I was buying some concert tickets today online, and was asked the following:
I had to take a snapshot because it so nicely encapsulates the whole spirit of genre: a device that can accelerate communication. The form is sparse but exceptionally pregnant with meaning; and if I wasn’t careful, I would be stuck for hours debating the significance of what repercussions a check might bring.
To check a box or not involves thinking about the kinds of social negotiations I enjoy or not, and what I am willing to do. Will I live to regret a check? Looking at these labels as only indicating the kinds of acoustic characteristics to which I might be subjected would place the physical ahead of the mental, or myself sensing over my social being. Each checkbox with its label precipitates for me expectations of how I and others will behave, how I will interpret, judge, remember and talk about the event, how I will prepare for it, use it, and what I could take away.
Thankfully, I was momentarily freed from this all by noticing a way out: do not tick “Via Email” above; but then I thought of a pernicious thing: what if I ticked “Via Email” but made no selections? Would I be presumed haphazard? Interested in everything? Unexperienced? A bot? Or, dead? Would they then cancel my tickets, but take my payment as my final donation? Tick or not, there are consequences to the act of selection.
The safest way out then appears to be to tick “Via Email” above and select “Food & Drink”. It is a human necessity; but that is not normal or typical or even essential food and drink. Not when it is presented in this context, with other choices called “Art” and “Contemporary.” Selecting “Food & Drink” brings expectations of nibbles and wine, high tables of the circular sort, shmoozing and donating. I simply can’t afford that.
Should I tick everything instead of “Food & Drink”, then? Let’s take off “Literature & Spoken Word” because I know very little about that. (I have read my Hesse, but that was long ago when I was in my young phase.) Though I am a university Lecturer, I don’t know what “Education/Interact” means. And “Family” is not compatible with the kind of social participation I currently have. “Film” and “Comedy” would be fun, as would “Folk”; but I haven’t the time I think it deserves. Plus, this is the UK, and there are many words I don’t understand in normal conversation that I might not get much out of “Comedy.”
That leaves “Classical”, “Jazz”, “Contemporary”, “World”, “Dance” and “Art”. Those genres seem right. I have experience with those. I am comfortable being in those. They are for me, among those listed, the genres in which I am most literate.
And wouldn’t you know it, by that point the page timed out, and I had to re-enter all my damn credit card details again. I hate that.