Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

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Throng
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Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:30 pm

The Tao which can be named is not the true Tao.

Prince's symbol blends the separate masculine and feminine icons into one symbolic form, and it represents "The artist formerly known as Prince", which was how he was referred to at that time. This was subsequently shortened to "the artist".

Image

This aspect of being 'known' interests me - how the narrative surrounding me has my as its centre. I didn't name myself, and whatever conversation my parents about me articulated the kind of meaning it gave to me. It represented what they wanted me to be like or had a meaning of one sort or another. At my birth the first pronouncement, "it's a boy" wasn't the first true thing said about me. The first knowledge. "It's a boy" was only the first categorisation, preexisting which, was a deep, long discourse into which my sex must be situated as one of two. There is an unbelievabable quantity of meaning in the way that one word, "boy," is gendered, and just by being male, the way I was to be organised as a known entity was, by and large, already written. My destiny prescribed.

I have a boys name for a start. "John is a boy" is taken-to-be-true, but in the depths of self inquiry, what truth is this discursive proposition? The penis makes it true, I guess, and the fact that I lie on one side of the procreative duality more generally.

The narrative that organises sex, "boy" or "girl", is the fundamental basis of the entire discourse used to organise society. Society's first priority is to reproduce itself, and that necessitates biological reproduction, so this biological imperative is the first thing that has to be organised. The whole of social order, the very survival of culture, rests on this one question: "is it a boy or a girl?" And this is the primary data that underpins the means by which a 'person' is known. Type boy/Type girl.

When Prince merged these two types into one un-pronounceable symbol that represented himself, sexlessness also became nameless. The true Tao. Prince became "formally known as...", but currently unknown. This disrupted everything. People didn't know what to call him, and no such character existed as text by which to centralise discourse. There was so much to say, nut no referential basis by which to cohere it, and when the central cog of the spinning discursive wheel was removed, the spokes narrative flailed about pointlessly as the crux of the power in knowledge, the 'gendername' evaporated.

As the Tao Te Ching suggest, only that which is not-true can be named, and all that is said refers to the name.
Last edited by Throng on Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:16 pm

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:26 pm

Actually, Prince's name change was just a way of avoiding contractual obligations with Warner Bros. He was having a contract dispute with them, and he wanted to release material while sorting that out.

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Throng
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:37 am

Terrapin Station wrote:Actually, Prince's name change was just a way of avoiding contractual obligations with Warner Bros. He was having a contract dispute with them, and he wanted to release material while sorting that out.
Yes, it came about as a form of rebellion against 'enslavement' to the recording industry, "Prince" being a brand owned by Warner Brothers, and the subject, Prince, being controlled as a discursive subject through contracts.

I claim that the strategy was effective not because the symbol reduced the name to silence, but because it blended genders, leaving no sex-object to be named. The absence of a sex is more than the silent name. The name merely references the subject known as 'A boy' ("Prince" being definitively masculine) in order to perpetuate the name of the father as the fundamental structure of patriarchal society ("Prince" was also his father's stage name).

Speaking of stage names, The Love Symbol was literally his stage-name.

Image

By blending genders in the symbol, Prince cut out the core of the subject narrative "it's a boy", and by so doing subverted social discourse at it's most primal origin. On the surface we only see the removal of the name, but this symbol operates at the deepest possible level, subtle and unnoticed, by removing any reference to the subject 'it'. The power of that strategy was not effective because of what is obvious to see. The power operated at the level of its invisibility, which no one ever noticed at all, by removing the very first sentence upon which the rest of social narrative is founded.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:41 pm

Throng wrote:Yes, it came about as a form of rebellion against 'enslavement' to the recording industry, "Prince" being a brand owned by Warner Brothers, and the subject, Prince, being controlled as a discursive subject through contracts.
LOL, no it was far more mundane than that. And the name Prince wasn't owned by Warner Bros. Prince was under contract and was in a contract dispute. The symbol (well, or just another name) was simply a legal necessity for releasing music outside of that contract.

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Throng
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:31 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:Yes, it came about as a form of rebellion against 'enslavement' to the recording industry, "Prince" being a brand owned by Warner Brothers, and the subject, Prince, being controlled as a discursive subject through contracts.
LOL, no it was far more mundane than that. And the name Prince wasn't owned by Warner Bros. Prince was under contract and was in a contract dispute. The symbol (well, or just another name) was simply a legal necessity for releasing music outside of that contract.
It was much more subtle than the obvious appearance, and the reason it was an effective strategy was due to how it operated invisibly.

It was Prince's view that his name was more a brand owned by Warner Brothers than it was his own name. The question was who owned the music, Prince or "Prince". The discursive structure of contract and law uses "Prince" to obligate Prince, to gain rights to the masters and dictate what is released and when to perform. The use of the symbol didn't free Prince from "Prince". He was still bound by contract anyway. The symbol did something else which people weren't aware of, and it's because they didn't even notice it happening that it worked.

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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:40 pm

Throng wrote:The question was who owned the music, Prince or "Prince".
What are you using for a source for that?

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Throng
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:37 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:The question was who owned the music, Prince or "Prince".
What are you using for a source for that?
Anyone. There's at least 100 with any google search. It's unfortunate that there is much available in proper music journals, but Steigler (2009) says:

During his dispute with Warner Brothers, Prince at times implied
a wider movement, an insurgency of artists against the corporate record
industry. Speaking to an English journalist in 1995, Prince mused, “The
concept of ownership of music by record companies is senseless. Like,
you know the singer Seal? He’s a wonderful talent, but how do I go about
telling him and all the other brothers about the battle that we have to fight,
when I don’t own my music?” (Paphides). In such statements, Prince widens
the scope of his own conflict with the industry in an attempt to fashion a
collective movement. “The Exodus Has Begun” from 1995’s Exodus makes
this point explicit.


...draws connections to American slavery, such
as performing in shackles and the double entendre involved in telling Ebony
that “If you don’t own your masters, the master owns you” (Norment). The
powerful emotions attached to slavery and the Civil Rights movement are
such that the rhetorical appropriation of these historical moments is difficult
to separate from their original connotations. That is, in constructing and
enacting his slave persona, Prince was simply unable to wrestle away the
tropes of “master” and “slave” from their deeply sedimented linguistic and
cultural value. By building upon the imagery and rhetoric of slavery and
the Civil Rights movement, Prince engages in a strategic essentialism to
articulate his dispute with Warner Brothers.


Stiegler, Z. (2009)."“Slave 2 the System”: Prince and the Strategic Performance of Slavery". Journal of Popular Music Studies, 21(2), 213–239

"No one can come and claim ownership of my work. I am the creator of it, and it lives within me." ~ Prince
Last edited by Throng on Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:45 am

Throng wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:The question was who owned the music, Prince or "Prince".
What are you using for a source for that?
Anyone. There's at least 100 with any google search. It's unfortunate that there is much available in proper music journals, but Steigler (2009) says:

During his dispute with Warner Brothers, Prince at times implied
a wider movement, an insurgency of artists against the corporate record
industry. Speaking to an English journalist in 1995, Prince mused, “The
concept of ownership of music by record companies is senseless. Like,
you know the singer Seal? He’s a wonderful talent, but how do I go about
telling him and all the other brothers about the battle that we have to fight,
when I don’t own my music?” (Paphides). In such statements, Prince widens
the scope of his own conflict with the industry in an attempt to fashion a
collective movement. “The Exodus Has Begun” from 1995’s Exodus makes
this point explicit.


...draws connections to American slavery, such
as performing in shackles and the double entendre involved in telling Ebony
that “If you don’t own your masters, the master owns you” (Norment). The
powerful emotions attached to slavery and the Civil Rights movement are
such that the rhetorical appropriation of these historical moments is difficult
to separate from their original connotations. That is, in constructing and
enacting his slave persona, Prince was simply unable to wrestle away the
tropes of “master” and “slave” from their deeply sedimented linguistic and
cultural value. By building upon the imagery and rhetoric of slavery and
the Civil Rights movement, Prince engages in a strategic essentialism to
articulate his dispute with Warner Brothers.


Stiegler, Z. (2009)."“Slave 2 the System”: Prince and the Strategic Performance of Slavery". Journal of Popular Music Studies, 21(2), 213–239
How about a source for "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Pince'?"--and in the context of this particular WB dispute?

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Throng
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:33 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:What are you using for a source for that?
Anyone. There's at least 100 with any google search. It's unfortunate that there is much available in proper music journals, but Steigler (2009) says:

During his dispute with Warner Brothers, Prince at times implied
a wider movement, an insurgency of artists against the corporate record
industry. Speaking to an English journalist in 1995, Prince mused, “The
concept of ownership of music by record companies is senseless. Like,
you know the singer Seal? He’s a wonderful talent, but how do I go about
telling him and all the other brothers about the battle that we have to fight,
when I don’t own my music?” (Paphides). In such statements, Prince widens
the scope of his own conflict with the industry in an attempt to fashion a
collective movement. “The Exodus Has Begun” from 1995’s Exodus makes
this point explicit.


...draws connections to American slavery, such
as performing in shackles and the double entendre involved in telling Ebony
that “If you don’t own your masters, the master owns you” (Norment). The
powerful emotions attached to slavery and the Civil Rights movement are
such that the rhetorical appropriation of these historical moments is difficult
to separate from their original connotations. That is, in constructing and
enacting his slave persona, Prince was simply unable to wrestle away the
tropes of “master” and “slave” from their deeply sedimented linguistic and
cultural value. By building upon the imagery and rhetoric of slavery and
the Civil Rights movement, Prince engages in a strategic essentialism to
articulate his dispute with Warner Brothers.


Stiegler, Z. (2009)."“Slave 2 the System”: Prince and the Strategic Performance of Slavery". Journal of Popular Music Studies, 21(2), 213–239
How about a source for "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Pince'?"--and in the context of this particular WB dispute?
I explained that Prince's view was that "Prince" had become more a brand owned by WB than it was his own name. When I say owned by "Prince" I mean how ownership is transferred to WB through the discursive construct, "Prince", which is symbolic of masculinity, and hence the whole social narrative of persona. Then I provided some sort of socially sanctioned knowledge with all the formal citations because that is how the knowledge game works.

The strategy didn't operate at a mundane level. The mundane level is merely the gross aspect constituted by a myriad of subtler and subtler elements. The Love Symbol strategy extended beyond the image itself to pervaded social discourse on several levels. The gears of marketing were jammed, the media scrambled to find correct verbiage, and it fundamentally disrupted things at the level of how 'a person' is identified or even imagined. Rather than a code which conformed to discourse (primarily as a 'boy name' and literally the name of the father) - the Love Symbol made the whole story silent.

The Love Symbol reflected him as an artist in the sense that whenever anyone wanted to claim him as an known artifact, male, female, gay, transgender - and other identities he performed, he'd next appear as a cock rock giutar God or perhaps in a yellow lace onesie exposing his perky little butt cheeks. He couldn't be nailed down in gender, race, politics, genre or in other ways.

They lost power over him primarily because in the silence of his name he escaped the confinement of the 'known subject'. Professor Rebecca Sheehan put it: "In a typically paradoxical Prince move, this confirms his genius as a master of elusion. Perhaps this is his enduring act of resistance: when we reach for him, he slips away." (https://theconversation.com/an-elusive- ... sire-58274)

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:13 pm

Throng wrote:
How about a source for "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Pince'?"--and in the context of this particular WB dispute?
I explained . . .
So you're saying that "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Prince'" is your original work instead?

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Throng
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:34 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:
How about a source for "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Pince'?"--and in the context of this particular WB dispute?
I explained . . .
So you're saying that "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Prince'" is your original work instead?

It's the way I phrased it.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:54 pm

Throng wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:
I explained . . .
So you're saying that "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Prince'" is your original work instead?

It's the way I phrased it.
Right. What I can't figure out is how the way that you phrased it would map to what the suit was about, to comments that Prince had made, etc.

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Throng
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Throng » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:21 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:So you're saying that "Who owns the music, Prince or 'Prince'" is your original work instead?

It's the way I phrased it.
Right. What I can't figure out is how the way that you phrased it would map to what the suit was about, to comments that Prince had made, etc.
I thought I just clarified that.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Prince's symbol: The disruption of social narrative.

Post by Terrapin Station » Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:11 pm

Throng wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
Throng wrote:

It's the way I phrased it.
Right. What I can't figure out is how the way that you phrased it would map to what the suit was about, to comments that Prince had made, etc.
I thought I just clarified that.
Well, when you say this for example, "I explained that Prince's view was that "Prince" had become more a brand owned by WB than it was his own name." let's see a quote from Prince about that.

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