Cultural Monday has arrived again and we cross the Atlantic and land in the British Isles for the piece to follow.
The thing is entitled "Marxism and Art," but I am not sure that is really apropos. What it takes up is the question of what we find as valuable in art (in this case song), what we find as protest, and all that rot. I like the approach because I have this hang up about those who think only certain types of music, often folk music, and only certain types of song are really worth listening to or playing from their sanctimonious standpoint of "progressive" politics. Those folk can't conceive of value in some Goth song, for god's sake. If it ain't being sung by some guy in a flannel shirt or some women with long hair streaming down her back, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, well, they say, I don't want to hear about it, especially not if you are claiming it has some political worth. I see this sort of reaction as hogwash.
Sticking song, sticking art in some dogmatic box is horrendous, in my view. Claiming that music, song, art, cannot convey something valuable unless it meets some preconceived rule of political worth is, as the author of the piece below writes, "... to miss the value of song and other art whose radical political potential is not necessarily in its content or “message” but perhaps in what its doing stylistically or maybe just even in how to makes you feel on that basic human level." The hang up on the message and the messenger is what turns me way off on these people...and ends up actually and probably biasing me against their type of music which they place on a pedestal and call it folk, or women's music, or protest music, or what have you.
I could name dozens of songs even from the Big Hair era of metal (which i loved) that stir the soul, fire the imagination, make you want to get up and dance, and even, every now and then, say something to boot. But, OMG, these Stalinist of political music scream popular music can't have real "value", since after all it isn't blatantly political (and because lots of people, who don't even consider themselves "political" or working class, or movement types, or wear work boots, actually enjoy it). Left wing political art snobs is what these smug progressive really are who feel the need to tell the rest of us how what we like is just commercial while what they like, is obviously the real thing. It has to be becasue it is dull, boring, and they "dig" it.
Feel free to "dig" it to your heart's content. It isn't for me to tell you what to like. Just don't lecture me about it.
I love Rock and Roll (and here is a confession, I love lots of today's Country music, as well). I find worth in it not just because it makes me feel good (which it does, and which is enough), but because in some way it conveys something, be it human struggle (individual or collective), human and everyday life as most people live it, love, yes, love, even, sometimes liberation. It doesn't have to woo me with some direct political content to get me to want to hear it, move to it. That isn't necessary...not at all. It doesn't have to be sung or strummed by some lonely figure from the back of a railroad car or some faux working class venue (generally inhabited by non working class people). I just want to feel something, you know what I mean, I hope.
Anyway, I am descending to gibberish because I still don't have the hang of what I am supposed to write on this cultural Monday thing...and because I am not willing to spend hours and hours on what I write...just want to get something across, that's all.
Help me out here, Bill...
The following is from Workers Liberty. Again, I like the analysis, but even it goes off too far into the world of "what is art" for me. Why all the academics... why all the worry... just play the damn music.
What can you expect though from something titled...