[lit-ideas] J.S. Bach and Unchained Memories

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  • Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2008 08:09:07 +0200

On 21-Jun-08, at 10:17 PM, Eric Yost wrote:

Understand that I don't think people are becoming "stupider," but rather that their culture is becoming stupider.

I've just joined the twenty-first century (technologically speaking - thanks to a new MacBook and ADSL) and am using that technology to reminisce about cultural highlights of the mid-twentieth.

I am referring, of course, to what I have long regarded as the apex of American popular culture: the 'long-haired' (as in 'long-hair: a devotee of classical music') Bugs Bunny cartoons: 'Rabbit of Seville', 'What's Opera, Doc?', 'Baton Bunny', etc.

A personal favourite is 'Long-haired Hare' with Bugs' devastatingly accurate parody of Leopold Stokowski's (hairdo and) style of conducting sans baton. (It was a favourite of mine as a child, even though I did not understand the trepidatiously-whispered 'Leopold, Leopold' references in the cartoon until seeing a late-night television showing of the film 'The Big Broadcast of 1937' [1936]. I did not see the film 'Fantasia' until the late '70's.)

I am wondering what list members would nominate as comparable 'crossover' items of popular culture from this opening decade of the twenty-first century? (Don't restrict nominations to parodies or comedy - I for example would nominate Torsten Rausch's 'Mein Herz Brennt' [2003]- the collection of 'Orchesterlieder' based on texts and music of the group Rammstein, which I discussed some time ago on this list. I am of two minds about the Scorpions - Berlin Philharmonic sessions: they have their moments, and yet ....)

I sympathize strongly with Eric's 'culture is becoming stupider' attitude and struggle against it. What do list members say to the opinion that popular culture 'en masse' was no more intelligent in the days in which the 'long-hair' Bugs cartoons were made than it is today, and that there is (now as then) gold to be found among the dross?

Chris Bruce,
Kiel, Germany

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