Wednesday, November 09, 2005

hoarding and lording

Stephen Metcalf anatomizes the rock snob in Slate.

Snobbery is as woven into the human fabric as the sexual and aggressive impulses it seeks to refine. It's no accident, then, that Rock Snobbery emerged just as young people started dressing in blue jeans and pretending that social class didn't matter. Adolescents simply found novel ways—ways more acceptable to their newly egalitarian pretenses—to marginally differentiate themselves from one another. Musical taste was one such method, and for a small but increasingly demented subset of the population (interestingly, almost exclusively boys), having good taste in, and encyclopedic knowledge about, rock music became an almost Ahab-like obsession. During the heyday of rock and roll, when everyone
was aspiring to be at least a little rock snobby, this irritating geek-pedant wasn't so easily dismissed. But the times they have a-changed. Young people (or the lucky among them) are learning to flaunt the blandishments of their elevated social class without embarrassment; rock music as a going concern is next to dead; the Rock Snob has ossified into a vaguely pitiful cultural type. He now stands, that Einst├╝rzende Neubauten rerelease tucked under his arm, awaiting your abuse.
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