I have never talked about the arts on this blog before, but two things I've seen today demand comparison.
The first is a classical music afficionado blowing both his own feet off in an attempt to try and defend his precious music. It is so infrequent that one gets the pleasure of reading a genuine article which reads SO much like a straw-man caricature of a target belief. Years ago when hunting through hundreds of old Sun editorials I was sorry to find how little thoughtless bigotry they actually contain - really stereotyped opinion givers are few are far between.
But this is a doozy. Every aspect of the cliche is there - the celebration of an ill-thought-out concept of elitism, incredibly high self-regard for the academic prowess of the author, class as proxy for intelligence, obligatory references to down-dumbing, careless and avoidable self contradiction, smidgens of old-scrumpy-home-brew armchair anthropology, appeals to the self-evidential nature of unsubstantiated arguments, and a recommendation to use pedagogy as a form of indoctrination. A full house! Strike 3! Jackpot!
Which leads me on to the comparason, this recent article by Robert Hughes the famous art critic. His retreading of the classic Shock of the New got a real pasting in both Private Eye and the Times. I didn't see the broadcast, but given what he writes about it here, I can't think what he can have done to deserve the attacks. His writing and broadcasting on art has always been everything I aspire to when it comes to making arguments - perfect, minimalist scene setting, a pre-emptive avoidance of the obvious & stupid questions, witht he majority of the time spent dwelling on the core of why issues really matter to people. It ain't the essence of good journalism, but it is to my mind the core of great written arguments. It'd be truly sad if this great writer was attacked just because he'd dared to suggest that many of the biggest name modern artists simply didn't really matter.