03-31-2011, 09:59 AM
Lol. I'm quite amused by the fact that every single comment is telling the writer that he's an elitist douche.
Well, not literally. But that sums it up quite nicely.

pulelehua
03-31-2011, 10:10 AM
If you read the responses, they're pretty much anti-article. The best response:


Tiger wrote:
Sounds like somebody needs more fiber in their diet.

Thu Mar 31 2011, 1:19 PM

I've been teaching Indie rock history to my students this year (it's actually part of their curriculum for Music Technology!), and if we can breathe an easy sigh of relief about anything, it's that Indie rock tends to do what it wants. Not that Indie rock is a term which means very much at all. But that's another story...

My fibre intake is just fine.

ukulelecowboy
03-31-2011, 10:14 AM
Thanks for that link, Jim. There's no way I would have run into that one.

The article is baseless and the comments are hilarious.

"Sounds like somebody needs more fiber in their diet" LOL

That stupid tirade made my day...

Mike

LoMa
03-31-2011, 10:14 AM
Perhaps he feels threatened by ukuleles...

PoisonDart
03-31-2011, 10:21 AM
He's got the worlds most annoying radio show. A pop music critic who loves the sound of his own voice, but has never produced anything artistic himself.

God I hate when Sound Opinions comes on.

GX9901
03-31-2011, 10:29 AM
I don't think it's big deal. I'm sure there are plenty more ukulele haters out there. Not everyone is going to like the same things. My brother tells me my ukulele is annoying whenever I play it in his presence. I just keep playing it.

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 10:33 AM
I would encourage everyone here not to jump on the "this guy's a douche" bandwagon. While the overall tone of his article is rather snarky, he does actually ask "should I give this a chance?" in summary. I think what he may be trying to say is "I find this instrument annoying, is it just me?" to open a dialog. Granted, he didn't say it in the nicest way he could have, and I think he's trying to be funny about it, but still... I'd like to think this community is a bit more civil and mature than to immediately start bashing him because of his weight, sexual performance, or other vitriol that has nothing to do with the point he is trying to make. He hurt some feelings, obviously, but how about we respond to what he said with an attitude of rising above rather than one of petty personal jabs.

Just a suggestion.

ukulelecowboy
03-31-2011, 10:37 AM
Well spoken. I'd be willing to see where he goes with all this.

janeray1940
03-31-2011, 10:46 AM
I'm pretty clueless about this century's pop music in general, and I'm definitely no fan of Hey Soul Sister, but my reaction is - whatever, it's his job to be a critic.

But I'll admit to being a bit annoyed by his comment: "But, damn, what’s up with that tiny twanger? Get a grown-up guitar, Merrill!" That's the biggest problem I have with this guy's opinions - that even when he can recognize that a player is a "real" musician, he can't accept that the ukulele is a "real" instrument.

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 10:50 AM
Janeray, I agree that he is rather insulting in the tone of his article. My point is that it does us a disservice to respond in kind, whereas it reflects better on the ukulele and the people who play it by playing it cool. I think everyone with a contrary opinion to his should reply to his article with our thoughts about why we think he's wrong and why he should give the ukulele a chance with the goal of actually presenting a counter argument. The minute it becomes name-calling is when it deteriorates to noise and nobody listens. And it looks bad on all of us.

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 10:51 AM
Having said that, I think he's missing the point of the ukulele and it's nice to see such support of the instrument among his readers.

ceviche
03-31-2011, 10:53 AM
He has no soul.

itsme
03-31-2011, 10:58 AM
The comments were better than the article, IMO. I especially like this one:


Michael Epstein wrote:

I'm a member of Neutral Uke Hotel and I enjoyed your tongue-in-cheek article. We have a running joke within the band that we're tired of this guitar gimmick trend that's been happening forever now. When are people going to get over guitars?!?!? In all seriousness, if I never heard another band with electric guitar in it, I would not be sad.

I also thought the article was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

seeso
03-31-2011, 11:00 AM
DeRogatis is a drummer. He also teaches at my alma mater. He's been in a bunch of bands over the years. I generally like the show he has with Greg Kot, "Sound Opinions (http://www.soundopinions.org/)." Kot's the rock critic for the tribune, and DeRogatis is the rock critic for the Sun Times, so it's kind of like what Siskel and Ebert did back in the day.

I agree with Kot more often than DeRogatis, so this blog entry doesn't surprise me. He's just crusty, per usual.

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 11:02 AM
I think the Siskel & Ebert comparison is a good one. Ebert hates 3-D movies, DeRogatis hates the ukulele. So be it. (And for the record, I agree with Ebert.)

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 11:03 AM
I would encourage everyone here not to jump on the "this guy's a douche" bandwagon. While the overall tone of his article is rather snarky, he does actually ask "should I give this a chance?" in summary. I think what he may be trying to say is "I find this instrument annoying, is it just me?" to open a dialog. Granted, he didn't say it in the nicest way he could have, and I think he's trying to be funny about it, but still... I'd like to think this community is a bit more civil and mature than to immediately start bashing him because of his weight, sexual performance, or other vitriol that has nothing to do with the point he is trying to make. He hurt some feelings, obviously, but how about we respond to what he said with an attitude of rising above rather than one of petty personal jabs.

Just a suggestion.

Jim you are correct. He does ask should I give the uke a chance but he also answers it: Is it time to learn to stop worrying and love the uke? Sorry, but one visit to the Ukulele Review Web site is enough to make even the kazoo seem cool in comparison.

I'mnot going to call him a douche b/c he is entitled to his opinion. But I think he is one of those people trying to be cool by going against the current trend but is actually failing.

haole
03-31-2011, 12:09 PM
I've heard him on the radio before, and this article is pretty much in line with his usual schtick: trying to be a contrarian whenever possible. :B

fabioponta
03-31-2011, 12:22 PM
The same thing happens with eletric guitars here in Brazil on the 60`s decade. The Bossa Nova players was afraid with the Mutantes (first brasilian rock band) guitar sounds.

OldePhart
03-31-2011, 12:32 PM
That's the beautiful thing about the internet - any old idiot can create a website and spout any sort of gurgling nonsense they want.

To paraphrase an old saw...

Those who can't do, teach.
Those who can't teach, become critics.
Those who can't even be taken seriously as critics, blog.
Those who can't do any of the above follow those blogs.

John

Berto
03-31-2011, 12:35 PM
Wow... what a doosher.... Whatever, he can go and be a hater. On a positive note, I see he enjoyed his first chin so much, he decided to get a second one...

OldePhart
03-31-2011, 12:36 PM
Wow... what a doosher.... Whatever, he can go and be a hater. On a positive note, I see he enjoyed his first chin so much, he decided to get a second one...

BWAAAA-HAAAAA. I share that trait with him, but that's still danged funny!

John

Jnobianchi
03-31-2011, 12:39 PM
Lol. I'm quite amused by the fact that every single comment is telling the writer that he's an elitist douche.
Well, not literally. But that sums it up quite nicely.

Well - a couple actually do go there, and quite rightly. Heck, I'll go there.

Elitist douche!

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 12:40 PM
See, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Instead of presenting an opposite viewpoint to what he says, it's "he's fat!"

NotsoGoodyet
03-31-2011, 12:41 PM
He will never know what he is missing.
Kinda feel sorry for the poor guy.
Perhaps taking up a collection to send him Tiny Tim's 12CD boxed set will help?

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 12:42 PM
Perhaps taking up a collection to send him Tiny Tim's 12CD boxed set will help?

Or that might prove his point!

jet86
03-31-2011, 12:55 PM
Haha, my favourite comment was "The ukulele isn't for everyone, just like football isn't for everyone and some people are turned off by mayonnaise." Kind of puts it in perspective...

UkeToaster
03-31-2011, 12:59 PM
this made me so angry i didn't know what to do.


pure ignorance.

OldePhart
03-31-2011, 01:06 PM
He will never know what he is missing.
Kinda feel sorry for the poor guy.
Perhaps taking up a collection to send him Tiny Tim's 12CD boxed set will help?

Hmmm, at what, 12 songs per CD that would be, like, 144 copies of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips?"

(Yeah, and I know, he did more than that. Just sayin...)

John

mm stan
03-31-2011, 01:11 PM
Aloha Jim,
He is clueless and his schtick is not even worth my time......then why am I writing this??? he he lol

Ukulele Jim
03-31-2011, 01:12 PM
Haha, my favourite comment was "The ukulele isn't for everyone, just like football isn't for everyone and some people are turned off by mayonnaise." Kind of puts it in perspective...

Hey, I wrote that! :)

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 01:26 PM
That's the beautiful thing about the internet - any old idiot can create a website and spout any sort of gurgling nonsense they want.

To paraphrase an old saw...

Those who can't do, teach.
Those who can't teach, become critics.
Those who can't even be taken seriously as critics, blog.
Those who can't do any of the above follow those blogs.

John

imagine what the world would be like without teachers.

dkcrown
03-31-2011, 01:28 PM
His comments made me chuckle. There is nothing on this planet that everyone likes.

But why is it that some of us uke players are so thin skinned? Why is it when someone takes a swipe at the ukulele, that all of us here obviously love, we take it personally? If I took a shot at say, the oboe, do you think that all of the oboe players in the world would unite against me?

LoMa
03-31-2011, 02:19 PM
I know there are many fans of Tiny Tim, but he honestly did leave a bad impession amongst many that the ukulele is nothing more than a novelty instrument - at least if you were alive when he was tiptoing through his tulips.

Hey Soul Sister is probably what will turn many non-ukers around on the issue. Regardless if you like the song or not. Wow, the uke is cool after all.

austin1
03-31-2011, 02:41 PM
Actually, I thought this article was brilliant. I, too, hate ukulele playing hipsters!

whetu
03-31-2011, 03:20 PM
Actually, I thought this article was brilliant. I, too, hate ukulele playing hipsters!

Me three!

Seriously though, he's primarily moaning about ukes invading his precious indie rock genre. I generally don't play indie rock, and I was uking before those johnny-come-latelies jumped on the bandwagon, so I've got no problem. He's a closed minded idiot, but that's his life choice, again, not my problem.

So unless you're an indie rocker with your waistcoat, fedora, square-rimmed specs and stovepipe jeans, there's no reason to get wound up about this :)

I secretly also wish the pro-uke commentors would suggest someone who isn't Jake, for a change. We can't have a one-man defence plan.

mds725
03-31-2011, 03:42 PM
His point may be that he doesn't like ukuleles in indie rock, but he tries to make it by being generally critical of the ukulele as an instrument. What he's done is a little like criticizing a cello for not being a violin. Each musical instrument has its strengths and weaknesses (including guitars, which this guy seems to adore), and there's nothing wrong with sprinking an indie song with the somewhat different sound of an ukulele if it serves the song. The Beatles were considered revolutionary when they added orchestrations to some of their songs and some fans of the so-called British Invasion were appalled. All these years later, songs like "Eleanor Rigby" are considered to be classics. Did orchestrations make sense for every song recorded in 1966? No, but it would have been ludicrous to criticize orchestration in the abstract, as that blog post seems to be doing with the ukulele here.

The blog post reminded me of this Albert Einstein quote: ‎"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." Jim DeRogatis ought to be judging the ukulele by its ability to be an ukulele, not by its "failure" to be a guitar.

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 03:51 PM
Me three!

Seriously though, he's primarily moaning about ukes invading his precious indie rock genre. I generally don't play indie rock, and I was uking before those johnny-come-latelies jumped on the bandwagon, so I've got no problem. He's a closed minded idiot, but that's his life choice, again, not my problem.

So unless you're an indie rocker with your waistcoat, fedora, square-rimmed specs and stovepipe jeans, there's no reason to get wound up about this :)

I secretly also wish the pro-uke commentors would suggest someone who isn't Jake, for a change. We can't have a one-man defence plan.

hey, hey, hey:) I suggested Jake. But seriously, who else has the weight that Jake has? the ukulele boy? Aldrine? Seeso? I mean all those are great and I actually prefer two of them to Jake but jake is our hero at the moment.

zac987
03-31-2011, 04:07 PM
James Hill would be an example of folk ukulele done right.

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 04:07 PM
James Hill would be an example of folk ukulele done right.

who's he? I'm not kidding either. I'll have to go look him up.

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 04:12 PM
who's he? I'm not kidding either. I'll have to go look him up.

ok. He's pretty darn gone good but he's a whiteguy version of jake. unless he sings but of the 3 videos i watched no singing. The one note Samba, might be my favorite uke song???
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO7spLjad3k&feature=related

janeray1940
03-31-2011, 04:13 PM
I secretly also wish the pro-uke commentors would suggest someone who isn't Jake, for a change. We can't have a one-man defence plan.

Same here. But I don't think Ohta-San or John King would have much appeal to the waistcoat, fedora, square-rimmed specs and stovepipe jeans crowd :)

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 04:14 PM
sad thing about the uke is that I don't listen to mainstream music. Not even ukers. The only ukers I follow are guys from UU. I was fortunate to see Jake and hang out with him after his show here in ATL but that is as far as I go with uke music. Maybe I should listen to more music instead of just posting away here on UU. I can not believe I haven't heard of james Hill.

haolejohn
03-31-2011, 04:22 PM
OK. there are more post here than in the blog. so by default the uke is more popular than he thinks. maybe that is the problem?

Jerlial Prophet
03-31-2011, 04:49 PM
haolejohn. Here's a vid with James Hill singing. Enjoy.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u778gSi94N4&feature=player_detailpage

cletus
03-31-2011, 04:59 PM
...appeal to the waistcoat, fedora, square-rimmed specs and stovepipe jeans crowd :)

Man, I feel older than dirt.:old:

janeray1940
03-31-2011, 05:04 PM
Man, I feel older than dirt.:old:

LOL! My record collection (okay, MP3 collection, but I still call them records) makes me appear to be older than dirt. When in reality, I'm only *just about* as old as dirt :)

Viola Harpstrings
03-31-2011, 05:06 PM
Good comments here. Ya know, one thing that's wrong with the world is self righteous bigots like him expressing negative opinions (which has NO basis in fact) for all to see.
He probably can't even play a comb....
I told him to go suck a turd.

OldePhart
03-31-2011, 05:11 PM
LOL! My record collection (okay, MP3 collection, but I still call them records) makes me appear to be older than dirt. When in reality, I'm only *just about* as old as dirt :)

I'll have you both know that I own the patent on dirt, okay! LOL

John

philpot
03-31-2011, 05:16 PM
I know there are many fans of Tiny Tim, but he honestly did leave a bad impession amongst many that the ukulele is nothing more than a novelty instrument - at least if you were alive when he was tiptoing through his tulips.


I wasn't, (alive then) but I have an enormous amount of respect for him. He embraced his weirdness, turned it into an act, and made a living doing something he loved. What more could anyone do in life? And if you watch some interviews with him from the 80s, the man was a flipping music encyclopedia!! He knew so much about music in general. One of my favorite moments from an interview was where he was asked if he still learns new songs. He said, "I'm always learning new songs, and new OLD songs." and then proceeded to play a beautiful old song on his trusty little uke. He was an amazing dude.

That said, the article made me lol. I believe he probably wrote it specifically to get the reactions hes getting... its called trollin' for fame. It works. Try it on youtube. ;)

uke4ia
03-31-2011, 05:19 PM
I know there are many fans of Tiny Tim, but he honestly did leave a bad impession amongst many that the ukulele is nothing more than a novelty instrument - at least if you were alive when he was tiptoing through his tulips.


Yes, he did. He pretty much single-handedly made a joke out of the entire instrument for a good 30 years. After him, no one could see the uke as good for anything except being campy (sad to say, even many uke players). Even today, every now and then I get some smart-ass who comes by and sneers, "Heh heh, can you play 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips'?" I've been playing for 35 years, and for most of them you couldn't get anyone who plays another instrument to play along with you because all other musicians thought the ukulele was a joke. Frankly, it's been the indie musicians like Beirut and Ingrid Michaelson who've made the ukulele acceptable to the mainstream again, and that's been just in the last 5 years or so.

philpot
03-31-2011, 05:31 PM
Even today, every now and then I get some smart-ass who comes by and sneers, "Heh heh, can you play 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips'?"

Then play em tiptoe through the tulips ;) its a beautiful song.

uke4ia
03-31-2011, 05:39 PM
I'd rather slit my wrists than play that. I'd learn the full Britney Spears and Ke$ha songbooks first.

70sSanO
03-31-2011, 05:41 PM
While he may think the ukulele is the lamest instrument of all time the reality is... a music critic is about the lamest occupation of all time.

What does a music critic really do?

Think about it. Does anyone really need someone else to tell him or her what music is good and what music is not?

John

philpot
03-31-2011, 05:45 PM
I'd rather slit my wrists than play that. I'd learn the full Britney Spears and Ke$ha songbooks first.

suit yourself bro.

NotsoGoodyet
03-31-2011, 06:36 PM
I put this quote up on my wall just after an old friend took one look at my ukulele and asked, "You aren't going to play that thing are you?"

It's from Clint at ukulelestrummers.com

This is the bottom line on Ukulele playing.

I have seen many people try to force the sounds they want to hear from this fine instrument. True music is never forced.

If you take the time to learn about the instrument itself, how it works, how you need to caress it to allow it to "sing" the sound you're looking for, how you need to have patience with yourself as you learn about the Ukulele, you will improve quicker than you think.

The Ukulele is a beautiful musical instrument. Although it can bring enjoyment and peace, it is not a toy. It is something that needs to be understood and appreciated. Cared for and respected. If you fail to love playing it, put it away.

Always strive to sound as beautiful as you possibly can when you play it.
Play it poorly and that is the sound you will have earned.

Play what you want to play, sing what you want to sing, strum how you want to strum, pick what you want to pick. Never be afraid to play in front of people and never say you're sorry for mistakes you play along the way. Have fun with it, or put it away.

It's all about making someone happy with your music, whether it's you, (hopefully), or someone else.
Just have fun making beautiful music. In the big picture, that's really what it's all about, right?

Ghibli
03-31-2011, 07:18 PM
In 1943, Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, said" I think there is a world market for maybe five computers"..................

austin1
03-31-2011, 07:26 PM
Me three!

Seriously though, he's primarily moaning about ukes invading his precious indie rock genre. I generally don't play indie rock, and I was uking before those johnny-come-latelies jumped on the bandwagon, so I've got no problem. He's a closed minded idiot, but that's his life choice, again, not my problem.

So unless you're an indie rocker with your waistcoat, fedora, square-rimmed specs and stovepipe jeans, there's no reason to get wound up about this :)


I love that you and I have the same opinions about pretty much everything! When I take over the world, you can be my vice-dictator, if you want.

Why so serious, everyone? This guy said he doesnīt like ukuleles, that doesnīt mean he doesnīt like you! No need to get all up in arms as soon as someone says theyīre not particularly fond of your instrument. I, for example, canīt really deal with the tuba, but I donīt hate tuba players. The ukulele community seems to be so intent on taking itself seriously, that it has become grossly oversensitive. Laugh at yourself a little, it wonīt hurt, I promise. :D

As Brad Pitt so aptly phrased it in Fight Club: "You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank, you're not the car you drive, you're not the contents of your wallet, you're not your f-ing khackis. You are also not your ukulele."

HornedOne
03-31-2011, 07:28 PM
While he may think the ukulele is the lamest instrument of all time the reality is... a music critic is about the lamest occupation of all time.

What does a music critic really do?

Think about it. Does anyone really need someone else to tell him or her what music is good and what music is not?

John

I agree. I think all critics are rather lame, I mean what makes them diffrent from you and I? we both have opionions about music/movies/books etc. the only diffrence is the fact that they have a blog/collum/show, thats it. xD

austin1
03-31-2011, 07:36 PM
I agree. I think all critics are rather lame, I mean what makes them diffrent from you and I? we both have opionions about music/movies/books etc. the only diffrence is the fact that they have a blog/collum/show, thats it. xD

Just because the guy has an opinion that you donīt agree with doesnīt mean that the logic behind that opinion can be found in his career or his hobbies or his dress shirts or his hubcaps or his favorite dog breeds. "Oh he doesnīt like the ukulele because heīs a muuuuusic critic, the pompous moron." How much sense does that make? Opinions are just...opinions. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes the sound of a ukulele. I took up the uke because it was impossible for me to take seriously, and I am somewhat dismayed by how self-important the whole uke scene is becoming. Itīs just a ukulele! It does not define you! Itīs supposed to be fun, not a call to arms!

rasputinsghost
03-31-2011, 07:57 PM
I'd respect him more if he actually articulated why he doesn't like the ukulele. Which is fine, just cough up a reason.

I would also respect him more if his head didn't look like a giant thumb

jet86
03-31-2011, 08:43 PM
"You are also not your ukulele."

That must have been in the director's cut. :p

HornedOne
03-31-2011, 10:10 PM
Just because the guy has an opinion that you donīt agree with doesnīt mean that the logic behind that opinion can be found in his career or his hobbies or his dress shirts or his hubcaps or his favorite dog breeds. "Oh he doesnīt like the ukulele because heīs a muuuuusic critic, the pompous moron." How much sense does that make? Opinions are just...opinions. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes the sound of a ukulele. I took up the uke because it was impossible for me to take seriously, and I am somewhat dismayed by how self-important the whole uke scene is becoming. Itīs just a ukulele! It does not define you! Itīs supposed to be fun, not a call to arms!

I'm not bashing this critic or any critic. its just that critics in general may it be music critics movie critics or book critics get payed just to give their opinion. and the fact that they are critics gives them a sense of superiority wich I don't like.

and I don't give a rat's arse what people think about the ukulele. if I would give a rat's arse I would have sticked to the guitar. instead I play the uke because it makes me happy :P

The Gunrunner Rimbaud
03-31-2011, 10:38 PM
You know, once you strip his article of the indie posturing, snark and bombastic overstatement, I have to agree with his essential argument. In other words, I really dislike his tone and approach, but I agree completely.

No, not that the ukulele should solely be used for Hawaiian music, but that it's more or less become a meaningless cachet and signaling device for hipsters. Like some of the comments said, he didn't mention Stephen Merrit because unlike a lot of folks slinging ukes, he did it in a way that utilized the instrument for musical purposes, and not to show "Look, aren't I so twee and vulnerable with my four-string two-octave strummer! Marvel at the delicacy of my emotional expression! Watch as I cover a song using an ukulele, its ironic because I'm being completely earnest using an instrument the mainstream looked on as silly!"

It's insincere and I would say, far more "harmful" to the instrument than Tiny Tim could ever be.

Ukuleleblues
04-01-2011, 01:10 AM
My favorite comment was:

"Megan wrote:
You damn ukes get off my lawn!!"

SweetWaterBlue
04-01-2011, 01:31 AM
Just as tv talking heads do, people who write opinion pieces in magazines (even ezines) often do it for ratings. A certain segment of the population would rather read a funny (to them) piece slamming the uke, than serious one investigating its virtures. It's a lot less work to write that way too - all you have to do is assemble a few snarky remarks and throw them together. I am sure we could write a similar piece about the guitar.

haolejohn
04-01-2011, 01:45 AM
haolejohn. Here's a vid with James Hill singing. Enjoy.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u778gSi94N4&feature=player_detailpage

Nice. He rocks. He is getting up there with Aldrine:)

haolejohn
04-01-2011, 01:47 AM
I'll have you both know that I own the patent on dirt, okay! LOL

John
when I saw your video, I was like...Wait. THat can't be oldephart:)

ukeeku
04-01-2011, 01:55 AM
What I find funny is that he references ukulelereview.com, a site that is pretty much dead. How about a real site like, lets see....Ukuleleunderground.com, ukulelehunt.com, .....Mine :)
Some people just like to be the Debbie Downer.

Hippie Dribble
04-01-2011, 01:57 AM
I thought the article was narrow minded in the extreme. Very ignorant and quite frankly, showed the writer to have a very superficial appreciation and understanding of music.

kissing
04-01-2011, 02:03 AM
Initially I was rather annoyed too with this article. As said many times before, it's narrow minded and prejudice.

However, it's people like him who keep the uke exclusive and special to the 'cool' people who have discovered the uke on a personal and spiritual journey.
It's people like him that keeps the uke population a bit more closely knit than the mainstream crowd called "anybody".

The world is running out of people like him... they're becoming an endangered species.

philpot
04-01-2011, 02:39 AM
You know, once you strip his article of the indie posturing, snark and bombastic overstatement, I have to agree with his essential argument. In other words, I really dislike his tone and approach, but I agree completely.

No, not that the ukulele should solely be used for Hawaiian music, but that it's more or less become a meaningless cachet and signaling device for hipsters. Like some of the comments said, he didn't mention Stephen Merrit because unlike a lot of folks slinging ukes, he did it in a way that utilized the instrument for musical purposes, and not to show "Look, aren't I so twee and vulnerable with my four-string two-octave strummer! Marvel at the delicacy of my emotional expression! Watch as I cover a song using an ukulele, its ironic because I'm being completely earnest using an instrument the mainstream looked on as silly!"

It's insincere and I would say, far more "harmful" to the instrument than Tiny Tim could ever be.

+1. I'm not gonna judge peoples motives for wanting to play music but... okay I will. I know several people who play uke simply because its popular and people look at them. My sister says there is a guy on her college campus who walks around all day strumming the. same. chord. those kind of people ruin it more then anybody else has or does, including Tiny Tim.

UKISOCIETY
04-01-2011, 07:39 AM
...
The blog post reminded me of this Albert Einstein quote: ‎"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." Jim DeRogatis ought to be judging the ukulele by its ability to be an ukulele, not by its "failure" to be a guitar.

Well said! If you're willing to meet the ukulele on its own terms, it will sweep you away.


My favorite comment was:

"Megan wrote:
You damn ukes get off my lawn!!"


Mine too! :D

jlester2200
04-01-2011, 08:04 AM
guess the author won't be scoring an account on uu anytime soon, though maybe he should. seems like he needs to unwind a bit.
i see nothing but negativity in this article.
if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.

jungleturtle
04-01-2011, 09:16 AM
Perhaps he feels threatened by ukuleles...

Threatened by Ukuleles would be a good name for a band!

OldePhart
04-01-2011, 12:53 PM
I'd rather slit my wrists than play that. I'd learn the full Britney Spears and Ke$ha songbooks first.

The song itself is actually quite nice - it's just his idiotic falsetto that ruined it. The song predates Tiny Tim by quite a bit, and the original singer didn't make a joke of it. I did it as blues for Mim's contest and, while I'm no blues singer (or any sort of singer) by any means, I did actually develop an appreciation for the song - just not the man that ruined it and the ukulele on his way to his fifteen minutes of fame.

Next time somebody sneers and asks you if you can play Tiptoe Through the Tulips try doing so - the original, non-falsetto, non campy version! When they say, "no, that's not it, I meant..." you can explain to them how little they know about music in general and the ukulele in particular. :)

John

OldePhart
04-01-2011, 01:05 PM
While he may think the ukulele is the lamest instrument of all time the reality is... a music critic is about the lamest occupation of all time.

What does a music critic really do?

Think about it. Does anyone really need someone else to tell him or her what music is good and what music is not?

John

Well put. Letting a "critic" - whether self-professed or acclaimed - influence your choices in the artistic realm (music, movies, plays, books, etc.) makes about the same amount of sense as allowing your political/social/market interests to be influenced by a Hollywierdo or musician.

John

jet86
04-01-2011, 10:37 PM
Well put. Letting a "critic" - whether self-professed or acclaimed - influence your choices in the artistic realm (music, movies, plays, books, etc.) makes about the same amount of sense as allowing your political/social/market interests to be influenced by a Hollywierdo or musician.

John

I actually think that for books, movies etc. There is a valid reason to listen to a critic. If you know that their taste is similar to yours and take what they say with a grain of salt, they can be helpful to work out whether you're likely to like something. As for music, I don't really see the point - it's so easy to just listen yourself and make up your own mind.

ichadwick
04-03-2011, 11:04 AM
Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said that, "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, become critics."

Nickie
04-03-2011, 02:31 PM
Well, I don't much care what anyone thinks of me, but if they say my ukulele is lame, they'll have to deal with my ire.... at the very least, I'm going to call them narrow minded...

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 04:21 PM
hey, hey, hey:) I suggested Jake. But seriously, who else has the weight that Jake has? the ukulele boy? Aldrine? Seeso? I mean all those are great and I actually prefer two of them to Jake but jake is our hero at the moment.

James Hill. Roy Smeck. Cliff Edwards. Lyle Ritz. Herb Ohta. I realize that two of these are long dead, but they do kind of prove the "ukulele is a REAL instrument" point.

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 04:31 PM
Threatened by Ukuleles would be a good name for a band!

Wow! That would be an AWESOME name for a band!!!

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 04:33 PM
Well put. Letting a "critic" - whether self-professed or acclaimed - influence your choices in the artistic realm (music, movies, plays, books, etc.) makes about the same amount of sense as allowing your political/social/market interests to be influenced by a Hollywierdo or musician.

John

Or a radio talk-show host, for that matter!

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 04:37 PM
As I was reading the blog, I kept thinking about how many more pretentious, terrible "hipsters" have played guitar. Ukulele is a relatively small market share in the world of hipster-doofusdom.
And I also kept thinking about how the author probably sounded much like his grandfather would have sounded when talking about that fad, the electric guitar. Then I remembered the story of the A&R guy at one of the record companies that initially turned down The Beatles because "Guitar groups are on the way out". And then I felt sad for him.

whetu
04-03-2011, 04:57 PM
Jim DeRogatis ought to be judging the ukulele by its ability to be an ukulele, not by its "failure" to be a guitar.

That has to be the wisest sentence in this thread.


I love that you and I have the same opinions about pretty much everything! When I take over the world, you can be my vice-dictator, if you want.

My friend, we have an accord :cheers:


and I don't give a rat's arse

I've recently wondered: where does one get rat's arses in order to give them out? :)


You know, once you strip his article of the indie posturing, snark and bombastic overstatement, I have to agree with his essential argument. In other words, I really dislike his tone and approach, but I agree completely.

No, not that the ukulele should solely be used for Hawaiian music, but that it's more or less become a meaningless cachet and signaling device for hipsters.

Oh well, there will come a tipping point where the ukulele will be viewed by the hipsters (http://www.google.com/images?q=hipster+kitty) as too mainstream and they'll go away and take up the glockenspiel.

Ironic, really, in the context of "boo! hipsters messing my chi!" when we're all on a site with the word underground in it (where something being 'underground' is a hipster selling point)


Nice. He rocks. He is getting up there with Aldrine:)

I seriously can't believe you've never heard of James Hill?! Look for some of his chopstick videos and prepare to have your mind blown ;) (I'd link you directly, but I'm at work and youtube is blocked.) If you're wanting to rate him, he's up there with and, in my opinion, above Jake. They do play in different styles though so it's like comparing, say, Santana to Clapton; Oranges, meet Apples. James is certainly more varied, interactive and he sings, though he is going through a bluegrass-y phase at the moment.

The late, great, John King's work further proves the versatility and capability of the ukulele. Seeso was saying that this critic is a drummer by trade? OK, let's see him arrange Carol of the Bells for the drums *folds arms*

I grabbed this link off ukehunt, it should be John and James playing Larry O’Gaff & Swallowtail Medley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3j-b35zkGw


Threatened by Ukuleles would be a good name for a band!

Good call, what's the first album name? "Well, are ya?"

whetu
04-03-2011, 05:08 PM
The song itself is actually quite nice - it's just his idiotic falsetto that ruined it. The song predates Tiny Tim by quite a bit, and the original singer didn't make a joke of it. I did it as blues for Mim's contest and, while I'm no blues singer (or any sort of singer) by any means, I did actually develop an appreciation for the song - just not the man that ruined it and the ukulele on his way to his fifteen minutes of fame.

Next time somebody sneers and asks you if you can play Tiptoe Through the Tulips try doing so - the original, non-falsetto, non campy version! When they say, "no, that's not it, I meant..." you can explain to them how little they know about music in general and the ukulele in particular. :)

John

When I first got into the uke, my father laughed at me and sarcastically asked me to play tiptoe through the tulips. So I decided to go double negative and I sarcastically played an awful strum pattern on CM7 and sang it in my best Tiny Tim impression (I can sing in falsetto) and he cringed and asked me to stop. He's accepted the uke as a real instrument now and often trawls youtube watching uke videos, and some of them have rekindled his love of the blues. He adores Taimane Gardner too.

Cut the sarcasm with sarcasm, it's a double negative :)

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 05:10 PM
whetu said: "The late, great, John King's work further proves the versatility and capability of the ukulele. Seeso was saying that this critic is a drummer by trade? OK, let's see him arrange Carol of the Bells for the drums *folds arms*

I grabbed this link off ukehunt, it should be John and James playing Larry O’Gaff & Swallowtail Medley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3j-b35zkGw"





I just noticed in the comments on the link you gave that today is the second anniversary of John King's death. Thank you for posting that video. I hadn't ever seen that one before. What a great talent taken away too soon.

Plainsong
04-05-2011, 11:03 AM
I think there's two things going on here. One is that uke players feel ostracized, and are insecure. (I mean generally as group, not any particular person in this thread.) I also think that d-bags like this guy are also insecure. Maybe he's a failed musician. Maybe he fails at life. Who knows? If you're too busy playing, it really doesn't get on your radar.

But OTOH, every instrument gets made fun of. Drummers (a word that is is an insult in itself when it should be percussionist) have jokes about them, bass players have jokes about them, guitar players have jokes about them. Woodwind players have jokes about them, and brass players have jokes about them. If I wrote a blog about how the difference between a bari sax and lawnmower is that you can at least tune the lawnmower, I'm not going to be witchhunted by sax players. Most people will laugh (because it's true), some might groan, and you always have a couple of trolls, but no one is going throw down their instruments in despair. You play what you play. Ya know?

So it's a bit of both. We're too insecure, and he's a poser jerk.

OldePhart
04-05-2011, 11:38 AM
Heh, heh. Plainsong, I can see the direction of this thread possibly changing...

Q. What do you call a dumpster full of bagpipes?
A. A good start.

:biglaugh:

OldePhart
04-05-2011, 11:43 AM
I've recently wondered: where does one get rat's arses in order to give them out? :)

Well...

A few years ago I found myself to be one of the few people at work who hadn't worn a costume for Halloween. One of the gals had brought a cake with little plastic mice all around it. I took one of her meeces and cut it to pieces...well, basically two pieces. I carried the back half around with me all day and whenever anybody asked me why I didn't dress for the occasion I'd pull it out of my pocket and hold it on my open palm without saying anything. Then, after several seconds, and especially if they started to reach for it, I'd snatch it back and put it in my pocket.

The sad thing was how few got it that I was dressed as someone who, "didn't give a rat's arse." What's the world coming to?

John

uke4ia
04-05-2011, 11:49 AM
Heh, heh. Plainsong, I can see the direction of this thread possibly changing...

Q. What do you call a dumpster full of bagpipes?
A. A good start.

:biglaugh:

I heard somewhere that "A true gentleman is a man who knows how to play the bagpipes, and doesn't."

Plainsong
04-05-2011, 03:49 PM
I heard somewhere that "A true gentleman is a man who knows how to play the bagpipes, and doesn't."

My husband brought up a good point that maybe any mando players can argue against: A uke neck is typically comfortable, whether it be large or small. Regardless of the number of strings, they are nylon and won't slice up your fingernails. You can play a wide variety of music, playing to the instrument's strengths and also its weaknesses.

Why then did the mandolin become the Mr. Serious-time small fretted instrument, and not the uke in the first place? Mandolins have cramped necks, lots of strings at a distance from each other that kill your fingers, and if you play what the experts want you to play, your rep will be limited. But if you show up to a jam session with a mandolin, no one laughs, and if it's a uke, everyone laughs.

But the uke is the one of these two that is playable. How did this happen?

This is a paraphrased rant of his when he saw how much nicer a uke could be over his dad's mandolin.

Imagine a world where it's not the uke player that feels ostracized. No, you see them all the time in a wide variety of bands playing just about anything that can be played, being the discant part to the guitars and basses and keyboards.

But instead it's the poor mandolin players, wishing they were taken seriously.

----------

As for sound, I have nothing against the instrument, and of course nothing against anyone who plays one. It's just one of those things. And you probably won't see mandolin players hunting me down over it.... I don't think? :)

olgoat52
04-07-2011, 09:47 AM
Check this out!!. I don't know where to begin. He is so off base.

http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-03-31/attention-indie-rock-no-ukes-84433#

philpot
04-07-2011, 09:58 AM
Check this out!!. I don't know where to begin. He is so off base.

http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-03-31/attention-indie-rock-no-ukes-84433#

Let him be... there will always be people like him. We can only hope he discovers the magic of the uke someday ;)

Skottoman
04-07-2011, 10:03 AM
The article means nothing. I did have a laugh at his photo though.
Cheers,
Skottoman

ukulelecowboy
04-07-2011, 10:05 AM
Here's a whole thread on the issue...

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?44694-An-article-slamming-the-uke-calling-ukuleles-quot-the-lamest-of-all-time-quot

hoosierhiver
04-07-2011, 10:07 AM
Poor guy, I guess everyone needs some attention.

Tudorp
04-07-2011, 10:14 AM
The article means nothing. I did have a laugh at his photo though.
Cheers,
Skottoman

I heard that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am no looker, but damn, when someone that looks like such a dork tries to explain to me what is cool and what is not, I can not help but spit milk out of my nose laughing..

Just sayin.

cb56
04-07-2011, 01:31 PM
I heard that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am no looker, but damn, when someone that looks like such a dork tries to explain to me what is cool and what is not, I can not help but spit milk out of my nose laughing..

Just sayin.

ROFL!!!!
Great post.
Hey some folks just don't get it and that's ok with me. Their loss.

DeVineGuitars
04-07-2011, 02:12 PM
I heard that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am no looker, but damn, when someone that looks like such a dork tries to explain to me what is cool and what is not, I can not help but spit milk out of my nose laughing..

Just sayin.
I wasn't even going to waist my time clicking on the link (that's what "those" people want us to do) but I had to at least see the picture after Tudorp's post. Glad I did, made my day just a little brighter!

olgoat52
04-07-2011, 06:44 PM
Let him be... there will always be people like him. We can only hope he discovers the magic of the uke someday ;)

I'd let him be if I didn't have to hear him every week on NPR here in Chicago. On top of that he is a hometown boy. Sorry, a little to close to home.

If you have listened to his show, you realize he really is that arrogant. How he got a co-host to tolerate him is beyond me.

Thanks to who ever moved my post to this thread. Sorry i was so "behind the times".

olgoat52
04-07-2011, 06:46 PM
James Hill. Roy Smeck. Cliff Edwards. Lyle Ritz. Herb Ohta. I realize that two of these are long dead, but they do kind of prove the "ukulele is a REAL instrument" point.

The uke began it's latest resurgence in the mid 90's and that was well before Jake. I didn't see Troy Fernandez in the list..

olgoat52
04-07-2011, 06:50 PM
Just because the guy has an opinion that you donīt agree with doesnīt mean that the logic behind that opinion can be found in his career or his hobbies or his dress shirts or his hubcaps or his favorite dog breeds. "Oh he doesnīt like the ukulele because heīs a muuuuusic critic, the pompous moron." How much sense does that make? Opinions are just...opinions. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes the sound of a ukulele. I took up the uke because it was impossible for me to take seriously, and I am somewhat dismayed by how self-important the whole uke scene is becoming. Itīs just a ukulele! It does not define you! Itīs supposed to be fun, not a call to arms!

Sure it's fun and beautiful at the same time. It doesn't always have to be taken seriously, but it can be great when it it.. Case in point.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3j-b35zkGw&feature=player_embedded

cb56
04-08-2011, 01:30 AM
Wow! That video is inspirational. Must go practice now!