ERIC Number: ED382965
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
In Defense of Popular Music.
Luebke, Steven R.
In his book "The Closing of the American Mind," Allan Bloom criticizes popular music for the "emptiness of its values." It has only one appeal, says Bloom, "a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire--not love, not eros, but sexual desire, undeveloped and untutored." However, to say "rock music is this or that" is a proposition that quickly crumbles under the evidence of the songs themselves. There are more artists, "more songs in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy, Allan." In fact, popular music can be used in the classroom to fulfill some of the objectives of a liberal education that Bloom himself identifies. First, popular music can be a valuable resource for introducing students to poetry: lyricists use many of the same conventions that poets have used for centuries. Second, popular music is a useful kind of mnemonic device to teach about theme or character. Some students find it easier to understand the concept of a dynamic world versus the static world of Keat's poetry after they have heard Van Halen's "Best of Both Worlds." Similarly, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by Crash Test Dummies, a song about how people are socialized to be a homogenous bunch, might help students understand something about "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Third, students can write about song lyrics as a form of art. Popular music in literary study is not a replacement for traditional texts but a complement to it. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bloom (Allan); Lyrics
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Joint Meetings of the Popular Culture/American Culture Association (Philadelphia, PA, April 12-15, 1995).