Monday, September 22, 2008

Classical Music: Stuff White People Like

I found this post on "Stuff White People Like" another blog I read from time to time. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Stuff White People Like is pure satire, poking fun at liberal, upper-middle class white culture. Each post lists a new item white people supposedly like- Barak Obama, diversity, apple products, etc.- and goes on to explain it as if writing to an outsider trying to understand white culture.

Anyway, entry #108 is "Appearing to enjoy Classical Music". It describes how white people don't actually like classical music, but like to see themselves as "the type of people who would enjoy it" in order to impress other white people. Thus, they go to one or two concerts in a given season and maintain a very limited knowledge of a few key composers while living in fear of "being called out for a lack of familiarity with the early works of Antonin Dvorak."

The whole post reminded me of Levine's discussion of the elites who set classical music up as "high culture" in order to maintain their own social status. He also explains how they propagated the idea that one must possess a huge knowledge base in order to really enjoy classical. Clearly, these stereotypes are still alive and well!

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