Snob Music

If a youngster were to be asked what he intended to do with the rest of his life, and replied, “Listen to polyphonic motets”, we would assume that he was going to be a scholar or a practitioner of early music. If not, we would think him a weirdo. The youngster whose life-programme begin and ends with “Listening to rock music”, however, is regarded as a perfectly normal teenager.

It was always impossible to satirise the MTV audience; when it was tried, the victims of the satire took Beavis and Butthead as role models. Together with street fashion and very tightly bound up with it, the varieties of popular music are now the chief mode of snobbery; if you see someone wearing this-and-that, why then, you know that he listens to that-and-this band and despise him accordingly. The “narcissism of minor differences” means that the subtle gradations between “sounds” – all of which our polyphonist would perceive as painfully loud noise – and their associated costumes are of infinite fascination and mortal import, so much so as to exclude most other pursuits and interests. There is, after all, only so much processing-power to go around. In this way the population as a whole has been co-opted into what used to be a purely aristocratic obsession with the minutiae of status.

Posted on December 29, 2011 at 12:15 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: CULTURAL ODDS AND ENDS, Cause and Effect Of Brain Damage

2 Responses

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  1. Written by urban
    on December 29, 2011 at 19:35

    This twisted misuse of music as a signifier of group identity in lock step with a very limited range of hair style and clothing and accessory options is indeed disturbing. It’s not new, but our peculiar culture, falsely so-called, has encouraged this balkanization to a perverse degree under the banner of niche marketing.

    As one might infer from my comment on the previous post, my life as a musician has been devoted to exploring that which brings us together, that which gestures at something universal, that which transcends spatial, temporal, and cultural divides. So although I know it may sound like the sour grapes of a has-been-that-never-was, “Soooo last millennium, dude”, I’ll say it anyway. What a shame.

  2. Written by Hugo Grinebiter
    on December 29, 2011 at 22:01

    Niche marketing, yes. I hadn’t put that together. The trouble with “transcends spatial, temporal, and cultural divides” is that you can only sell it once?

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