Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bauerlein makes me want to break things...

I don't even know where to begin with this. There so much to cover and yet i feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about some of Bauerlein's comments. I especially like the one comparing a figure who stands up and challenges youth, like Jaime Escalante (portrayed by Edward James Olmos in the movie Stand and Deliver), to fictional characters like the principle in Ferris Beuler's Day Off. Huh? Tell me how that is even a comparison?

Overall, from what i can tell, his argument is that the youth of today (not the band) can't pick out Iraq or Israel on a map, their knowledge of history and civics, and they spend way too much time watching TV? Is that it? I know, I know...i'm sure there is more to it, but as i was reading the article, I couldn't help but thinking 'people don't know this stuff because it's not meaningful to them'. Where have i heard that before?

But I'd like to focus on a small portion of his argument that deals with the arts. So, apparently 1 in 10 have attended a jazz concert. I buy that. Whens the last time you went to a jazz concert? It's been at least 5 years for me, and i really don't consider Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to be purely jazz. Jazz shows are stuffy in my opinion, while i love to listen to it, i find myself trying to figure out what the musicians are doing rather than just listening and enjoying. I think Frank Zappa said it best when he said "Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny". That's about the best way i can describe a jazz show.

But, when is the last time you went to a rock and roll show at a local club, bar, or all ages venue? Now, let me just say, i'm very biased when it comes to this. I've been attending DIY shows and playing in bands since 1991. But how is this any different than attending a jazz concert? Are the musicians no good? I'd beg to differ. I realize that they are two different genres, but to consider one form of music to be superior than another is ludicrous. But to me, here is the biggest difference between a DIY show or a jazz show: DIY shows are, more than not, put together by kids for kids. They are all ages. They get kids involved in everything from 'zine making, bands, promotion, photography, and political and social activism (e.g. vegatarianism/veganism, civil rights, anti-drinking and drug campaigns, etc). It all grows from this larger community of people--a community of practice. I can say this: Had i not been exposed to this community, i can't even imagine where my life would be at this point. It's a pretty good bet that i would not be attending a graduate program and getting a Ph.D.

So, Mr. Bauerlein...maybe you should ask: What's the last concert or DIY show you attended? I bet you get a better ratio than 1 in 10.

Classical music is no better. 1 in 12. But come on now, how many times can you hear Beethoven and Mozart? How about some modern composers works? Now, i know my argument doesn't hold much water here in Bloomington, but, i'm doubting the stats Mr. Bauerlein presents are from areas that have one of the, if not the, top rated music schools in the world. My argument is the same as the jazz one.

Ballet? No? How about going to a dance club? Or watch "So You Think You Can Dance". Does that count? How is it different?

1 in 4 go to a museum. I'd say thats pretty good actually. Do you know how expensive it is to go to a museum?

1 in 40 play a classical musical instrument? Why does it have to be a classical instrument? Because the guitar has evolved into the electric realm automatically discredits it's importance? I would disagree. Restate the question and take out the 'classical' wording.

So the numbers in attendance of performing arts have dropped. How about the number of those performing, writing, directing, and/or animating their creations and putting them on Youtube?

Mr. Bauerlein, your arguments are soft and hint at cultural superiority on your part.


  1. Love your post, but feel the need to point out that I've been to TONS more jazz shows/clubs/bars than rock shows. Of course, I AM a culturally superior being, so this makes sense . . . :)

  2. Loved your post...I'm having a really REALLY difficult time getting through his *%@^! I'm am so livid at this guy...his stats and arguments are weak and I just get angrier as I read on! I must return to my happy place in the Ito article!

  3. what the hell? My original comment is gone.