Psst. Wanna know a secret? People hate me.
Well, to be sure, not all people. And in fact, the ones who think they hate me don't really hate me. They hate my opinions.
Sometimes, I'm hated for my political views, mostly online by people I've never met. But every now and then, I feel the heat of inflamed passions for an opinion about music that I've expressed here, in the Free Press.
S'okay. I've got a thick skin, and while bullets may penetrate my hide, angry brickbats - of the spoken or written variety - do not. Anyway, I know I sometimes ruffle readers' feathers. (Although not that often, I think. It seems to me what I write in this space is only rarely controversial.)
But this got me to thinking the other day. In an opinion-saturated world, where a typical book or film may generate 700 user reviews on Amazon, and Facebook drips with memes for every persuasion, what is the value of a column like this?
Ultimately, that is a question that must be answered by others. But here's what I hope this column brings to the party:
I hope that it grounds its opinions - even the ones that really tick you off - in a historical context. It's great to love music. It's even greater to understand that no song, no record and no video exists in a vacuum, that everything we enjoy in our culture today grew in the ashes of what came before, and that no creator, no matter how amazing and groundbreaking, sprang full-grown from Zeus' forehead, but instead was taught, nurtured and mentored by other artists along the way.
I hope that you can find a well-turned phrase in this column every so often. You know the old saying about opinions - that they're like a certain part of the human anatomy in that everyone's got one and thinks everyone else's stinks. But not every opinion is gracefully voiced. (And no doubt, that goes for more than a few expressed here!) There are times when the way a message is couched is nearly as important as the content of that message. I hope that in this space, you'll find the couches at least occasionally comfy.
The bottom line is: I hope this column sometimes causes you to ponder questions previously unpondered. I believe it's impossible to make another human being think, but you can sometimes solicit consideration, and it would please me to believe that, every once in awhile, you find your engraved invitation to the philosophical barbecue here, even if Craven is at that very moment skewering the cow you hold sacred.
Craven Lovelace produces Notes, a daily cultural history of popular music, for KAFM 88.1 Community Radio, kafmradio.org. You can visit cravenlovelace.com for more of his musings on the world of popular culture.