I am writing today to take issue with this tweet from Line of Best Fit! What could be wrong with this, I hear you cry!
Well, scroll down for some pointless, pathetic, directionless irritation & a polite request.
So, what’s the problem?
The headline decentralises Bridgers in the story of her own art.
It uses her name & image to promote a related thing – fine – but relegates her to a bit-part-player in order to do it.
Is Olof Grind “the mastermind behind…” or “the photographer who took…” ?
The article itself opens with the latter, but the headline chooses the former, a different, stronger, more powerful sentence, that just happens to create a victim, a smaller party, an associate.
There’s a word for that. ‘Clickbait’.
Just another article about a bloke who took once a photo that now made a record? Dull, they’re ten a penny.
An article where it turns out that a bloke came up with and executed the whole thing that we thought had something to do with Bridgers? BETTER!
That’s called clickbait & I’m here to call Line Of Best Fit out on this d4ily m4il-like behaviour.
The headline uses rhetoric to sell the article, which is what journalists have to do, but in this case, can you see how the rhetoric creates a conflict in just one word? Bridgers is gently, subtly decentralised in the story of her own art.
She’s shifted from the centre of the frame of a photograph of herself.
The article itself is fascinating, detailed, interesting and I want to listen to the record. All good.
And does Bridgers need defending from this? Not at all.
And are Line of Best Fit the enemy, the worst at this? Nope. They’re a great place to discover excellent new music and have high standards of journalistic integrity. I recommend them highly. I care & that’s why I’m saying this.
The website runs with:
“Luminous Kid steps into his own with debut ‘at the end of the dream‘” & the article itself headlines with “Luminous Kid: A Phoebe Bridgers Protege?”
They are both great! We need to mention Bridgers, of course. And this is a good news story, a bunch of people made a bunch of cool stuff. Protege actually promotes Bridgers, implies she found this less well known bloke & gave him a leg up, she’s the boss, if he’s a protege. Cool.
But, see, the tweet things it differently, spins the story as a vaguer, dusty oppositional narrative. So 99% of this article is top quality journalism & I hate criticising it, but clickbaity headlines is a creeping, insidious trend that inflicts actual damage on real people, close to me & ones I don’t know & when I see it, I will say it. Even when it’s a friend, like Line of Best Fit. Please try a little harder.
My call out is, check yourself. Tiny things. Defensible things. If you put someone down that you don’t need to, frame a piece of art in opposition to another piece when it is inherently not, create false conflict or gently mislead in order to create a more compelling debate, then maybe, there’s a another way. Olof Grind is a fantastic photographer who shot some genuinely iconic pictures in collaboration with a hugely important artist. You can make that a good headline. I know you can.
If someone called me the mastermind behind a picture I’d taken of a solo female, I’d be upset & so this is pre-emptive. Don’t do it. It’s a collaboration. You can praise me without marginalising her. Please, music journalists, try to do that.
Call me a fragile snowflake leftie woke ponce, no problem, I don’t care what you say. Seriously, I’ve heard it all before, it’s water off the wings of a duck. But I have time, a platform & a cause, however small, however pathetic it might seem.
Do you need to denigrate one artist to promote what another is doing? No. Are you accidentally doing it? Maybe, yep. So check yourself. Watch out for it. Work harder. You’re important, music journalists, what you do matters to musicians & photographers, we need you & you need us and I want the world to work this way.
Please be careful with things that people make.