Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Auto-Tune, leave this town

In response to the worried commentary of Spencer Ackerman, who thinks we are out to take over the culture, comes the following post from my esteemed CNAS colleague Christine Parthemore, chief of the institution’s shadowy but powerful Department of Punk.  Commentators and experts from around the country have called for the extermination of Auto-Tune, as ...

584110_090702_autotune2.jpg
584110_090702_autotune2.jpg

In response to the worried commentary of Spencer Ackerman, who thinks we are out to take over the culture, comes the following post from my esteemed CNAS colleague Christine Parthemore, chief of the institution's shadowy but powerful Department of Punk. 

Commentators and experts from around the country have called for the extermination of Auto-Tune, as if the creative path of popular music is so easy to deter, its favored technologies so simple to contain. One Beltway journalist and blogger now contends that our organization, the Center for a New American Security, should put our brainpower to the critical national challenge of sculpting just such a plan, as if Auto-Tune is the new Soviet Union, and as if we have found ourselves in a cultural Cold War.

This suggestion is based on a misunderstanding of the pragmatic, reasoned approach CNAS brings to all of its work. While we do not take institutional positions, I can affirm after a healthy debate that many of my colleagues agree that while the over-use of Auto-Tune should be walked back to a status of minimal but strategic, calculated use, a sweeping call for its death represents just the kind of un-nuanced policy which we attempt in all our work to counterbalance.  Do we call for the mass destruction of guitars because of Daughtry? No, we don't. Certainly Jamie Foxx et al.'s performance at this week's BET Awards argues for a measured approach to this issue."

In response to the worried commentary of Spencer Ackerman, who thinks we are out to take over the culture, comes the following post from my esteemed CNAS colleague Christine Parthemore, chief of the institution’s shadowy but powerful Department of Punk. 

Commentators and experts from around the country have called for the extermination of Auto-Tune, as if the creative path of popular music is so easy to deter, its favored technologies so simple to contain. One Beltway journalist and blogger now contends that our organization, the Center for a New American Security, should put our brainpower to the critical national challenge of sculpting just such a plan, as if Auto-Tune is the new Soviet Union, and as if we have found ourselves in a cultural Cold War.

This suggestion is based on a misunderstanding of the pragmatic, reasoned approach CNAS brings to all of its work. While we do not take institutional positions, I can affirm after a healthy debate that many of my colleagues agree that while the over-use of Auto-Tune should be walked back to a status of minimal but strategic, calculated use, a sweeping call for its death represents just the kind of un-nuanced policy which we attempt in all our work to counterbalance.  Do we call for the mass destruction of guitars because of Daughtry? No, we don’t. Certainly Jamie Foxx et al.’s performance at this week’s BET Awards argues for a measured approach to this issue.”

Auto-Tune doesn’t kill music, people kill music.

Marcelo Vejar G./Flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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