Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Further thoughts on bohemian snobbery

1. For unrelated personal reasons, I seem to be in a negative, aggressive frame of mind right now. Doesn't mean I don't mean what I say.

2. I bring up my negativity because it occurred to me that the opposite of snobbery is enthusiasm. & I note that I don't feel much positive enthusiasm at the moment. Except for some of my old stand-bys. (Jimmy Durante! Sarah Vaughan!)

3. A lot of anti-Rockist Pop partisans are snobs too, despite their enthusiasm. They often put their enthusiasm in negative terms. It's gradually occurred to me that I had not felt much intellectual succor from the Pop partisans in my enthusiasm for non-Rock pop of the past (Barry Manilow, Ferrante & Teicher) because the Pop partisan theorists tend to be radical Now-ists. Only Now counts. And they often put their Now-ism in snobbish terms, in aggressive mirroring of Boomer nostalgist rhetoric.

4. What set me off about the Dylan documentary last night was a live clip of the charming goof song "Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat," which Dylan performed without joy or zest -- ever the too-cool hipster. What a drag.

5. What's poser-ish about bohemianism is not the artiness, but the effacement of middle-class-ness. Yes, I'm an authenticist about this, and will say it doesn't apply to bohemians from blue collar backgrounds. (Note: The blue collar bohemians of my friendship are devoid of the anti-middle-class taint, because they know the value of money.) What bugs me about Dylan's bohemianism is his overt disdain for the middle class, when he pretended not to come from it and then became very rich. In other words, you can shove your disdain up your nostril, rich guy.

6. Nothing wrong with personal nostalgia; it gets oppressive when the nostalgist generalizes from his or her personal experience. In other words, I have no problem with "I love the Monkees"; but the sentiment, "the music of my youth was far superior to what has followed" barfs me. Again, it's a question of enthusiasm; or positivity versus negativity. "I love the past" is fine, couched positively; put negatively -- "the present sucks by contrast" -- dragola.

Good morning! My, aren't we in fine fettle!

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