Have cultural standards gotten lower?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Wintermute, May 19, 2013.

  1. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    There isn't one cultural standard that is all encompassing. You'll find "trash" and "treasure" depending upon where you look and what perspective you have. Kanye West is adored by many, enough to make him fabulously wealthy. Same for many other rap artists. I can't relate to it. I find the music mostly offensive and sometimes degenerate. Compared to some classic rock legends, Kanye looks like an amateur. But then, the people that like Kanye are bound to think classical music is crap and "old people's music."


    I have to admit that at times I feel like our "average" cultural standard has slipped, by the proliferation of explicit sexual overtones in almost everything we see today. Nothing appears to be sacred. What it is, is the degree of attention garnered in a particular corner of culture. Thankfully this does not represent the rest of society. Yet...

    Looking at classical music is an interesting indication of things. The reduction in musical departments in schools plus cultural factors have produced fewer people who appreciate classical music, relative to earlier times. Read THIS for more info. Seems like Europe has more active cultural outlets for classical music than in the USA. Anyway, it's a certain refinement involved that is lost in simpler musical forms. It's a real shame, as it seems likely that classical music will become a real obscurity in the coming decades, unless something changes. If it does vanish, that will be a serious loss to a true cultural treasure.
     
  2. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Heh. My sweetie was a fusion drummer and guitar player--the kind of musician that rock fans would approach & say, "You play really well, for a jazz guy" and jazz fans would approach & say, "You play really well, for a rock guy." :lol: He was so good that none other than John McLaughlin commended his skills.

    I once expressed to him my frustration with not having a music background & therefore not being able to say *why* I liked something. His response? "I don't care why you like it, I just care that you like it." He loved playing live.

    Contrast a friend of his who was even better a guitarist than sweetie was. He is totally frustrated with the lack of musical knowledge the masses possess. As a result, he sits in his apartment creating tapestries of sound that a select few (his 600 You Tube followers) will ever hear. It's his thing, and more power to him, but I think he's missing the point of the joy of music.
     
  3. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    *applause*

    There is a huge resurgence in artisanal crafts, & much of that has been fueled by the internet. On my home turf, this has expanded economic opportunity for a rural community that is, by its own admission, "3 hours from everything." Cheeses and jams and yarn and micro-brews and organic pasta sauces and maple candy and goat-milk soap--there is a growing realization in rural America that pairing old skills with contemporary marketing will save a whole bunch of tiny communities, one small business at a time.

    And much of this is fueled by a growing population of do-it-yourselfers. Ravelry is the TrekBBS for fiber people, launched in 2007 and has now has 3 million members world-wide. Young people are the driving force, both in taking traditional skills and creatively adapting them, and in pushing us grannies to expand our own vision.

    We are in a golden era for needlework and it is worldwide. There is *art* being made out of fiber all over the world, and the internet is facilitating and driving innovation and creativity and mad, mad, mad skills.

    Of course,this is frequently overlooked by the art establishment. ;)
     
  4. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I've often experienced that myself. I've gotten weird looks and people saying, "wtf is this crap?" Just because it's so outside their comfort zone about what they're used to. It's disappointing to hear that, especially with bands that you're big fans of. It's sometimes good to go out and expand those boundaries. Funnily enough, I've often introduced some American friends to some of my favourite Canadian bands, and it's that kind of reaction I've gotten, because it's just so different to what they're used to. This is mostly due to cultural differences in music.
     
  5. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, hah well you know I am tremendously slack when it comes to recording things. I love the songwriting process, and I do it constantly. I'm always writing new material and refining things I have been playing, but I am terrible at getting them down because I find the process of recording to be so tedious.

    So I write stuff, and spend months refining it and adding little inflections in etc until I can play it just the way I want, then I get bored of it and move onto a new one. So of the probably hundreds of songs I have written in the last decade alone, I have recorded precisely one. And I can remember, at the current count, three. :lol:

    Most of them are down and buried somewhere in the thousands of hours of live recordings of my jam sessions with friends that my drummer friend insists on keeping, it's just a question of digging them out when I finally get round to recording again, they'll come right back to me when I try to play them. And I plan to buy a standalone 8 track machine instead of recording on my computer, because I am told it's much much easier. I'll keep you posted.

    As far as recommendations go, i'll pass on one from Australis I got a few months back which has frankly blown me away, called Black Country Communion, a band featuring the blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and members of Deep Purple and Dream Theater. Really good stuff, if you are into classic rock.
     
  6. Davros

    Davros Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would say cultural standards have expanded.
     
  7. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    It is a mixed bag. Of course popular culture is full of hitherto unknown crap and of course kids who play with their smartphone all day will not develop decent reading skills ... but then again Western societies are also becoming more civilized, at least interior violence is in decline, and people are more informed on many things than in previous times.
    So yeah, I am neither buying the conservative whining about the "good old days" nor the naive pseudo-progressive story about inevitable progress and history being a libear upward trend.
     
  8. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is the sort of question that can only be answered at a certain time in a certain place.

    Midnight in Paris, in case you're wondering.
     
  9. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. Thank god.
     
  10. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Cultural standards change. Thank god. So there's no empirical way to evaluate whether have gotten lower (or higher). Other than blind prejudice. I love rap and opera, Trek and Racine. Others may not. No biggie.
     
  11. Rincewiend

    Rincewiend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True, it allows for people like Kanye West but also, thankfully, for some-one like Pharrell Williams...
    I'm closer to 40 than to 39 right now, but i still discover plenty of new music that i like by bands/artists that got more exposure in the last 3 decades...
    The 90's,the 00's and the 10's have produced plenty of good artists/bands, but, besides one or two songs that make it into the charts, they don't appeal that much to the general audience...
     
  12. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    I know what you mean-- getting stuff out of your head into the world can be a chore.

    I assume that one must be "Misunderstood." :D

    Awesome. You might want to take a look at this place. I have a friend who has a cool folk band (Cartoon) who uses them to self publish. Seems like a good outlet.

    That sounds great; I will track them down. For some good old-school modern Rock, you might want to check out this band-- it's fronted by another friend's daughter.
     
  13. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks RJ, I can't listen to the music at work, so i'll check that out tonight. I like the look of the video though.

    I like the look of that CD Baby too, although I imagine you would need to professionally record if you wnt to have a chance of selling stuff. The 8 track machine should be good, but is probably only up to the quality for demoing stuff.

    And no, Misunderstood was an old band track, I did write it, but that is 14 years old now. We recorded it on a windows 95 PC! :lol:

    Here is my most recent effort, recorded especially for the TNZ denizens to celebrate the coming apocalypse last year, had a bit of trouble with the vocal levels, but other than that I quite like the recording:

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUsYj0zmd6Q[/yt]
     
  14. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Standards of Culture only lower when expression is barred, prevented or limited, yes?
     
  15. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    They have a bunch of good stuff. They sell through Amazon-- possibly iTunes, too, though I don't know.

    That I don't know. My friend rented a studio for his album. But your stuff certainly sounds fine to me.

    Wow. It sounds fine to me. I still have it and still listen to it.

    Very nice. I don't see why that can't be released on CD or as a digital download.

    If you mean "barred, prevented or limited" by authorities, then I would disagree. That's certainly one reason, but the Arts can also be invigorated by repression. As I said before, History is rife with cultures going through alternating Golden Ages and Dark Ages-- that's why those terms exist. It's cyclic. Right now we happen to be in the trough-- another crest will come someday.
     
  16. Rincewiend

    Rincewiend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    In Your Opinion

    That you don't like certain mainstream music doesn't mean it's a Cultural Dark Age...
    Hyperbole much BTW?!?
    Really, there is plenty of good music hitting the mainstream, sometimes better than The Doors or The Beatles(IMO)...
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Most popular art is forgotten. There were hundreds, if not thousands of plays performed at the Dionysia in Athens, but only a handful survived the test of time. And even fewer popular novels are remembered. (Yes, the ancient Greeks had a kind of novel.)

    What this tells us is not that popular culture is constantly changing, much less progressing. What this tells us is that popular culture is basically not much good. It tries to hit the commercial sweet spot between challenging and overfamiliar. The cheaper productions costs for commercial (aka "popular") art of al kinds means a flood of more mediocrity. Older people who are more familiar with the tricks that commercial art uses tend to value it less. This appears to be the main cause of complaints that standards are lowering, but the increasing mass of mediocrity probably plays a role too. And inexperience tends to lead younger people to overvalue their first exposures.

    Incidentally, the generation gap phenomenon is far more about resistance to changes in social mores, rather than directly about art of any kind. Conservatives are more into "kids are rotten" than "kids don't know good art." I don't think anyone here is even tacitly arguing this. I plan on ignoring any such suggestions myself.

    The really interesting question is how we could know if standards were really changing. There was not too long ago an effort to objectively study the variety in pop music. As I recall it counted things like types of instruments, changes in key, length of phrases, etc. The results unambiguously indicated that the Sixties were the high point for variety, while the trend since has been for an ever decreasing variety, especially for the most popular songs.

    And it is a matter of historical record that people like Ausonius conceived themselves to be artists on par with those of their past. Yes, it is possible for cultural standards to decline. Yes, it is possible for this to be passed off as mere change. No, it is not possible to deride the questioner as a scummy codger who has the temerity to talk as if he weren't innately worthless.

    When I was a kid I didn't think I had a right to walk on somebody else's lawn. Reflect.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  18. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Nope. These are just the realities of history.

    All very good points, particularly the part about young people overvaluing their early exposures to the arts. We all have stuff from our youth that we love that we now know is garbage-- that's nostalgia. But, as I said, there's no problem with liking something even though it's bad or not liking something even though it's good-- as long as you're aware of the difference.

    Also interesting is the part about the study of popular music that confirmed that the 60s were a high point. I wonder how many years or decades the study included, because it is consistent with the 40-year-cycle model. And perhaps the reason that the cycle seemed to be a no-show for the Millennium is related to Pingfah's point about the availability of the esoteric on the Internet, plus increasing corporate greed and exploitation-- almost the weaponization of pop culture. I think Gibson was right in All Tomorrow's Parties about the commercialization of counterculture; only instead of the Bridge, we have the Internet.
     
  19. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    [yt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO_vwvNK4Ic&list=RD02zvNw0P5ZMbA[/yt] [yt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvNw0P5ZMbA[/yt]
     
  20. Mary Ann

    Mary Ann Knitting is logical Premium Member

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