Academics and Art Snobs, Get Off Your High Horse

Because so-called “legitimate” art doesn’t exist, and I’m not sure that it ever did.

In music school I was always fed the idea that popular music is unimportant because it’s purpose is to make money. It is not as sophisticated as dead composers’ music. I assume that it was the same drill in other disciplines.

But come on, it’s illegitimate because it’s meant to make money? You have to do better than that. Sure, “manufactured” art may be of lesser quality, may have a misguided purpose, but tagging it as relatively meaningless because it’s meant to make money is the pot calling the kettle black.

Madonna can release an album, tour the country, and it’s fake. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau does the same thing and it’s more legitimate?

“Well, Fischer-Dieskau rehearsed and practiced this material, it’s his life’s work!” You can say the same thing about Madonna. And Madonna even wrote the songs…or got somebody to do it for her. Point is, she’s got one chance to make it good. How many Schubert recordings are out there?

I don’t mean to discount the craftsmanship and skill of Fisher-Dieskau, but if academics and snobs are so concerned about the art-form, then why release any kind of product? Why is the state of recorded classical music today largely made up of big names like Beethoven and Mozart? Why are public performances of classical music mostly material before 1900? Because they sell! It has nothing to do with the progression of the art form.

Troubadours didn’t tour strictly because they loved to play. They toured so that they could milk a town for as much as they could get and move on.

And it’s of no surprise. The art culture today is one of trying to sell-out as fast as you can. Turn on American Idol and you’ll see it in action. Go to websites and note the Adsense advertisements. Try to see how many podcasts you listen to today that didn’t have sponsors a year ago, but do now.

It’s not that people don’t love what they do. It’s that people believe that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing for money. And it’s ridiculous to expect anybody to do anything/everything without some kind of compensation.

Just because art is done for a commercial purpose does not make it illegitimate. If it did, then almost nothing would be legitimate art.