Monday, December 9, 2013

Symphonic collapse

The rot within popular culture has been complained about since at least the 1960s.  If the Roling Stones (who I like) are exemplars at the lower end of the spectrum, the upper end of the spectrum, the concert symphony is also under attack.

The Last Symphony
Johne Halle, Jacobin 27 November 2013 (hat tip: NC)

Doug Henwood is not the first to observe  that the American empire has entered a decadent phase.  He is, however, among the few to focus his attention on how the “social rot produced by market-regulated societies, from the macro level of investment down to the socially shaped psychology (has begun to dictate) how we think and feel.” Henwood is right to wonder “how the imperium can long survive this sort of pervasive rot” as the ideological and cultural foundations on which the bourgeoisie rest, and through which it, at least in part, claims its legitimacy begin to founder.
As if on cue, at about the same time a piece appeared in the house organ of neo-liberalism the New Republic taking aim at an admittedly tiny but nonetheless significant bourgeois institution, classical music instruction, which  middle-class parents, and those striving to move up the class ladder, have imposed on their children as a kind of secular catechism for generations...
It should be obvious that the leisure complement to this now dominant managerial class philosophy could not possibly consist of the sedate, repressed rituals of the classical concert hall. Nor is it a surprise to find the New Republic‘s meritocratic class contributors opining in favor of jettisoning instruction in Mozart sonatas in favor of the three-minute rock tune, campfire singing and ukelele strumming.
As I see the point of the piece, the author is complaining about the idea that there is no point to any discipline in behavior unless it is related to some sort of business interest.


PioneerPreppy said...

My bet is there are thousands of kids that would sigh in relief over this change though. Even 50 years ago no child wanted to sit through those instructions.

And in answer to your turkey question it is my opinion that cleaning/gutting a turkey is infinitely more nasty that a deer. I doubt 99% of any city population would even want to try it unless they were starving.

James M Dakin said...

Learning an instrament is pure crap for all parties involved. The kid, parents and instructor. A sub level of Hell is devioted to just such an operation.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: A fair number of kids seem to actually like music lessons. My little one does.

Interesting on Turkey prep.

James: Obviously you were not one of the ones who liked their music lessons.