A huge read but worth the investment

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MajGenl.Meade
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A huge read but worth the investment

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

I don't know if this link will stay live so I copied the text here. Anyone who quotes Seamus Heaney can't be all bad.

https://medium.com/@doyouthinkihaveforg ... 4550b51427

Why Taylor Swift is Everything Wrong with Modern Culture
A deep dive into the artlessness of our modern world
Matthew

“It’s a concept album, and the main question is what keeps you up at night? So you could be up at night because you’re reeling from just having met someone and you’re falling for them, or you could be plotting revenge…”

Make no mistake, Taylor Swift is a genius. It’s hard to imagine that if instead of going to Nashville to become a country music star she had got a job on the floor of a clothing shop she wouldn’t be running the place by now. In fact she’d probably own it, along with all of its competitors. Her path from country megastar to global pop icon is one plenty have attempted and failed, and put simply you don’t get to where she is without a heap of talent, an icy self-confidence and an unwavering ability to curate your own self-image.

Part of the reason for her success lies on the fact that in spite of all the feet-up she may have got, she is clearly self-made. What sets her apart from a lot of her lesser pop or country contemporaries is an undeniable creative output that remains hers in-spite of a plethora of co-writers. Damon Albarn's criticism that she “doesn’t write her own songs” because she uses co-writers is clearly false, it’s hard to listen to her records and sense the kind of popish lack of continuity that marks most other pop-icons who are “co-writing” their songs but clearly have little to do with the creative process. Swift writes copiously, and among the big female pop-names of our era she is one who is unequivocally a songwriter.

But her genius lies most in her ability to curate her public image, an image that rests heavily on her legions of madly devoted fans and a media that lacks the categories of culture to do anything other than praise her. Swift has an uncanny ability to alchemise virtually any kind of public relationship or controversy into a surge of devotion and popularity, a tidal wave of hype for whatever it is she is releasing next.

Part of this depends on a curated relationship with her fans. Swift’s image depends on the idea that her music is about her, as much as about abstractions or stories. She is not writing template songs about relationships that you listen to and transfer on to your own, instead you are listening to her diaristic confessionalism, a kind of unending high school movie in which she is the hero. Even more, she is hero fans get to be in a ‘relationship’ with. Swift talks to her fans as if their love for her is a kind of reciprocal kindness. When her Midnights album broke streaming records she tweeted: “How did I get this lucky, having you guys out here doing something this mind blowing?! Like what even just happened??!?!”, when Evermore returned to billboard number one, she tweeted similarly: “This one hit me hard. I’m so in my feelings (more so than usual!) over what you all did here for evermore. Blown away by how much you care, and how long we’ve been caring about each other. ♥️♥️♥️♥️ Love you, so very much.” Again when it broke the vinyl sales record: “You guys went and did the nicest thing this week and broke the record for biggest vinyl sales week”.

It’s a strange dynamic to consider. We’re friends — I make music and you kindly buy it from me. You can’t imagine the head of McDonalds tweeting “guys I’m so in my feelings you all did the nicest thing and bought record amounts of the big mac, you made me so much money, love you all so much you’re the kindest xxx”. This is the kind of dynamic that makes it possible for Swift to rerelease music she has already made, to spite people who she signed a record contract with, in order that she and only she can profit from it, and yet sell it as a kind of romance project, a nostalgia trip she is generously inviting her kind and caring fans to partake in.

All this, you can say, is fine. My interpretation is obviously cynical, and you could make an argument it actually is a romantic nostalgia trip, and that her fans really are being kind. But this illustrates what lies at the heart of what Swift represents. She is fundamentally not selling art, she is selling herself. Her songcraft is secondary to her entire success being rooted in obsessions with the self and unquestioning idolising of celebrity that go far beyond anything that can be called art or culture. Instead she has made a phenomenon of her own image, a kind of ongoing real life romantic movie project in which she is the hero everyone invests in. Legions of fans fawn over her to the extent of obsession. Take a look at John Mayer’s instagram right now — Swift is only hinting at releasing an album made over a decade ago in which one song was about a relationship with Mayer, yet all of his instagram posts are flooded with Swift fans quoting lyrics at him because he once apparently wronged her.

Again, fine. The modern world is full of vacuous idolising of celebrity, so what? The question is perhaps more simple: we can understand how Swift curates a dynamic with legions of her fans, but why then does culture take Swift seriously?
Credit: Eva Rinaldi

This is the crux of the paradox of the Taylor Swift phenomenon: culture lauds her, but the content of her song lyrics are juvenile, bad spirited, cliched and narcissistic. What they represent, on close inspection, is appalling. And what she represents about why we don’t seem able to see this, is probably worse.

Let us begin with her song lyrics. The quote at the outset of this article is Swift talking on the Graham Norton show about her latest album ‘Midnights’. What she describes are the two essential topics for her lyrics: idealising the beginnings of relationships and revenge fantasies.

Swift is thirty three, the fact that these are the only things that keep her up at night might just about say enough, but it’s worth taking a deeper look at how this black and white obsession with idealistic relationships or ‘you’re dead to me’ type put downs defines her image. You are either in or out, her best friend, her ‘lover’ or her absolute enemy.

As illustrated by her latest releases, this has never changed. At thirty three she is writing the same songs about the same things. Her record ‘Lover’ has its set of idealistic romance songs, as well as opening with ‘I forgot you existed’ in which she sings “How many days did I spend thinking / ‘Bout how you did me wrong… I forgot that you existed It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference”. Like her new record it lacks any change from “She should keep in mind / There is nothing I do better than revenge”. Midnights is full of the same tropes, she bemoans “I don’t start shit, but I can tell you how it ends / Don’t get sad, get even”. Swift, it seems, has a lot of ‘Bad Blood’ to write about. Virtually all of ‘Reputation’ involves a set of diatribes against various enemies that paints the picture of someone bitter, unhappy and obsessed with past wrongs.

Then there’s the romance. Swift’s lyrical concepts of relationship are the epitome of a world saturated with narcissistic individualism. They ask the question “how do I get what I want?” instead of deeper questions about love as anything that might require reciprocal sacrifice or self giving. They idolise romantic feelings and movie scene style moments at the behest of any kind of concept of enduring love or commitment. They see all rejection as a wrong, a spite to be avenged and all affection as a “lavender haze” to be dwelt in until it passes and the next one comes along. Love, in Swift’s world is not moral or reciprocal but an nebulous emotional aesthetic, or to put it more simply: selfish. Swift’s lyrics present a person who is a love tourist, photographing ‘moments’ without any sense that the romantic beginnings of a relationship are about more than just you.

In spite of all of this Swift’s lyrics remain attached to a narrative that any criticism makes her a victim of some kind of sexism or unfair ‘attacks’. Part of her curation of her image involves this repeated insistence that criticising her in any form is always a kind of wrong you are commiting. Her song ‘The Man’ insists on double standards, that if she was a man “they would toast to me…I’d be just like Leo in Saint-Tropez”. Really? As far as I can tell DiCaprio gets plenty of criticism for dating models half his age, and it is not particularly culturally celebrated, yet Swift’s unending string of public relationships garner her nothing more than boosts in record sales. Where is the double standard? The song is ridiculous and narcissistic, yet it epitomises her image: criticise me and you’re a bad person. There can be no in-between, heroise me or you’re dead to me and everyone is going to know.

It doesn’t help that even artistically Swift’s lyrics are bad. Her songwriting is notable, even if its sound depends heavily on her producers, but her lyrics are the ground of high school poetry that makes you cringe to look back at. How is “karma is a cat Purring in my lap ’cause it loves me Flexing like a goddamn acrobat Me and karma vibe like that”, to be considered seriously? Everything is a high-school scene of corridor gossip, full of clumsy metaphors and listless recycled tropes. ‘Midnights’ contains easily her worst lyrical work, tired fantasies are recycled (So on the weekends
I don’t dress for friends / Lately, I’ve been dressin’ for revenge), it is full of exhausting listless idealism (Talk your talk and go viral / I just need this love spiral). Yet ‘Midnights’ received numerous awards, was praised and lauded almost universally by critics. Why? Is this what we judge as art?

Her victim narrative may go some way to explaining why Swift remains so untouchable within the cultural sphere. Perhaps it helps that politically she comments enough to indicate she is on the ‘right side’ but never enough to be opinionated outside of carefully chosen bandwagons. Yet what it represents far deeper than this, is that we seem to have lost sight of what art or culture actually are. Taylor Swift’s records are applauded because we seem to have lost the ability to know any better. Art is about meaning, and in a world without serious collective meaning, this is what takes its place.

In 1943 the poet T.S. Eliot gave a lecture on the social function of poetry. He said:

If, finally, I am right in believing that poetry has a ‘social function’ for the whole of the people the poet’s language, whether they are aware of his existence or not, it follows that it matters to each people of Europe that the others should continue to have poetry. I cannot read Norwegian poetry, but if I were told that no more poetry was being written in the Norwegian language I should feel an alarm which would be much more than generous sympathy. I should regard it as a spot of malady which was likely to spread over the whole Continent; the beginning of a decline that people everywhere would cease to be able to express, and consequently to feel, the emotions of civilised beings. This of course might happen. Much has been said everywhere about the decline of religious belief; not so much about the decline of religious sensibility. The trouble of the modern age is not merely the inability to believe certain things about God and man which our forefathers believed, but the inability to feel towards God and man as they did. A belief in which you no longer believe is something which to some extent you can still understand; but when religious feeling disappears, the words in which men have struggled to express it become meaningless.

For Eliot the modern world is characterised by a decline in religious and moral sentiment that strips language of an essential artistic meaning. This is not to say that society should be entirely ‘religious’ in some dogmatic sense, but the ground that constitutes the sentiment of religion, the arena of transcendence, is also the ground that gives poetic language its meaning. Again this decline is not a moral one or a decline into evil necessarily, it is not about the absence of some kind of repressive religious society. Eliot himself said “So far as we are human, what we do must be evil or good; so far as we do evil or good, we are human; and it is better, in a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do nothing: at least we exist.” The absence is one of the images, metaphors and language of transcendent moral self-consciousness, the awareness of a meaningful world that exists outside of us, in which we partake, and a language by which to express it. This moral absence is expressed in Eliot’s 1922 modernist poem The Waste Land, in which the world is a “heap of broken images”. Because of the collapse in serious moral consciousness what is produced is the listless non-existence that recurs in the poem, a living death. This state is not constituted by an awareness of itself, the problem again is not one of collapsing into a particular evil, but rather a blindness or an absence of consciousness as to what is even missing.

No time is perfect. It could be pointed out that Eliot refers to the artist as ‘he’ and the readers as ‘man’, something which Swift subverts by her success. Yet his poem the Waste Land offers a searingly prophetic vision of what the modern world has become. Swift’s cultural success is only possible in a world that has no significant categories of meaning to know any better. What is art supposed to be about? Now we have dispensed with religion the idea that art is about the transcendent has little to say to a world where such things are just ‘your truth’ rather than that which we all reach for. And in a hyper-commodified culture art as craft in which excellence is celebrated is secondary to what sells. Neither the ground nor the content of art have any meaning to us. How then could a reviewer have anything to say to “karma is a cat / Purring in my lap” other than meh, she’s really popular and it’s sold a lot, five stars.

There is of course plenty to criticise about, for example, Eliot himself as a person. Every artist has the taint of their time’s particular failings, yet the difference is that for an artist such as Eliot, or any other poet or artist before our era this does not actually dampen the significance of his work. In our time the idea of ‘cancel culture’ in the arts is dependant on a kind of total identifying of art and artist that betrays an absence of a belief in anything universal or true. In spite of some of Eliot’s problematic opinions the Waste Land remains prophetic, it remains visionary and moving and as much as art can be, true. The same can’t be said for art in our time. Because art is merely entertainment, spectacle and celebrity to find out something bad about someone’s character is to undermine their whole appeal, hence the need for Swift’s ability to curate and maintain her own public image.

A large part of this decline in consciousness in the sphere of music is in part a product of commodification. Much of our own musical styles come from the ‘spirituals’ merging of sub-saharan African culture and Christianity, into a music that transfigured the cries of oppressed people into forms of resistance and meaning. Artists such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles were influenced by the blues music that came out of this, bands that began to see mass success and idolisation, a trajectory that saw the gradual abandoning of meaning and the take-over of the markets in what rules our cultural lives. As pleasurable or stimulating as our vast array of contemporary music might be, the cultural history of the twentieth and twenty first century is one of market appropriation and fragmented meaninglessness, a narrative in which folk has become pop. The Beatles stepping off the plane to a pre-arranged crowd of madly cheering fans marked the record-company organised ‘Beatlemania’ that would itself become the beginnings of pop idol, the x-factor, manufactured pop bands, artists who neither write or create their material, and the absence of any kind of significant meaning in the public world of music culture.

For much of our culture art has been seen as related to the highest of corporate meanings, extended from the bottom up of folk music or hymns to the highest of cultural achievements. The Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in his significant essay ‘A Defence of Poetry’ describes the role of the poet as akin to that of the prophet:

Poets, according to the circumstances of the age and nation in which they appeared, were called, in the earlier epochs of the world, legislators, or prophets: a poet essentially comprises and unites both these characters. For he not only beholds intensely the present as it is, and discovers those laws according to which present things ought to be ordered, but he beholds the future in the present, and his thoughts are the germs of the flower and the fruit of latest time. Not that I assert poets to be prophets in the gross sense of the word, or that they can foretell the form as surely as they foreknow the spirit of events: such is the pretence of superstition, which would make poetry an attribute of prophecy, rather than prophecy an attribute of poetry. A poet participates in the eternal, the infinite, and the one; as far as relates to his conceptions, time and place and number are not. The grammatical forms which express the moods of time, and the difference of persons, and the distinction of place, are convertible with respect to the highest poetry without injuring it as poetry; and the choruses of Aeschylus, and the book of Job, and Dante’s “Paradise” would afford, more than any other writings, examples of this fact, if the limits of this essay did not forbid citation. The creations of sculpture, painting, and music are illustrations still more decisive.

It’s hard to describe “on the weekends / I don’t dress for friends / Lately, I’ve been dressin’ for revenge” as participating in the eternal, the infinite and the one. But again, to us in the modern world these concepts are entirely without meaning. What we expect from artists is instead a kind of representation of the lowest desires of the ego — popularity, superficial success, idolisation, attractiveness. Taylor Swift essentially narrativises these things in a way that creates a kind of template for those things we all thing we want but in reality are unsatisfying and meaningless. The things that make life worth living are the ground of the kind of art that sees the holiness that exists in ordinary kinds of love, the kind of meaningful everyday action that is not reducible to spectacle because it looks like nothing from the outside. Taylor Swift’s ‘kissing in the rain’ or ‘lavender haze’ say nothing the kinds of ordinary goodness that make every day life and love not just significant but transcendent partakers in the kind of love that is all love. The artlessness of our time makes it almost impossible to still be able to listen, still be able to hear that good that lies behind every good, as one of the last great poets of our era Seamus Heaney puts it:

And in a slated house the fiddle going / Like a flat stone skimmed at sunset / Or the irrevocable slipstream of flat earth / Still fleeing behind space. // Was music once a proof of God’s existence? / As long as it admits things beyond measure, / That supposition stands. // So let the ear attend like a farmhouse window / In placid light, where the extravagant / Passed once under full sail into the longed-for.
For Christianity, by identifying truth with faith, must teach-and, properly understood, does teach-that any interference with the truth is immoral. A Christian with faith has nothing to fear from the facts

ex-khobar Andy
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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by ex-khobar Andy »

Which, in translation, reads:

Taylor Swift is a talented narcissist (well, aren't they all?) who writes sometimes vapid prose. (But: Paul McCartney gave us Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da; and Bob Dylan, in his poem 17 gave us "I ran out t the phone booth/made a call t my wife. she wasnt home./i panicked. i called up my best friend/but the line was busy/then i went t a party but couldnt find a chair/somebody wiped their feet on me/so i decided t leave." So vapidity is not Ms Swift's alone. )

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

Yes, I think you missed the central point - which is not the warbled musings of Swift. One can pick out silly lyrics from every generation, probably going back to the beginning of lyrics.

The article is not about the singer but about the listeners. It is about the changing standard of cultural elevation by us. Swift (a person whose music I have never heard AFAIK) is acknowledged as a genius at playing one string and turning it into "art" by manipulating the concept of art and of culture.

You no doubt (or I doubt) noticed that 'Matthew' (no last names to avoid assassination :lol: ) placed the beginning of the cultural change with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, regardless of the lyrical value of their work. And I believe Ob-la-di actually says quite a lot about working class aspirations and the flux of sexual identification.

If Swift's formula of me-me-me and let's-kill-the-enemy is a sound basis for worthy songs, then good luck to her. It obviously works but is it tenable as a social construct? And what does it say about the audience? If all the Beatles ever produced were songs on the theme of "Run for Your Life" then they would have earned obloquy.
For Christianity, by identifying truth with faith, must teach-and, properly understood, does teach-that any interference with the truth is immoral. A Christian with faith has nothing to fear from the facts

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

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I feel inadequate to comment, since I once really loved Air Supply. In my defense, I was just one among many millions.

That said I am sooner to spend time rediscovering Nick Drake than to spend time discovering Taylor Swift, of whom I have heard but whose music I don’t think I have. My car radio has been broken for more than a decade and even when it wasn’t it was fixed on NPR. I tend to listen to the same old stuff from my youth which was once cutting edge and is now beyond middle age.
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by TPFKA@W »

Taylor Swift has a few songs I have enjoyed over the years, maybe she has written them, maybe she has not.She can play guitar a little, play the piano a little, sing a little and dance a bit. She is pretty, was 5' 10", slim. I doubt she is a genius, but what she does have is an excellent team of handlers that likely included her parents, at least at one point. Someone, somehow rocketed her to fame in spite of her limited range of vocalization.

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by Joe Guy »

If Taylor Swift is what's wrong with modern culture, how does Lizzo fit in to it?


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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

Joe Guy wrote:
Wed May 31, 2023 6:42 pm
If Taylor Swift is what's wrong with modern culture, how does Lizzo fit in to it?
Swift is only a symptom. Not a problem. Modern culture is what's wrong with her. And she's doing very nicely from it.

AFAIK "Lizzo" doesn't fit into anything, including clothing
For Christianity, by identifying truth with faith, must teach-and, properly understood, does teach-that any interference with the truth is immoral. A Christian with faith has nothing to fear from the facts

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

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MajGenl.Meade wrote:
Wed May 31, 2023 7:23 pm
AFAIK "Lizzo" doesn't fit into anything, including clothing
Good point. :mrgreen:

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

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Application of Sturgeon's Law: 90% of ALL popular music is shit. Always was. Always is. Always will be. That explains the success of 'oldies' musical programs. Let time compost it all. The jewels will remain. I am sure it applies to the heyday of Mozart as well as Taylor Swift. Please note the music of the times of Mozart has gone through this composing process. Just the ability to 'document it' has changed. No recordings from the 17th century. We rely on recreations based on current interpretation of musical notation systems with all the problems of interpretation of sacred writing into contemporary English. Do you know any Sackbut virtuosos working today? How about that once popular vocalist, the Castrato?

But a side issue? What is this criticism that Swift does not write her own songs? How many songs did Ella Fitzgerald, The First Lady of Song, write?

snailgate

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

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Just about the only thing I know about Taylor Swift is that she’s infamous for writing songs about her prior boyfriends in which she skewers them. So I think she writes most of her own stuff?

According to this article, she’s never recorded a song that she didn’t write herself or collaborate on with another songwriter. https://www.musicindustryhowto.com/who- ... llaborator.
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

Snail and BSG:

As Matthew helpfully observed
Damon Albarn's criticism that she “doesn’t write her own songs” because she uses co-writers is clearly false
Damon Albarn is of course a member of that immortal group Blur. His qualification for expressing this notion is amply revealed in this:


It may or not be called "woo hoo".

Writing music/lyrics in collaboration is respectable. Lerner and Loewe, Lieber and Stoller, Leopold and Loeb though the latter took it rather too seriously
Last edited by MajGenl.Meade on Thu Jun 01, 2023 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
For Christianity, by identifying truth with faith, must teach-and, properly understood, does teach-that any interference with the truth is immoral. A Christian with faith has nothing to fear from the facts

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

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" Leopold and Loeb though the latter took it rather too seriously" Thank you. My best laugh of the day.

snailgate.

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

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Burning Petard wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2023 12:45 am
" Leopold and Loeb though the latter took it rather too seriously" Thank you. My best laugh of the day.

snailgate.
Yr welcome!
For Christianity, by identifying truth with faith, must teach-and, properly understood, does teach-that any interference with the truth is immoral. A Christian with faith has nothing to fear from the facts

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by ex-khobar Andy »

Loeb was murdered in prison by a fellow inmate, who alleged that Loeb had proposed a sexual liaison to him - which was, at the time, plausible because some had suggested that L & L's crime was fueled by some sort of romantic entanglement between the two of them. As a result one Chicago reporter remarked that Loeb had ended his own sentence with a proposition.

L & L famously committed their crime - the murder of Bobby Franks - because they were convinced that they were Nietzscheian übermenschen and would get away with it because of their superior intellect which would outwit the rather dull police. However Leopold left a pair of his spectacles at the location of the body, and these were fairly easy traced to him. Seems to me this is more likely evidence of his üntermenschship.

There is nowadays a cottage industry of academics seeking a philosophical basis for Swift's songs. Nietzsche told us: "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." (Also sprach Zarathustra.) Mr Google, on being asked whether Ms Swift reads Nietzsche, returned this video which is 12 minutes long and, based on the first 60 seconds which I put myself through so you don't have to, is not worth the time. You probably need to take out the garbage which would be a better investment of your time.

On a more practical note Meade mentions that "The article is not about the singer but about the listeners." Yes of course. Just as my consternation at the Trump phenomenon is not about the man, but rather about those who believe in him. We have always known that Trump-types (bombastic snake-oil salesmen of minimal intellect and even less morality) have existed and they have made a decent living by fleecing the 2.5% of humanity whose own intellect is 2 standard deviations or more below the mean. So long as they did not bother the rest of us, that (accepting that such people existed) was more or less the price of living in a liberal society. The truly alarming manifestation of the Trump phenomenon is that roughly half the voting population - maybe it's 45% but that is 'roughly half' by any estimate - think he is a good idea to lead the country.

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by Sue U »

The fatal flaw in the OP essay is that it conflates pop music, art and culture in an effort to prove a predetermined conclusion that is the perennial complaint of reactionaries and moralizing scolds ("contemporary culture is debased, woe is us!").

First, since the beginning of human song, music has been composed to meet the popular tastes of the times, and the subject matter across all genres is constant (i.e., aspects of the human experience, particularly love and loss). And at least since the dawn of commercial recording, pop music specifically has been a product sold to a market of consumers for their entertainment, and generally not to produce some sort of intellectual enlightenment or spiritual growth. The OP writer seems to get this, but then inexplicably veers into a rant about how pop music has become "meaningless." As a rule, pop is not big-A Art, it is craft; where one draws the line can be debated, but no one ever accused Taylor Swift albums of being high-minded explorations of big questions -- and they are not meant to be. That she has found a market for catchy hooks and sappy/simple/banal lyrics in 12-to-25-year-old girls is thoroughly unsurprising and says next to nothing about "the culture" except that Taylor Swift is totally dialed in to the emotions of that particular demographic, where she very consciously aims her songs, regardless of how autobiographical they appear to be.

The irony here is that our age of electronic communication has actually dramatically broadened the reach of the cultural arts and you can find really interesting, innovative, insightful and inspiring music all over the place these days that really is Art and does reflect the advancement and elevation of contemporary culture. But if that's what you're looking for, you were never going to find it on the Billboard Hot 100 in any event.

ETA:
Don't get me wrong, I love pop music and have been an avid consumer since American Bandstand and Soul Train; I even have a framed picture of me with legendary hit-maker Kal Rudman. There is absolutely nothing wrong with well-crafted pop songs and dance music.
GAH!

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

I think "Matthew" is really writing about the shortcomings of the mavens of "culture" - i.e. writers such as himself. He seems to be complaining more about supposed arbiters of culture (journos) than about either the artist or the fan.

I think all forms of lower entertainment went to the dogs when teens had enough money to buy records new instead of old jukebox rejects down the market. Plus the extra expense of those damn plastic rings of Satan

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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by Sue U »

MajGenl.Meade wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2023 6:15 pm
I think "Matthew" is really writing about the shortcomings of the mavens of "culture" - i.e. writers such as himself. He seems to be complaining more about supposed arbiters of culture (journos) than about either the artist or the fan.

I think all forms of lower entertainment went to the dogs when teens had enough money to buy records new instead of old jukebox rejects down the market. Plus the extra expense of those damn plastic rings of Satan
Of course the very point of pop music is to be popular, to be the aural candy we snack on day to day, which "Matthew" seems to forget in his quest for "meaning" and his fretting about the "decline in consciousness in the sphere of music." Yet even pop music still has the capacity for heft, social relevance and transcendence: no one will deny that Bob Marley was a prophet or that NWA offered blistering social commentary or that reggaeton is bringing traditionally Hispanic musical sensibilities to the American cultural mainstream or that pop music can simply bring moments of joy to life. T.S. Eliot would have made a lousy songwriter.
GAH!

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Bicycle Bill
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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by Bicycle Bill »

MajGenl.Meade wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2023 6:15 pm
I think all forms of lower entertainment went to the dogs when teens had enough money to buy records new instead of old jukebox rejects down the market.
Back in the day (60s and 70s) our local jukebox/pinball machine operator used to sell jukebox take-offs for 35¢ or three for a buck, but you could buy brand-new 45-rpm records at Kmart for somewhere around 79¢... and albums were generally priced at five or six dollars.  My parents, however, didn't believe in allowances; it wasn't until I got old enough to go out mowing lawns or shoveling sidewalks that I was able to buy my own music without having to run it past them and try to wheedle the money out of Mom's purse.  Nowadays, of course, jukeboxes are all digital and use the 'net to locate songs and play them.   It gives you an almost infinite playlist, but I still miss the thrill of looking through the rack of removed records and finding a serviceable copy of a song I liked but hadn't bought at the store for one reason or another.
MajGenl.Meade wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2023 6:15 pm
Plus the extra expense of those damn plastic rings of Satan
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I saw them but never had to use them.  The single-play record player my sister and I used had a retractable 45-rpm adapter that lifted up from the turntable (and of course would drop back down out of the way when we played 33s or 78s), and when we finally were gifted a newer, automatic phonograph for Christmas one year it had an adapter spindle for 45s that fit over the tall narrow spindle and would allow us to stack a half-dozen records to play one after another.
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-"BB"-
Yes, I suppose I could agree with you ... but then we'd both be wrong, wouldn't we?

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Econoline
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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by Econoline »

Sue U wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2023 7:24 pm
T.S. Eliot would have made a lousy songwriter.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :ok

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This here (just stolen from some twit on Twatter):
Taylor Swift: Hey, could you make dinner tonight?
Taylor Swift’s Boyfriend: Aw, babe, I’m really tired.
Taylor Swift: (making direct eye contact, slowly reaching for her guitar).
Taylor Swift’s Boyfriend: I’ll go check the fridge.
People who are wrong are just as sure they're right as people who are right. The only difference is, they're wrong.
God @The Tweet of God

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Sue U
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Re: A huge read but worth the investment

Post by Sue U »

Econoline wrote:
Fri Jun 02, 2023 7:53 am
Sue U wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2023 7:24 pm
T.S. Eliot would have made a lousy songwriter.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :ok
I see you've read Prufrock, too.
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The jokes, I make them, and just pray that someone gets them.
Last edited by Sue U on Fri Jun 02, 2023 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GAH!

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