The culture of moral superiority

I recently read a blog from the editors of Limelight magazine bitterly complaining about the downgrading of the classical music section of the ARIA awards.It made me think very carefully about the way the classical music media presents itself as a morally superior form of art and I remembered the way that since the Enlightenment classical musicians had always set themselves apart from the hoi polloi with a brush of the morally superior hand.It dates from the time that the musician was drifting into bourgeois society without the patronage of the lord or the king and the world of the musician is set apart from the so-called average person.

The problem was that the aesthetics of the Enlightenment tradition was fuelled by what I call the, “evolutionary fallacy”.Most writers on aesthetics of this time drew their inspiration from the evolution of art during the Classical period of Greek and Roman antiquity.They were particularly fascinated by the (erroneous) belief that the Greeks believed that as art became more complex it actually evolved and as Art became more cerebral (or Dionysian)then it meant that art was reaching a ‘higher’ aesthetic.The writers and composers of the post enlightenment jumped onto this aesthetic because they realised that they could merge into the bourgeoisie without having to sacrifice themselves to mercantilism.And so it is today, the rather rugged evolution of this aesthetic into the soul of the tortured artist, who could make millions from a recording deal but still rail against the mercantilism of his/her profession.

It seems that media managers have always set themselves apart in such a  silly way to be seen as the feudal “lords” of their respective manors.How do they do it? By creating a universe where they are in charge not only of the information base but also the means of transmission without upsetting the implicit ideology of cooperative broadcasting. This they do by actually holding back information so they and only they know what is going on in the big picture.And then they claim, as the master musician would, that they are separate from their foolish masters, who are motivated by money.

Once again we are thrown into the cult of individuality where knowledge is held by those who control and ergo are morally superior to their staff.It is even not very difficult to extrapolate the idea that these are the new feudal lords of this industry.Feudal, in the way they control their staff by “absence’ not by “presence”, by “withholding” not by “sharing”.It has always lead to the staff of media organisations constantly at odds with their managers and managers justifying their at “arm’s length’ role.Such double blinding is hilarious beyond belief.

Who knows how it will be resolved, because this is an industry with little regard for the use value of the worker and more of the star value of the media….?This will be discussed in later blogs.


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