BRIEF THOUGHT ON THE HIGH/LOW DISTINCTION

Brief thought: most cultural studies scholars, perhaps excepting those coming from a more rigid, Frankfurt-school perspective, accept that the modernist distinction between high and low art has completely collapsed.

Question: is this collapse so forceful as to have inverted the equation?

Follow up: particularly with the question of radical politics, it now seems that the avant-garde is precisely the genre of music that is incapable of mounting any sustained critique. It is, by contrast, the successful commercial genres that articulate and mobilize social justice and even (at times) anti-capitalist positions. This would appear to be the mirror inversion of the outwardly stated political goals of the avant-garde and popular genres of the modernist period.

Alternative question: we can still identify, aurally, those musical genres that identify themselves as avant-garde. But what do these genres generally stand for in 2019?

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