I received an interesting comment on the John North Wright post, and, as it is not the first such comment we've received here, I thought I'd not just let it hide as a post comment, but turn it into a post of it's own, as I believe the commenter probably speaks for many, and I'm sure some of you would like to chime in as well.
radioman said: "I can see the appeal of this kind of stuff, yet, at the same time, it feels almost as if one is back in the 1700s, laughing at the inmates in the asylum. In some respects, that guilty feeling is ameliorated by knowing that, since he's dead, he isn't aware that we're poking sticks though the bars of his cage.
Keep up the good work. Sort of."
I responded: "Hi radioman, I understand your ambivalence towards this kind of outsider music, but I, and plenty of other readers of this blog, really, genuinely appreciate the honest nature of this kind of music - it challenges the idea that "real" music (music suitable for review/criticism) is only made by professionals who are often only interested in making it in showbiz, becoming stars, glorifying their egos, etc. As opposed to the likes of Wright who appear to have more pure motives. As Lee Ashcroft wrote in the Bernie Sizzey post, they make music because they HAVE to.
Sure, there may be a freak-show aspect, but it's deeper than that - I find it fascinating to peak into the brains of those who are otherwise invisible to our homogenous culture. Also: These people have often been lonely and alienated throughout their lives, and it means a lot to them to have people finally listening to them.
Hearing someone come from out of left field and approach music from a completely fresh, unaffected perspective can be a delight, in contrast to the predictability of "normal" music, even in the so-called alternative world. There's no denying that it can be a little disturbing at times, but it can also humanize the kind of people we might otherwise turn away from.
That's a lot to chew on, ultimately making it all a lot more rewarding than tossing another coin into Lady Gaga's bank account."
Thanks to radioman for forcing me to sit down and spell out the philosophy of this here web-log!