“I need suggestions for learning to play while making it as difficult as possible.”

Or was that “learning to play by ear?”

Followed by its close cousin: “I want to be completely incapable and mute on my instrument unless someone else has told me what to say.” Also known as, “I don’t want to learn to play by ear at all.”

By the way, you must pick one! One and only one! No, you can’t have both! We need to know which of two mutually hostile camps you’re in before we can tell whether you’re One Of Us or not. Eff music — what really matters is whether you’re star-bellied or not, according to some stupid polarity that doesn’t even exist but that we’re all agreed to pretend does for the sake of having some plain-bellies around to look down on. Music? That’s just our excuse for looking down on somebody.

I’ve stopped making arguments in favor of the absolute necessity of learning to do both. Those on opposite sides of a fence want the fence there because it’s the perfect excuse for a fight, and when there is no fence, they will spontaneously generate one. Sometimes it reminds me of the old fights I’d see on Usenet: “The Enterprise versus a Star Destroyer.” “The Enterprise versus ET.” “The Enterprise versus the Smurfs.” “The Enterprise versus God.” Finally, someone just pushed it over into a stupidity that was perceptible to the people inventing these fakefights and wound up with “The Enterprise versus Ditka.” A case could be made that that was least stupid of all: at least Mike Ditka exists.

That’s all this nonsense is. The truth is that both are absolutely necessary. “But which one is MORE absolutely necessary?” Both are sine qua non.

“But which is MORE sine qua non?”

*heavy sigh*

People want fights. Where there is no reason for one, they will invent one. People also want hierarchy, and where there is none, they will create one — even though it’s blatantly stupid.

Shut up and play.