Monday, June 24, 2024
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Scruton on pop music – poison for the soul


It is not hard to see why Roger Scruton is the bête noire of the Left, not when you see how he challenges their core cultural assumptions in every sphere, one of the foremost of which is music. Pop music, he says, far from being an unquestionable common good is poison for the soul.

He is not talking about, jazz, folk music or even Broadway musicals but about the daily assault that we are all subjected to when pop music is pumped out invisibly into public spaces – a ‘pollution that poisons not the body but the soul’. The tyranny of sound that is the inevitable background to the daily business of consumption.

You can watch his elegant dissection here.

You can also read his further thoughts on the cultural significance of ‘pop’ and why young people, cut adrift from our high culture, have become so difficult to teach, here.

This is a flavour of it:

‘The immense difficulty that confronts the university teacher of the humanities in our times is not unconnected to the fact that the gap between the culture acquired spontaneously by the young, and that which we strive to impart in the university, is so cavernously wide that the teacher is apt to look ridiculous as he perches on his theatrical pinnacle and beckons the youth across to it. Indeed, it is easier to make the passage the other way, to join your young audience in the enchanted field of popular entertainment, and turn your intellectual guns on the stately ruin across the chasm. Hence the vogue for deconstruction, Marxian analysis, feminism, and all the other intellectual and pseudo-intellectual devices whereby the old aesthetic canon can be undermined, and its authority destroyed.’

All is connected – even pop music – to the closing of the Western mind to knowledge and understanding.

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Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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