File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_1995/nietzsche_Nov9.95, message 2

Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 08:55:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Music, Nietzsche, Rhythm

On Wed, 8 Nov 1995, Babette Babich wrote:

> Thanks for sharing your advice on how to like Wagner without
> really trying

What would you like me to have done? Written an instruction manual?

> Why bother?
> Wagner was in fact little more than heavy metal for his own era.

Somewhat true. I happen to like Wagner, and not like heavy metal. The 
difference is, Wagner took Beethoven's musical theory to the next logical step,
and provided the basis for what was to become film, twelve-tone music, 
Artaud, etc. Heavy metal doesn't seem to have much going for it except the
worst aspects of our culture, and no future beyond next year's fad.

> It is our fascination with tradition (AKA wealth, culture, and\]
> snobdom) which keep us in awe of Opera. 

Well, let's all throw out our Nietzsche books, then! The guy's been dead 
for 95 years, how long are we going to keep studying this outdated, 
elitist stuff? Nobody reads him anyway except these college professors who 
spend all their time worshipping dead white guys and picking up their 
paychecks for spouting bullshit all day! Let's spend all our time with 
"living" philosophies! Heil Hubbard!

> I work in close proximity
> g'rad neban
> to Lincoln Center and I watch society walking by almost every evening
> These are the folks who love Wagner, or the opportunity as
> N. put it,
> to be narcotized

As I said, I like a little narcotic now and then. As someone else put it, 
so, apparently, did Nietzsche. Even he, the famed despiser of "Parsifal," 
admitted after finally hearing the prelude, "I felt as though there was a
voice speaking to me that I had not heard in a long time."

> for several hours while sitting in seats that
> tell the world (their friends/enemies) who they are (what
> they are worth) wearing clothes that do the same, and engaging
> in chat during intermissions to drive those latter points home
> to anyone who failed to get it on the first pass.

A generalization, as accurate and as incomplete as any other. I've been 
to Lincoln Center many times, and I don't do these things. I do try to 
dress decently, out of respect for the performers.

> It's not a living language.  What can I say?  It is an elite
> one however.

Unlike Nietzsche, the great lover of the masses, I assume?

What is living or not living differs for each person. For me it is much 
more alive than heavy metal music, which strikes me as a mental deadening 
technique. Several people I know who enjoy classical music have never 
even been to a concert, not being capable of affording one, and yet 
still seem able to enjoy it using their un-elitist CD players and wearing 
jeans and T-shirts. Just because Wagner inspires a certain reaction in you 
does not mean that I have to feel the same way. I suppose Beethoven and Mozart
are dead elitists, too? I hope you're happy with your "Cats" and your MTV.  

> Snob is as snob does.

Personally, I don't really enjoy going to concerts as a social experience,
however the acoustics are still superior at a live concert than any 
recording can give you. I am not fabulously wealthy, I live quite a modest
existence, I just happen to like classical music. Is it an elitist taste? 
Perhaps. And I could give two shits. Whatever our egalitarian culture deems as
"living" usually strikes me as being mindless, true opium for the masses. I 
prefer to take my inspiration from the grand masters of the past rather than
the constipated money-grubbers of the present, at least as far as music is
concerned. What anyone else does or how they judge me is kinderspiel to me
(yes, I know a bit of German too, whatever that's worth in this discussion). I
only seek to construct a life for myself that I am satisfied with, in true
Nietzschean form. One final note: the Communists tried to practice "music 
for the masses," but quickly gave up when they realized that, as elitist as
Shostakovitch and Prokofiev's music was, people seemed to enjoy listening to
it much more than party anthems and worker's music.

John Morgan, Research Secretary   "Poetry must be conceived as a violent  
The University of Michigan         attack on unknown forces, to reduce and
Alzheimer's Disease Research       prostrate them before man."
Center (MADRC)                            --F. T. Marinetti,                          Futurist Manifesto 1909

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