I think the point about not wanting to look stupid (or be accused of racism) is a good one. But one point I made, which I think is important, is that indie rock comes out of punk/DIY (while also taking Beatles/Dylan as models--as he says), which is generally oppositional toward what was seen as commercial pop. With the rise of hip hop as the most visible popular black music, these two tendencies combine to give us a lineage of artists that basically don't engage with much contemporary black music. Thirty years of that [sic!] this, and here we are. Now that indie rock bands have lost some of their antipathy toward pop, it is still in the context of 30 years of avoiding it. Etc.Well, today in Slate, Carl "Zoilus" Wilson has an excellent response to it, far and away the best I've seen, better even than the original article. Carl makes some of the same points I made, and a lot more. One area in particular he focuses on is class:
Ultimately, though, the "trouble with indie rock" may have far more to do with another post-Reagan social shift, one with even less upside than the black-white story, and that's the widening gap between rich and poor. There is no question on which side most indie rock falls. It's a cliche to picture indie musicians and fans as well-off "hipsters" busily gentrifying neighborhoods, but compared to previous post-punk generations, the particular kind of indie rock Frere-Jones complains about is more blatantly upper-middle class and liberal-arts-college-based, and less self-aware or politicized about it.Read the whole thing.