Monday, June 18, 2012


Context is a wonderful thing.  Conversely, the lack of it can be really dangerous.

Even though we're able to pop on YouTube and check out a video of a group or a style or a song, how much context comes with it?

What if you see a taiko group of eight people perform that's all of Caucasians?  It's easy to judge the group for "wanting to be Japanese" or "they don't play real taiko" or any other sorts of garbage like that.  Maybe the Asian players in the group just aren't in that performance?  We've had performances that were all guys, but does it mean our group is devoid of women?  No... 

You might also see a group perform that doesn't have much "skill" on stage.  Do you know why they play, however?  Maybe they play for fun or for their community or for empowerment, and "skill" isn't a priority for them.

What if you observe a top-notch group being lazy off stage?  Does it mean they're not any good?  Of course that's not the case.  You saw an aspect of what they're like but it doesn't define them.  You know the context in that case and so you can make an informed decision.

It's easy to say what you like and what you don't, but when you say a group is "good" or "bad" based off of limited exposure, ultimately it says more about you than the group you're judging..  On top of that, if you make those kind of snap judgements, it's only fair when other people make the same about you and/or your group.  And who wants that?

You don't have to pretend to like something you don't, but just acknowledge when you don't know enough to know who a person or a group or a style is.  Rush to judgement enough times and people will label you - context or not!

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