Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seg-ment-ed Soc-ie-ty

David Brooks had an interesting column on the segmenting of popular/rock music in our current society a couple of days ago. The column is at the following web address:

Brooks concludes that there is increased fragmentation in the music world and in our society and there is a loss of intergenerational togetherness in music today. While I agree that there is (and has been for a while) more fragmentation in the world of music and popular culture (magazines, etc) now, it is easy to get fragmented on the issue.

Now it is so much easier for people to produce and distribute a variety of sounds and views through the Internet and other electronic means, so it is natural to have fragmentation and it is not such a "negative." Our technology has made it easier to connect with one another, while also fragmenting us at the same time. As one letter to the editor after the Brooks column mentioned "[m]odern recording technologies allow virtually anyone to record music and make it available to listeners worldwide, a privilege once enjoyed exclusively by large record companies. As a result, major record companies have increasingly less control over what gets heard, while consumers have increasingly more." Another letter hailed the current rock, stating that "[t]he current music scene is more democratic than the monolith Mr. Brooks looks back upon fondly."

But also rock has always been a amalgam in varying degrees of rhythm 'n blues, jazz, country, folk songs and Broadway, among others. Wasn't there similar fragmentation in the rock of the 50's with a lot of regional hits that just did not make it to the national scene? We just did not know it as easily at the time. In the 60's and 70's did people just want there to be a unified counterculture, or a "mainstreaming of the counterculture" when in fact it was jumble of many styles being practiced and discovered?

It is an interesting topic. Please feel free in our seg-ment-ed soc-ie-ty to "discuss amongst yourselves" or discuss with me.

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