Thoughts on Bloom continued
March 13, 2010
Bloom on music is, actually, quite humorous. Read this passage describing a 13 year old boy: “Picture a 13 year old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over the centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns of the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag-queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy.” [pp. 74-75]
One cannot help but wonder whose fantasy this is….It just might be Bloom’s. But Bloom then goes on to link up rock music to Marxism, to wit: “Abstracting from the capitalist element in which it flourishes, [the left] regard it [rock] as a people’s art, coming from beneath the bourgeoisie’s layers of cultural repression. Its antinomianism and its longing for a world without constraint might seem to be the clarion of the proletarian revolution, and Marxists certainly do see that rock music dissolves the beliefs and morals necessary for liberal society and would approve of it for that alone.” [p. 77-78] I can only say, “WOW! What flights of imagination take hold in even the minds of those who are among the most intelligent people available.” It would seem that national security requires that we regulate rock n’ roll music as it makes us vulnerable to the Marxists! Again, “WOW” comes to mind.
This reminds of a story I heard from an old friend, may he rest in peace, who had attended the University of Rhode Island after emigrating here from Great Britain. He had to take a course in hygiene at URI – it was required of all students – and in that course a professor who said that if someone masturbated 20 times a week they would go blind. Seriously!! This is the kind of bullshit we were subjected to in those “good old days” Bloom seems to miss so much. Anyway, my friend said he almost burst laughing as he imagined a young man who had masturbated 19 times by the time Saturday rolled around trying not to masturbate until he got to Sunday for fear he would go blind!
Moreover, there is a much better, less simplistic and fear mongering take on rock n’ roll in an essay Eldridge Cleaver in his book, Soul On Ice, entitled “Convalescence.” In that essay, Cleaver links up rock n’ roll with the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. the Board of Education arguing that rock was doing what the Court’s decision was meant to do, integrate America society. As Cleaver put it in his essay, a great advantage of rock n’ roll, which is of course just the white man’s version of R & B, is that it taught whites to “shake their asses again.” As Cleaver notes, whites once had this ability but had lost it over time and needed to learn it again. That is, whites had to relearn that they were bodies as well as “minds,” which lesson would bring them closer to blacks, who represented the body rather than the mind. Cleaver also argued that this lesson would render whites healthy once again by rendering them whole.
Of course, Cleaver did not know that rock was actually part of a Marxist and masturbatory plot to overthrow the United States and even Western Civilization. But then there are all kinds of things we can learn from Bloom, even if many of these things would be worthy of a Walt Disney.