This is very much in tune with the times when individuals have no real agency, but are mere consequences of "cultural" influences. When everything is relative except the "truth" of white privilege. When everything is to be understood in terms of prejudicially-defined collectives.All cultures contain within them many subcultures, with one cultural dimension often dominant. When one is a member of the dominant culture, that person enjoys particular power and privileges, including the freedom to not have to consider other perspectives. My friend has enjoyed the privilege of not having to consider that there are people in the world that don't have the same relationship to music, food, art, or culture that he does. He has the privilege of not being forced to consider perspectives that are not his own.Here's what my friend did not consider: He grew up a white middle-class male in the 70s and 80s, to parents who grew up on the Beatles and were immensely influenced by them and other rock and roll bands. I grew up a Puerto Rican lower-class male in the 80s whose parents played guajira, salsa, and Motown/classic R&B/soul growing up. My ears had grown up hearing syncopation, multi-chordal harmonies, diverse percussion, horns, and groove-oriented rhythm sections. The Beatles CDs I listened to were classic rock, non-syncopated, guitar- and drum-dominated, and rhythmically and harmonically simpler. The type of music that he grew up listening to and loving was quite simply different from mine. It was neither better nor worse. Only different. My friend, caught in his ethnocentric blindness, could not grasp that somebody would have a different experience and values from him.
Just a few striking errors in the second paragraph about the music: white middle-class people in the 70s and 80s (and 60s and 90s for that matter) were very familiar with Motown/classic R&B/soul, if less familiar with salsa (unless they sought it out). The vast majority of songs by the Beatles contain syncopation, multi-chordal harmonies (I think he means "multi-voice"), diverse percussion, horn and sure, groove-oriented rhythm sections. The Beatles are "classic" in the sense of being very good examples of 60s music, but not in the sense of "typical" rock which is implied here. Saying that their music is non-syncopated means either that you haven't listened to it or you don't know what those words mean. Yes, guitar and drum-oriented, but often with the addition of other instruments such as harmonica, flute, horn, electric piano, etc. But anyone who states that the Beatles' music is rhythmically and harmonically simpler than salsa or guajira (which Wikipedia describes as "a musical form which evokes a rural ambience in its texts, instrumentation and style") simply either has not listened to it or lacks listening skills.
This kind of article is so astonishingly wrong, but astonishingly pervasive these days, that I think it is worth making a fuss over. Dr. Rodriguez is like a man with a hammer who sees everything as a nail to be hit. His specialties are "issues of power dynamics and identity." Therefore, for him, everything is about these topics. For me, this is a mistaken approach based on mistaken assumptions, but leaving all that to one side, he accuses his friend, who seems to have gone to great lengths to introduce him to the Beatles, of making a personal attack on him:
As is perfectly obvious from the text, Dr. Rodriguez made no real attempt to assess the music of the Beatles:My friend did not stop with curiosity to ask what about the Beatles did not appeal to me. Instead, because he could not consider a different perspective, he had to dismiss that other perspective as faulty. As a result, he made a reductive comment about my character.
So, he decided that the Beatles were simply not for him. OK, but he decided this after the first two albums? These were Please Please Me and With the Beatles and while they were certainly strikingly original and intense in the context of the day, I think that anyone would agree that basing an aesthetic evaluation of the Beatles based on them would be like basing an aesthetic evaluation of Beethoven on his Op 2 piano sonatas. Nice yes, but hardly indicative of his Symphony No. 5.
What is blindingly obvious here is that Dr. Rodriguez' methodology is based on, yes, "issues of power dynamics and identity" which prevent him from anything like an objective assessment of any music. Everything is either going to be part of his sub-culture and hence valid just because of that or, not part of his sub-culture and therefore oppressive somehow, especially if part of the dominant culture.
And the horrific truth is that whole generations are being taught to think in this and no other way. I think if you set out to destroy civilization root and branch you could not do it more effectively.
So yes, feel free to hate the Beatles, but try to do so for musical reasons, not just because you have a collectivist ideology.