Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Cornelis has posted an exerpt from Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, dealing with music. The chapter titled Music: A Runaway Train on the Rails of Adolescence is a searing attack on rock music, declaring it all pornophony. Following Plato, Bloom sees our music as the mark of a disordered society. Many have, like Eve Tushnet, attacked this as an overgeneralization. Nobody I've read, however, acknowledges the obvious pornophony that's all over the music industry, say Nine Inch Nails' I Want to **** you like an Animal or even less salient works like U2's Discotheque.

Complaining about raunch in pop culture has all the effect of beating back the Pacific with a table sponge. But if virtue is indeed habituated, listening needs as much formation as any other human faculty, which means subjecting it to the right training, the right music. Indeed, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that, just as pornography dulls the person to real sexual intimacy, pop music enervates the person's capacity to enjoy all but the most exaggerated tunes.

No comments: