Re: so I'm confused

Robin (
Thu, 19 Jun 1997 16:16:56 -0800

>We're all elitist on this mailing list. If you can read and write, you
>are ipso facto a member of an elite. Besides we're talking about some
>pretty arcane stuff here - "post-serialism" and "the post-1945 European
>schools" is greek to me, overeducated as I am (OK, so I went to art
>school not music school). but the point is that these topics are only
>going to be of interest to a very small number of people, and I'm sure
>that was just as true in the glory days of public arts funding.
>(whenever that was)

Implying that these topics are only of interest to a very small number of
people is the most elitist statement of all. Most people will have an
opinion on the core issues that are discussed in forums like this as long
as they are not made to think that they are too stupid to know what they
are talking about. If you go up to the average person on the street and
ask them whether they agree that Schonberg's first String Quartet is a
radcal liberation of a purely contrapuntal polyphony, they will certainly
have no interest in the discussion. You are using terminology and
references to music that they are probably unfamiliar with. But it is easy
to engage the average person in discussions of many of the issues discussed
on this list: creativity, the definition of art and artist, whether it is
all relative or if there is some absolute. Ask them whether they think
Michael Jackson is creative, even though he uses the same musical forms and
chord progressions used by many other people. Ask them what they think
makes something creative while something else is not. Ask them whether a
stump that is encountered naturally in the forest can be art if one person
relates to it as such. Ask them if they think the Hummel figurines on
their mantel are art. Ask them what makes it art. Ask them who their
favorite artist is. Ask them why. My mother, a woman with an eighth grade
education and who believes in creationism, can be engaged in extended
discussions about art if you approach it with language and examples she can
relate to. It is not that most people are not interested in discussing
issues of art, so much as that they are made to feel that it is not part of
their lives. People are taught that the issues in art are something that
don't affect their lives, when really they face them daily, everytime they
read a book, listen to music, watch T.V., go to the movies. Art (by
someone's definition) faces them constantly.