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Archive for October, 2003

Philistine By Any Other Name

Posted by acdtest on October 31, 2003

A Philistine By Any Other Name

‘m in a really pissy mood this afternoon. I point this out mostly by way of apologia for taking even the slightest notice of the mindless bourgeois philistinism below remarked upon, and the modicum of my time required to make remark. But it seems to me that in the rabidly populist and rampantly promiscuous equalitarian era in which we today live, such mindless philistinism needs an occasional skewering if only to attempt to balance the scales a bit.

The virtually unanimous glowing critical and journalistic praise, here and abroad, for architect Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall newly opened in downtown Los Angeles is pretty much unparalleled in our era for an architectural work, Gehry’s own Guggenheim, Bilbao perhaps excepted; a testament to Gehry’s genius, the Disney’s astonishing and profound architectural beauty — beauty plainly manifest even in two-dimensional exterior and interior photographs — and the by all accounts superb acoustics of its performance space. That unanimous praise, however, is seen by at least one proud-as-punch philistine as nothing more than an instance of “mass hysteria,” and “bow[ing] and scrap[ing]” idol and “hero worship.” This sensible-shoes bourgeois, and urban design zealot* takes it upon himself to do his own “analysis” of Disney Hall in a post on his weblog wherein he focuses on critical architectural items such as the “nice pastel color theme” of the signs in the building’s underground parking facility (helps you remember where you parked), the urban design quality of the building’s street frontage (mostly bad because nothing more than a blank wall on three sides), the TV monitors in the building’s snack bar (what could they possibly be showing?), the snack bar location (too deep inside the building), the outdoor lighting (too harsh), and the toilet facilities (not enough).

While all these are undeniably design considerations of some small importance, focusing on them when confronted with a new and important building of such breathtaking architectural accomplishment is a bit like…. Well, let me simply quote myself in a comment which I left in the comments section of the weblog post in question; a comment which was deleted (surprise!) within hours of its being posted.

Your response to the Disney calls to mind nothing so much as an image of someone seeing for the first time a Rembrandt or El Greco, and considering of major importance and worthy of extended comment the frame over which the canvas is stretched, and the fasteners that secure the canvas thereto.

Interesting perspective — and sense of proportion.

And this urban design zealot’s comments on the architecture itself? “[A] goofy, ‘arty,’ ‘post-something’ building”; “a ‘precious object'”; “cold and sterile and with a (largely) bad pedestrian environment”; “gimmickry”; “freaky”; “a freakish series of swooping roofs”; “eye-candy trivia”; “freak-show architecture”; and all this accompanied by multiple sneers at the very idea of genius, which term this bourgeois philistine childishly sees fit to always enclose in scare quotes so that we won’t miss he’s making a statement.

He then closes all this sharp-eyed commentary by writing:

So don’t get me wrong. The Disney is not a complete failure; the failure is in the critics total and complete failure to be able to view the building as anything but a cartoon. The building indeed has got some positive attributes. But it’s basically an example of freak-show architecture and should be considered in that light. I can understand that some people might like freak-shows but I can also recognize that they are not a good model for how humans should evolve. Freaks stand alone and isolated by their unfortunate and tragic nature.

The parallel tragedy of course is that had Gehry paid more attention to the edges, to truly “taking things to the edge,” he and Los Angeles could have had a comfortable urban building and a glamorous precious object. There is, to my mind, no inherent contradiction. The Disney could have been a truly great urban building had Gehry followed the Three Rules [this weblogger’s simplistic formula for good urban building design].

That this guy is at polar odds with all the architecture experts would be just dandy, and absolutely OK if he had even the vaguest idea, the most rudimentary sensibility, the most fundamental knowledge of what architecture is about; critical prerequisites he appallingly lacks (appalling because of his area of putative expertise) as his repeated purblind and ignorant whining on his weblog about what he considers the general horribleness of the great architecture of the past century makes manifest, as do his purblind and ignorant whining complaints against the knowledgeable commentary of genuine architecture experts (he has an especial hatred for New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp; but, then, what bourgeois philistine doesn’t), which commentary is clearly beyond this weblogger’s woefully limited architectural understanding.

Is such ignorant and public purblind whining a triumph of democracy, democratic thinking, and the democratic process, or something else altogether?

You decide. I’ve said quite enough, and quite sufficient. In any case, it’s all the time and words I’m here willing to devote to the matter.

By the way, did I mention I was in a really pissy mood this afternoon?

Oh. So I did.

*Name withheld as an act of charity.

Posted in Architecture, Cultural Commentary | Comments Off on Philistine By Any Other Name

A Question Of Rhetoric

Posted by acdtest on October 30, 2003

A Question Of Rhetoric

fter a particularly frustrating extended search, I posted the following whine on several classical music lists in which I’m a participant:

For all the hugely complex works written by Wagner, I can find at least one conductor who gets all or most of the tempi right all the way through. Why, then, is it (seemingly) impossible to find even a single conductor who gets the tempi right for the relatively simple (Dresden) Overture to _Tannhäuser_? Even though I’ve never seen the score of this work, I know they all get it wrong, wrong, wrong, and get it wrong in precisely the same way: they turn the majestic chorale — first and closing episodes both — into a _Marcia Funebre_, the tempo almost the same for both appearances(!), and so the tempi of the _Venusberg_ center taken proportionally too slow as well.

Is a (major) puzzlement.

I saw nothing particularly untoward about anything I wrote there. Simply your regular old standard type whine. But I was called immediately on my declaration that I’ve never seen the score of the work. How, then, could I know that all the conductors I’ve heard get it wrong, especially since, by my own admission, I’ve never heard it done right?

How indeed. And yet I was, and am, perfectly certain of the thing, my ignorance of the score itself, and my never having heard the work done right notwithstanding. The question is: Why, and by what authority, am I so certain?

The answer, it turns out, is a fairly simple one. Or rather, simple to state, not in operation. And that is that by long exposure to Wagner’s works, and detailed study of many of his scores, I’ve become so intimately familiar with Wagnerian rhetoric that I’ve become hypersensitive to any false realization (as opposed to interpretive variation) of his rhetorical voice, both musical and dramatic.

So, what did I find amiss with all the readings of my experience of the Dresden (1845) version of the Tannhäuser overture (the overture to the opera of the same name, one of Wagner’s early-period works)?

Well, the explanation goes like this (and, apologies, but one must know the opera in order to appreciate the following):

In the overture’s opening episode of the chorale (“Pilgrim’s Chorus”) it’s merely the progress of the pilgrims, first toward, then away from an imagined physical point; i.e., a pretty much matter-of-fact affair. The closing episode of that chorale at overture’s close (i.e., with the return to 3/4 and ff in the trombones), however, where it rises above and in opposition to the furious, frenetic, and insistent ff rapid runs of 16ths in the strings (the dithyrambic claims of the Venusberg), is not merely a recap of the opening episode but its apotheosis and as well a declaration of triumph, so to speak, over the claims of the flesh promoted within the Venusberg.

In all the readings I’ve heard up to now, the opening episode of the chorale is taken almost as broad, slow, and triumphant (in the trombones) as the closing episode, which is, of course, rhetorically absurd, both musically and dramatically, as it then leaves no place for the closing episode to go except into the dumper. The Venusberg episode (the overture’s center episodes) is then taken too slow as well, both as a matter of proportion (with the too-slow opening chorale), and also in an attempt at the sensuous rather than the dithyrambic for the Venusberg center as a whole, which is also wrong rhetorically, both musically and dramatically.

All this I knew almost instinctively (“almost” because there was nothing really instinctive about it at all, my sense of it a result of my experience with Wagner’s works as explained above). So how come these expert conductors didn’t know this almost instinctively as well? My guess (and it’s nothing more than a guess) is that majestic chorale and its orchestration are so musically and dramatically seductive in themselves that as a conductor one must get a virtual grip on oneself to not let the thing run away with him for its own sake, and therefore disconnected from its musical and dramatic context. The conductors of my experience simply failed to do so.

Interestingly enough, unlike the case with most of his individual works, Wagner left conductors a major clue for the performance of this overture; a clue ignored by all conductors known to me.

And the major clue? Under Wagner’s own direction (Wagner was considered the premier conductor of his time — generally, not merely of his own works) the performance duration of the Tannhäuser overture was 12 minutes flat. The shortest performance time of all conductors of this work of my experience? Fourteen minutes.

Maestros take note (NPI).

Posted in Music, Opera | Comments Off on A Question Of Rhetoric

Tommasini Does Disney

Posted by acdtest on October 25, 2003

Tommasini Does Disney

ew York Times music “critic” Anthony Tommasini gives his acoustical impression of Disney Hall.

Said Tommasini, in part:

Still, the fullness of sound in a concert hall comes not just from the proximity of the musicians or from sheer volume, but from richness and resonance. The grand old halls, like Boston’s Symphony Hall and of course Carnegie Hall, positively shimmer with aural richness. During the Mozart, the sound at Disney Hall, especially the string sound, lacked warmth and bloom. The overall effect was full-bodied and clear but in a modern, somewhat clinical way.

What’s wrong with this picture?


Posted in Architecture, Music | Comments Off on Tommasini Does Disney

Beyond Mere Building

Posted by acdtest on October 24, 2003

Beyond Mere Building

o reader of this weblog could possibly even begin to imagine the depth of my hatred of Los Angeles. But after crawling over thousands of words and hundreds of photographs detailing Disney Hall, exterior and interior, I’m ready to jump a flight for the Left Coast, and spend the next year camping out there.

Jesus!, what a profoundly beautiful building it looks to be (if mere building it can be called). If Disney Hall in the flesh lives up to the promise of the photographs (and my experienced eye tells me it almost certainly will), then all by itself it’s enough to resurrect to full bloom a years-dead faith in postmodern man’s creative and aesthetic capacity to produce genuinely great and enduring works of art. Now all that’s needed is the appearance of a Frank Gehry in the realms of music and literature, and we’ll all be home free.

UPDATE (25 October at 10:48 PM Eastern): Another philistine (and proud of it!) is heard from; one who clearly has not a clue as to what beautiful means when applied to a work of architecture.

Posted in Architecture | Comments Off on Beyond Mere Building

Boffo Début

Posted by acdtest on October 24, 2003

Boffo Début

ast night’s concert marked the official opening of Los Angeles’s major new classical music concert venue, Disney Hall, designed by the incomparable architect of our era, Frank Gehry. And the reviews are ecstatic.

Said one writer:

[If the expectations are] that a spectacular venue with vivid acoustics can make the experience of music so immediate that sound seems to enter a listener’s body not through just the ears but through the eyes, through every pore in the skin, then…Disney Hall is everything and more than we might have hoped for. In this enchanted space, music can take on meaningful new excitement even in an age when many art forms are satisfied with oversaturated stimulation.

Said another:

[T]he hall is the most significant work ever created by a Los Angeles architect in his native city. The hall’s flamboyant undulating exterior – whose stainless steel forms unfold along downtown’s Grand Avenue with exquisite lightness – is a sublime expression of contemporary cultural values. Its intimate, womb-like interior should instantly be included among the great public rooms in America. […] Disney Hall’s power…stems from its ability to gather the energy of [the] swarming [downtown Los Angles] landscape and imbue it with new meaning. In this way, it should be ranked among America’s most significant architectural achievements.

Words like those (and there are more — much more –such words here, here, and here) will, I suspect, resonate most particularly with the bungling crew who constitute the board of NYC’s Lincoln Center who have for the past few years busied themselves with the what-to-do-with-it Lincoln Center question. If it hasn’t been clear up to now that what to do with it is trash it in toto, and try again, this time with more foresight, understanding, and aesthetic intelligence, then Disney Hall will make it blindingly clear to even the most densely opaque of the board’s — and the city’s — bourgeois movers and shakers.

Los Angles (LOS ANGELES!) the possessor of the greatest classical music concert venue in the entire country, perhaps even the world(!)?

Can you imagine? Can you bloody imagine?

INSTANT UPDATE (24 October at 9:07 AM Eastern): And speaking of the densely opaque, here’s a proles’ view of Disney Hall that’s simply breathtaking in its philistine mindlessness.

Posted in Aesthetic Commentary, Architecture, Cultural Commentary, Music | Comments Off on Boffo Début

And The Winner Is…

Posted by acdtest on October 20, 2003

And The Winner Is…

seemingly ineluctable feature of the regular gathering of a group of fans of whatever, online or in real life, is the periodic call for nominations for a Top Ten List. The underlying rationale for the list varies, the most common and most tiresome being that oldie but goodie, the Desert Island Top Ten List. As common and tiresome as it is, however, this list and its variations never fail to engage the participation of almost the entire group. Enumerating for all to see what one would choose to have with him were he to be abandoned forever on a desert island gives one the chance (excuse is perhaps the more apt term) to display for all and sundry the breadth of one’s knowledge of whatever, as well as one’s depth of general intellect and refinement of taste.

As I said, tiresome.

Recently on a largely knowledgeable-persons-populated online classical music forum in which I participate on a regular basis (the population including a fair number of professionals), the periodic eruption of a call for another run at a desert island list surfaced, and was greeted with predictable enthusiasm cum the de rigueur demur of “I hate lists, but….” Finding myself in a particularly pissy mood that day, I determined this time to put a stop to it aborning rather than just ignore it as is my ordinary M.O.

Listen up!, y’all [I trumpeted]. Let’s deep-six this wussy silliness right now, and get down to the nitty-gritty. No more of this sissy stuff. Here’s how Real Men sort things out.

It’s the Apocalypse, and you’ve been chosen by the Dark Horseman to save for surviving humanity but a single work of all that’s known today as “serious” music and opera, the rest to be consumed by the conflagration forever, and forgotten as if none of it had ever existed, and none of it ever again to be re-created.

What’s the one work you choose to save for all humanity, and why? (N.B., Wagner’s Ring, for instance, counts as four works, not one.)

The howls of protest at the challenge could, I imagined, be heard throughout the length and breadth of the Web. I mean, how can one display the depth of one’s knowledge, intellect, and refinement of taste by choosing but a single work, especially since the way the challenge was posed the choice would not be a measure of one’s own taste, but a measure of one’s judgment on behalf of all humanity?

The bargaining for a change in the rules began at once. One work is impossible. Make it five. OK, three works, at least three! Two? Please, you must make it at least two works! How can one choose, say, a symphony of Beethoven’s, but consign, say, Le Sacre to oblivion, or vice versa? Be reasonable!

Oh, the wailing and the gnashing of teeth! A truly pitiable sight.

But I remained obdurate. The rules of the challenge, I declared, were nonnegotiable. And spying a loophole that would be seen by all sooner or later, I further stipulated that but a single work could even be mentioned. No “I choose X but it was a close call between it and Y, not to speak of Z” permitted (I told you I was in a particularly pissy mood that day).

Their last hope dashed against my iron will, everyone (everyone who chose to play by the rules, that is — about 75% of normal participation in a desert island list game) settled in to make his choice for eternity.

And a few amazing things were to be observed.

First, and above all, was the utmost seriousness with which everyone took the challenge, all almost palpably feeling the immensity and oppressiveness of the weight of responsibility that had been fictionally thrust upon them. Totally absent was the blithe self-aggrandizement and -promotion that’s the sine qua non feature of the creation of all desert island type lists. This response was perhaps the most surprising — and gratifying — of all.

Second, was that all choices put forward were, without exception, of pre-20th-century works; this from a group notorious for being cheerleaders for contemporary music (that is, notorious to me who has declared, to fusillades of jeers and brickbats, that all so-called “serious” music written by composers who first began writing after 1950 is total trash, none of it even deserving to be called music). That was another surprising response (i.e., surprising coming from this group).

And finally, but perhaps less surprising, all choices (including this writer’s — and, no, it was not a work by Wagner) were of works where the human voice, solo and in chorus, played a prominent part. A curiously comforting and reassuring if consummately human response.

Made my week it did, those choices so earnestly made. All of them. Took the pissy right out of my mood P.D.Q. Problem is, the game is pretty much one-time-only. Once played, it can never again be played by the same participants except at very widely spaced intervals of time, the intervals reckoned in years.

Hmmm. Fancy that.

Posted in Cultural Commentary, Music | Comments Off on And The Winner Is…

Of Gods And Men

Posted by acdtest on October 17, 2003

Of Gods And Men

f all the postmodern idiocies floated in today’s culture perhaps the most idiot — and most pernicious — is the leveling mindset that insists on denying authorship of an artwork to the creator of that artwork. Expression of that mindset goes something along these lines:

[T]here’s little that peeves me as much as the determined hero-worshipping that seems so strong a part of the modernist/romantic ethos — all that titanic-genius, lone-creator crap.

A little reality, please. We all depend on inherited forms and techniques, as well as on the work of others; we all need a culture within which to operate; we all count on and learn from friends, family, spouses, teachers, audiences, partners, associates, etc. Nobody comes up with everything.


[Y]ou’d think that by now people would be comfortable with the idea that not all artworks are the product of a single individual. An extreme example: the temples at Angkor Wat, built by thousands of hands over many centuries.


[Why is it that some people are] devoted to viewing their favorite artists more as gods than as people?

All sounds perfectly rational, doesn’t it. I mean, who, for instance, could argue with the truth of what’s stated in that second graf? Certainly not I. Problem is, it completely misses, and is in fact totally irrelevant to, the fundamental nature of creative genius, the very idea of which is repugnant, even anathema, to this leveling, ressentiment-laden (using the term in the Nietzschean sense), postmodern mindset; one that’s in opposition to the clear witness of history. That witness tells us that, without exception, every genuinely great work of art is indisputably the product of the mind of a single individual, Angkor Wat or, more pertinently, Chartres very much included, notwithstanding that “thousands of hands over many centuries [or decades]” were responsible for turning the concept of that single individual — that unique creative genius — into stone-hard reality. Citizen Kane, to use a more contemporary and closer to home example, involved the labor of dozens of talented craftsman to realize as a film. But without the ordering concept and vision of the creative genius of Orson Welles it could never have been the supreme work of cinematic art that it is, or even have existed at all. Ditto in spades the symphonies of Beethoven, or the plays of Shakespeare, or the music-dramas of Wagner. The examples are virtually inexhaustible, and the examples supporting the ressentiment-laden claims of the postmodernist levelers, nonexistent.

That “[w]e all depend on inherited forms and techniques, as well as on the work of others, [and] …need a culture within which to operate” is indisputable. The difference is that, unlike the rest of us, the mind of the creative genius alone has the capacity to assimilate it all, and, godlike, transform it — transfigure would be the more apt term — into a new and transcendent reality; one capable of providing the rest of us with our only glimpse, however fleeting, of what we, for want of a better term, call the Divine.

“The very rich are different from you and me,” said Hemingway famously. In no human domain is that more true than in the domain of the creative. The very rich — and very rare — in that domain are the creative geniuses, and they are as different from you and me as we are from a houseplant — or a god.

Get over it.

Posted in Cultural Commentary | Comments Off on Of Gods And Men

Isolde’s Liebestod — Or Is It?

Posted by acdtest on October 13, 2003

Posted in Opera | Comments Off on Isolde’s Liebestod — Or Is It?

Gehry’s Walt Disney Hall

Posted by acdtest on October 11, 2003

Gehry’s Walt Disney Hall

he current New York Review of Books has a splendid article by Martin Filler, architecture critic of The New Republic, on the genius of architect Frank Gehry, with the focus on Gehry’s just-about-to-open major new Los Angeles concert venue, Walt Disney Hall.

Writes Filler:

Since 1964, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has been housed in Welton Beckett’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, a mediocre subclassical bandbox in the Lincoln Center mode, infamous for its dreadful acoustics. The new building site, on Bunker Hill across from the Chandler Pavilion in downtown L.A., was meant to help revitalize the heart of a diffuse city that has epitomized the urban sprawl metastasizing so destructively across the American landscape.

The lingering insecurity and philistine obtuseness of Los Angeles businessmen-philanthropists were personified by one Philharmonic backer who was alarmed by Gehry’s earlier use of offbeat materials such as chain-link fencing, unfinished plywood, corrugated steel, and chicken-wire glass. He implored Disney Hall’s architecture subcommittee, “You can’t pick [him]; we’re going to be the laughingstock of the whole universe.” This occurred while a much-admired Gehry retrospective organized by Mildred Friedman of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis was installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), just down the street from the Disney site, after having traveled around the country for over a year and introducing him to a national audience.

And how did the Hall turn out aesthetically?

The glory of Gehry’s Disney Hall is that it seems to reflect, much more so than the Getty, the ideal of the Stadtkrone, or “crown of the city,” as articulated by early-twentieth-century European theorists, most eloquently the German Expressionist architect and planner Bruno Taut.[1] The visionary yet practical Taut-who designed colored-glass glaciers for the Alps and built modern workers’ housing in Berlin-saw the construction of such a building not merely as a symbolic act but as providing a place that would encourage social cohesion. That is precisely what some of the people involved in Disney Hall want it to be: not just an acoustically excellent auditorium for performances, but a catalyst that will help to make the center of Los Angeles more alive.

A feeling of contagious energy is palpable as you approach Disney Hall; it flares up on the messy downtown horizon like a silver galleon with full sails billowing in a brisk westerly breeze. This maritime impression is not unintentional. Gehry, an enthusiastic sailor, is intrigued by the suggestive shapes of wind-blown canvas, and has used expansive, taut surfaces that resemble sails-they are neither rigidly constrained nor unrestrainedly freeform. As one comes closer one sees restless but harmonious arcs of stainless steel. Their graceful curvilinear rhythms attest to the architect’s skill in conferring on earthbound buildings the gravity-defying motion of ballet and syncopation of music. Gehry is the great Gesamtkunstwerker of our times, and this is his masterpiece, surpassing his Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

And what about the Hall’s acoustics?

I was among a group of some 125 guests invited to attend the first orchestral rehearsal in Disney Hall on June 30 for an audience that also included members of Gehry’s office and Philharmonic staff, donors of $5 million and upward, and three local journalists. The orchestra’s music director since 1992, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conducted a forty-five-minute sampler of excerpts from familiar works that demonstrated a wide sonic range and allowed even nonspecialists to understand what the project’s principals were after.

It took only the first few bars of the final movement of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony to realize that Disney Hall’s acoustics are phenomenal, with a full, vibrant resonance, balanced by a limpid clarity of tone and an overall warmth. When the orchestra commenced the slow second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, one could feel the thrumming bass line through the soles of one’s feet. The effect prompted Salonen to remark that the orchestra had a “newly discovered bass octave,” the absence of which was one of the Chandler Pavilion’s worst deficiencies. Although four extra months were built into the construction schedule to allow for the tinkering that is usually needed to work out acoustical kinks before an opening, [Yasuhisa] Toyota [the acoustician] decided that none was necessary. […] The sound seemed to me sublime.

Yes indeed. Old Walt, creative genius and lover of great music that he was, would have been proud to have his name associated with such a project, and such an architect.

More here and here.

Posted in Architecture | Comments Off on Gehry’s Walt Disney Hall

A Partial Answer

Posted by acdtest on October 10, 2003

A Partial Answer

n this piece from last January, I bemoaned the current pervasive overrunning of all the arts by pop culture, and asked how it happened, and who’s fault it was. In answer to the latter question, I placed the blame squarely at the feet of the cultural elite, but had next to nothing to say concerning how it all came about. Print journalist and weblogger Terry Teachout of About Last Night addresses a not the same but nevertheless connected question, and the answer he proposes for the how of it could serve as an at least partial answer to the question I raised. Terry suggests that the how of the matter is bound up with the disintegration of the middlebrow culture that prevailed in this country for most of the first half of the 20th century.

[T]hroughout much of the 20th century, ordinary Americans were regularly exposed as a matter of course to a remarkably wide variety of high art-and not by the public schools, either, but by the commercial mass media.


[T]he middlebrow culture on which I was raised [in the 1950s and ’60s] was a common culture, based on the existence of widely shared values, and it is now splintered beyond hope of repair. Under the middlebrow regime, ordinary Americans were exposed to a wide range of cultural options from which they could pick and choose at will. They still do so, but without the preliminary exposure to the unfamiliar that once made their choices potentially more adventurous. The rise of digital information technology, with its unique capacity for niche marketing, has replaced such demographically broad-based instruments of middlebrow self-education as The Ed Sullivan Show with a new regime of seemingly infinite cultural choice. Instead of three TV networks, we have a hundred channels, each “narrowcasting” to a separate sliver of the viewing public, just as today’s corporations market new products not to the American people as a whole but to carefully balanced combinations of “lifestyle clusters” whose members are known to prefer gourmet coffee to Coca-Cola, or BMWs to Dodge pickups.

The information age offers something for anybody: Survivor for simpletons, The Sopranos for sophisticates. The problem is that it offers nothing for everybody. By maximizing and facilitating cultural choice, information-age capitalism fused with identity politics to bring about the disintegration of the common middlebrow culture of my youth.

Sounds about right to me.

Posted in Cultural Commentary | Comments Off on A Partial Answer