In the history of serial killers, no one can begin to compete with you, O Dreaded Internet. Why, you've killed: Literature, Art, the Record Industry, social interaction, decency, copyright, marriage, the Publishing Industry, Our Children's Innocence, and possibly God. You must get up very early in the morning.
And now, you've added Classical Music to your body count.
I was listening to NPR this afternoon and while it usually takes a great deal to make me roll my eyes in a car with no one present to feel my pain, my pupils spun around like freaking pinwheels as four middle-aged white people bitched and complained about how the internet and "rock music" killed classical music.
One whined that this was the "Golden Age" of classical music, but no one cares, somehow! He then went on to list the ways you can listen to classical music as evidence for the Golden Age. Which...is your problem, right there. Golden Ages are for composition, not for consumption. It's a Golden Age for iTunes, but I'm gonna have to go with Austria in the 18th-19th century, when people were, you know, writing timeless, immortal music. The problem is not the internet, it's that classical composition has migrated, and the snobs just don't want to follow. More on that in a moment.
At this point the critics--to a man print venue orchestral music critics, and the fact that the nation can host more than four of these is proof that classical music is diong just fine--began to complain that no one knows how to listen to music anymore, they just listen while driving or working, instead of "crossing Europe to hear a single performance of Mahler," as, I guess, God intended.
Allow me to take out my iPod earbuds and do my best California Girl.
It was really hard to hear you guys over the ROAR of your raging privilege. It is a good thing that we can all hear Mahler any time we please--nothing ever, ever takes the place of live music, but come on. Most of us can't afford orchestra tickets full stop, let alone crossing a continent for a single concert. And Mahler? Your problem again! You can only name Philip Glass--you know, the everyman's composer--as any kind of force in instrumental music today, yet castigate people for being too fat and stupid to take a spiritual journey across a continent to hear music that hasn't been relevant in 75 years. Beautiful, yes. I love Mahler, as I am emo and that's what emo kids do. But relevant? Hardly.
It boggles me that these morons can be paid to wring their hands over the fact that no one pays attention to their geekery over what they claim is a thriving, exciting medium, yet continually , mechanically reference the same four composers, all white, all male, all dead, all over-performed to the point where many of us cannot listen to them anymore because saturation has robbed them of all meaning. Yet they still make their living commentating on performances of these same pieces, over and over. (They also bemoaned the death of music criticism for about 20 minutes. This was particularly awesome as they chided each other about writing so that we poor commoners could understand music on a fraction of the scale they do, all the while I was muttering: just wait till I get to my blog, motherfuckers! The blogosphere has made such painful condescension on their parts unnecessary, and they can go back to being the Pick-a-Little Ladies they are. God, are all New Yorker columnists this prone to gasbaggery?)
Guys, seriously? Classical music is dead, if it is dead, because it is not longer a vigorous art form. It is not supplying what Beethoven and Mozart and Mahler and Dvorak supplied, and rock music has surpassed it in invention, open-mindedness, and experimentation. Hell, rock music features plenty of classical music. Is it sad that it has been surpassed? Maybe. But in fact, symphonic music is alive and well and bustling--just in a place that these snobs would never deign to mention.
Movie soundtracks. This is where the great composers of our time are, you pretentious fuckmittens. Jon Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman--their best work, with film subtracted, is as stirring and brazen, sorrowful and complex, technically brilliant and tonally subtle as anything in the classical section, with very, very few exceptions. Not to mention video game soundtracks--Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) is an absolute master. No accident that orchestral performances of soundtracks are among the most popular concerts. But to admit that that is where the money, and therefore the talent, has gone, is to wallow in the mud with the rest of us instead of crossing the Alps for Mahler.
And the funny thing is, if there's a young Beethoven out there, it's a skinny girl with a cello in an apartment in Minneapolis, bowing her heart out. And guess what she's doing? She's recording her work and uploading it. The next generation of composers will be born from, thrive in, and live on through the Big Bad Internet that killed all your friends.
Of course, saying NPR is out of touch is like saying Cleveland might have a pollution problem.
But seriously, it's a dangerous world--watch your babies, lock up your daughters, hide your valuables--THE INTERNETS WILL KILL AGAIN.