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03 August 2012

I am beginning to be think about something "retroactive embrace". Do you ever feel like if you took the person talking about a particular album, or person, etc. and moved them back to the time the work of art or political actor was current, they'd have completely different takes? When we reach into the past for cultural signifiers we use them in a positioned (I guess the world I want is symbolic) way which is not necessarily how we'd have reacted in the midst of that ferment.[More:]

Now, your take on it is valid enough if that's how you feel, and something being new doesn't mean you have a better take on it than when its old, but at a distance everything changes: sometimes overly consecrated, sometimes sanitized, always filtered.
I'm not sure I understand you. But when Evanescence had their hit single, I knew in my bones that, had it still been the 80s, they would be making music like Katrina and the Waves.
posted by Egg Shen 03 August | 20:59
One good example i've been seeing recently is conservatives valorizing Martin Luther King in race related issues wheras I'm almost certain if I took this guy with his exact attitudes and dropped him in the late 50s he'd have a completely different opinion of MLK and the band of law breaking antagonists he led.
posted by Firas 03 August | 22:50
I think that of course that could (not necessarily would) happen. But since it's not possible, the art of teaching appreciation lies in being able to depict in compelling detail the context in which the artists work was originally experienced - comparing it to other work of the time, current assumptions and technologies, why and how this artist stood out or didn't. Since I work with public history, this is the kind of thing we do for all sorts of phenomena - political ideas, social mores, tastes, just about everything. It's just placing the work in context - which is the great talent of the great writers on pop culture and cultural history.
posted by Miko 04 August | 10:46
Tolstoy posed the question: Does a man create the time, or does time create the man? Better yet, does a culture define our views? Whenever we hear a new type of music, see a new style, have a social tradition or norm questioned ( think slavery, women voting, gay marriage, etc.) there are those who cannot change their views from their original reaction or will not defy cultural pressures. Many people are unwillimg to empathize with a group, movement, time, or culture that is different from their own. As far as music is concerned, culture, education, circumstances, can influence how we feel about a work the first time we hear it, and then how it affects us years later.Time. IS relative. Sometimes the "retroactive embrace" is nostalgically positive, sometimes educational, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes negative. But if one is static, one will never have epiphanies.
posted by Macduff 05 August | 13:50
yeah now that I think about it as far as aesthetics are concerned almost all of them are 'received' in a way. Because most of us aren't flipping a coin and picking random things to read, watch, etc.. most of what we pay attention to historically is something that survived long enough for us to hear about it and check it out so there's already a bias in our selection. And then we hear this is the best movie by this director so we may internalize the idea and come out saying that it's his best even if we wouldn't have in a vacuum. In fact often when I dislike something 'classic' I assume I just need to train myself to understand/appreciate it later
posted by Firas 05 August | 23:49
Olympic doping back in the day. || This man may be the best car salesman ever