Tuesday, June 05, 2018

A culture grey-out is in progress

A grey-out is in progress which, if it continues unchecked, will fill our human skies with smog of the phony and cut the families of men off from a vision of their own cultural constellations. A mismanaged, over-centralized electronic communication system is imposing a few standardized, mass-produced, and cheapened cultures everywhere.

The danger inherent in the process is clear. Its folly, its unwanted waste is nowhere more evident than in the field of music. What is happening to the varied musics of mankind is symptomatic of the swift destruction of culture patterns all over the planet.

One can already sense the oppressive dullness and psychic distress of those areas where centralized music industries, exploiting the star system and controlling the communication system, put the local musician out of work and silence folk song, tribal ritual, local popular festivities and regional culture. It is ironic to note that during this century, when folklorists and musicologists were studying the varied traditions of the peoples of the earth, their rate of disappearance accelerated. This worries us all, but we have grown so accustomed to the dismal view of dead or dying cultures on the human landscape, that we have learned to dismiss this pollution on the human environment as inevitable, and even sensible, since it is wrongly assumed that the weak and unfit among musics and cultures are eliminated in this way.
That extract is from Alan Lomax's startlingly prescient 'An Appeal for Cultural Equity' published in 1972 in the World of Music. Alan Lomax is seen above; do click on this link and read the whole article as one of his essays is worth a thousand tweets. If any confirmation is needed that a technology-driven cultural grey-out has well and truly arrived, it is provided by composer and writer Colin Eatock's recent thoughtful essay from which the following is taken:
Expertise is no longer much valued in the cultural sphere; rather, it seems that the currently prevailing belief is that any one person’s opinion is as good as any other’s. Furthermore, if critical judgements are acknowledged at all, they are the judgements of the masses, expressed in economic terms: what is best is what sells the most.
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1 comment:

Pliable said...

'Radio host Nicola Savino told listeners that the human race was "galloping towards extinction"' - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-44356361