Paging Camille Paglia… Paging Camille Paglia…

Mark Steyn, in the November issue of _The New Criterion_ and in homage to the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Closing of the American Mind, updates Allan Bloom’s condemnation of all rhythm-and-beat-related-music:

Twenty Years Ago Today.

If you disagree (in part or whole) with (both premises and conclusions in) Bloom’s missive against the genres of Jazz and Rock, as I do, it’s still worth your time to read how Steyn tries to reinvigorate Bloom’s critique. Instead of simply dismissing Rock as a pernicious infection of all-things-Dionysian in American culture (as critics like Roger Kimball continue to insist is the case), Steyn explains that it is/was specific attitudes of artists, critics, and consumers in/of the Rock&Roll Industry that makes the Rock-music-era harmful. Thus, Steyn’s Bloom isn’t trashing every Rock song, album, and band, but is pessimistic about the ethos of the American Rock&Roll epoch (again, as created/defined by Bloom).

I’m still not moved by this argument because there are many, many other factors that have contributed to Rock’s importance (and decline, and death) and Bloom and Steyn are silent on these issues (and how they impact their original thesis). Plus, contra some writers like Roger Kimball, I have no problem with daily contact with Dionysian frenzy… which, I guess, leaves me with a lot of untutored passions… oh, well.

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