Critical Fandom for the Blogosphere "Pop music has for decades possessed the power to transport the human spirit and to serve as a vehicle for the transcendence that we seek." --Bill Friskics-Warren


Wear Black!

It’s not exactly an original fashion statement—but one I return to again and again. It started in high school as a not-so-subtle diversion from my brief days as a prep and a jock. It began with late nights sneaking into smoke-filled clubs to listen to raw, rebellious, raunchy rock.

It started then and never stopped. I still wear black. For a protest, as a statement, for formality, as a uniform, for a job, to hide the food stains.
In music, it’s everywhere, from Green Day to Coldplay. Black provides a somber uniform that unites punks and goths and God-fearing rockers. It’s back, like an AC-DC album title or a Rolling Stone lyric, “I see a red door, and . . . .”

From black armbands during ‘Nam to the militant anarchist black block in Seattle to the silent and pacifist Women in Black (WIB) that started in the Middle East, protesters love black. A statement that never loses style. WIB write, “
Participants in vigils wear black as a sign of mourning for all that is lost through war and violence. Through this calm and dignified, but still visual and telling way of protesting, we hope to inspire pacifists in many countries.”

Today, on the occasion of the new Johnny Cash fictional, filmic biography, I turn to the notorious man in black for inspiration. He reminds us why in his legendary lyrics for “Man in Black”:

Man in Black

Johnny Cash

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.
Creating more Critical Fandom.

Welcome to Babyrain Dance, a new blog, with a title based on two fanzines I worked on once upon a time, before the Internet, back in the 1980s.

With music as a focus, this blog will embrace a construct known as "critical fandom," an idea once dsecribed by a devotee of Xena Studies as
"a constant battle for truth, justice" where we "persist in the battle against the Behemoth of Commercialism."

This hybrid will hopefully combine the intelligence of analysis and critique often expected from academics and journalists with the honest love and admiration for bands and songs the distinguishes fandom from the profit-driven demons of the mainstream publishing world.