“smart people listen to radiohead, dumb people listen to beyonce”


“let’s just conveniently conflate correlation with causation, while simultaneously neglecting any consideration for larger cultural forces that also happen to define what kind of music you like. hey, remember–you listen to beethoven and radiohead if you’re smart, not because listening to white-people music and having white-people tastes is a white-people privilege.”

yes, the caltech phd student who originally published the “study,” if it can even be called that, says he’s aware that correlation doesn’t mean causation. still, if you publish your casually pseudoscientific facebook data under the title “music that makes you dumb“, it’s your fault if readers have never taken a statistics class and misinterpret your work.

this student project has been reported and spread by no less than thirty mainstream news sources, including the guardian, the wall street journal, the washington post, and the new yorker, illustrating the major problem with spreadable media: spreadable media, too, has media effects, and when what we spread is not simply brainless but perpetuating of implicit value judgments on culturally-associated musical tastes in the golden name of “science,” we need to take a good hard look at the issues at hand.

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