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Yvonne do you dislike classical music itself? I mean the music?

 

Right.

 

I was going to say that, with a lot of rock music, the sexism is inherent to the work. It's not a function of incidental means of production: the work itself is sexist.

 

You can't say that about most instrumental classical music. Sure, some program pieces might have sexist programs. But on the whole, the work itself is neutral.

 

So to reject the work itself, because you don't like certain aspects about its means of production, seems to me to miss the point.

 

Here's an analogy: at least in terms of gender distribution of participants, recording engineering is an incredibly sexist profession. I have a friend who's one of the very few working female recording engineers in the country.

 

So is anybody going to have a "distaste" for listening to records because they are created in a manner that can easily be perceived to be (because it is) sexist?

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I think the point is that lots of things are sexist. So why the hostility toward classical music specifically?

 

Because its decline is thought to be symptomatic of some general apocalyptic crisis of enlightened human values. A claim which invites skepticism when made for any high art form, and which looks particularly thin when you actually review the music's audience and the industry's practices.

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But it goes beyond that, in this thread. People aren't just making your argument. They're going further.

 

Why is it reasonable to have a "distaste" for classical music because you believe women and minorities are underrepresented in its production, when you happily dine out in New York restaurants?

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I think the point is that lots of things are sexist. So why the hostility toward classical music specifically?

 

Because its decline is thought to be symptomatic of some general apocalyptic crisis of enlightened human values. A claim which invites skepticism when made for any high art form, and which looks particularly thin when you actually review the music's audience and the industry's practices.

This seems often to be the case with decline and fall rhetoric.

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Why is it reasonable to have a "distaste" for classical music because you believe women and minorities are underrepresented in its production, when you happily dine out in New York restaurants?

 

I hope that's not addressed to me, because it's far from what I've been saying.

 

Personally, I think it all started to go to rot when people stopped dressing for dinner. Now, you may say that only the upper classes dressed for dinner, but the clothes themselves are just clothes. They aren't inherently elitist or racist. You should value the clothes in and for themselves, and remark on the fact that since we stopped wearing them, the global economy has been going to pot.

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But it goes beyond that, in this thread. People aren't just making your argument. They're going further.

 

Why is it reasonable to have a "distaste" for classical music because you believe women and minorities are underrepresented in its production, when you happily dine out in New York restaurants?

Because we are just a bunch of conflicted hypocrits?

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But they can't go acting "holier than thou" (to coin a phrase) when they don't apply their standards evenly.

I think it's a wholly reasonable response when classical music is held up for admiration, not because the tunes are good and the playing accomplished, but because it mirrors the just society.

 

Nobody has been making such inflated claims for restaurants or bluegrass or abstract expressionism.

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Why is it reasonable to have a "distaste" for classical music because you believe women and minorities are underrepresented in its production, when you happily dine out in New York restaurants?

 

I hope that's not addressed to me, because it's far from what I've been saying.

 

Personally, I think it all started to go to rot when people stopped dressing for dinner. Now, you may say that only the upper classes dressed for dinner, but the clothes themselves are just clothes. They aren't inherently elitist or racist. You should value the clothes in and for themselves, and remark on the fact that since we stopped wearing them, the global economy has been going to pot.

OTOH, some dress casually in very expensive and stylish ways.

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I think it's a wholly reasonable response when classical music is held up for admiration, not because the tunes are good and the playing accomplished, but because it mirrors the just society.

 

Nobody has been making such inflated claims for restaurants or bluegrass or abstract expressionism.

 

Since I agree with your premise, clearly the only reason I'm arguing with you is work avoidance. (And believe me, it's pretty horrible work.)

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I mean, to be clear, anyone can feel whatever "distaste" they want.

 

But they can't go acting "holier than thou" (to coin a phrase) when they don't apply their standards evenly.

Because that would be such unusual behavior here on MF. ;)

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As we do high art and decline and fall, the good marxist who wrote my signature line - which I adopted a couple of years ago - does seem pretty spot on.

 

 

I wish I believed the world would be a better place if more people listened to classical music. I guess I don't if I'm honest with myself. I believe in art as a vehicle for personal change rather than social change, but if we are lucky and get enough personal change maybe we get some social change too. But Stalin died listening to the slow movement of the Mozart A major piano concerto (interesting, played by Maria Yudina, one of the few people to openly snub him and live), and we all know about Hitler's taste, so I don't really know what to believe. Ultimately, I feel the creative part of my work is almost selfish - pursuing an obsession as far as I can take it - but teaching is a genuine way to offer something worthwhile to others.

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But it goes beyond that, in this thread. People aren't just making your argument. They're going further.

 

Why is it reasonable to have a "distaste" for classical music because you believe women and minorities are underrepresented in its production, when you happily dine out in New York restaurants?

The distaste, surely, is for the inflated claims that are being made for classical music's wider cultural importance.

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