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February 7th, 2007, 19:06
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Also, and this is more direct - what do teachers and critics have to do with it? Sure, research and teaching and exploration of art is part of things, but ultimately art is about art.
Teachers are merely passing along the "enlightened judgements" of the critics, so they're not really at fault. Guilty of aiding and abetting, perhaps, but no felonies.

The critics, on the other hand, have no such excuse. First off, there's the question of expertise and competence. Are the critics at NME truly fit to judge today's music? They are certainly influential on the direction of pop music. Really, they're sheep leading the sheep. And to go relativistic and say the critics are mirroring the "current whims of society" is bunk. That means they're flailing around just like the rest of us, which pretty much voids their position of "expert".

It really comes down to hypocrisy, which is why I get so wound up about it. While we can try to apply some objectivity to a critique (technical competence can be measured to some extent, and even something fuzzy like innovation can be researched and documented a bit), in the end music, and all art, is a subjective subject. By definition, that means that true critical analysis is impossible and anyone claiming to be a "reknown expert in the field" is selling snake oil.

So what to do? You can whittle the field a bit objectively, but after that, picking out "respected, important art" boils down to little more than someone pulling a name out of a hat and convincing the sheep to nod their heads. It's Machiavelli applied to music.
Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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