Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It Was A Different Time....

Although the interview featured within is terrible, check out the beginning of this Mike Douglas Show clip from I guess the late 70s. The three guests: Frank Zappa, Kenny Rogers, and Jimmy Walker. The topic they start with: classical music.

Certainly classical music is not being discussed on talk shows today. But I am not sure that this is such a bad thing. Do I need to hear what kind of classical music Kenny Rogers likes? No. In fact, hell no would not be too strong of a statement.

Before the 1980s, so-called "high culture" was much more prevalent in the media. Any perusal of magazines shows this to be so. Even TV featured these sorts of figures and topics. Truman Capote, even though he was a bad imitation of himself by this point, was on TV all the time at the end of his life. Is there any equivalent today?

Why did these cultural references disappear? I suspect it is because nobody cared. One analysis of this kind of thing is to say that "Oh, we just aren't as cultured anymore. TV, movies, internet--all of this has made us stupid." But I don't think so. I think that stuff disappeared because the American public never knew much about Shakespeare, Bach, or Nabokov. And frankly, they didn't want to know. People figured this out and dumped for more coverage of Brittany, Paris, and Amy Winehouse. Lots of people are happy with this. I certainly am not. But we aren't stupider because of it.

Also, the animation in the last 2 minutes of the clip to the Zappa song might be of interest to people. I guess it is kind of cool, though I really don't care about animation as an art.