A CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY where I majored in music required weekly recital attendance. Most performances exhilarated. But the one in which a solo artist played a “piece” for grand piano, pitcher of water, drinking glass, and deck of cards stood out as an exception.
The performer fist-bonked and slapped piano keys at seeming random, poured water into the glass, sipped from the glass, bonked and slapped more keys, shuffled the deck of cards, tossed a few cards onto the strings inside the grand piano, and then bonked and slapped the keys again, which made the cards somersault this way and that.
This he managed to keep up for an hour.
I left resentful. I was working in a department store, putting myself through school. I didn’t have many hours to waste, and if I was going to waste one, I wanted to waste it in a manner of my own choosing.
But then, I suppose the hour wasn’t a complete loss. I did derive some entertainment from overhearing fellow music majors discuss “the piece” on their way out of the auditorium. It was “interesting.” “Quite the statement.” “Motif and development …”
Lest you ask, yes, they were serious.
I often recall that moment after consuming literature, music, or art that critics and/or sophisticates have been raving about, only to find myself thinking, What on earth were the critics smoking?
Sometimes there is anti-intellectualism. Sometimes there is recognizing that would-be sophisticates sing praises of the godawful solely to display, as they suppose, their elevated taste.
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... where I share thoughts about writing. I don’t consider myself a writing authority, but that doesn’t keep me from presuming to blog like one. Oh, and I reserve the right to digress when I feel like it.