Another one of those “What Would Adorno Say?” moments. I found this video of 13-yr-old self-taught violinist Justus Rivera on the Ellen show. Ashton Kutcher apparently discovered him, posted the vid and Twittered about it, making Justus Rivera the latest in pop sensation.
What’s interesting in this case is the meshing of what we’ve normally considered high culture (violin being a rather high-culture instrument – one that people spend years and years on perfecting) and pop (or, to make the binary distinction, low/vulgar) culture (he played “Smooth Criminal” on Ellen). Keeping in mind he was “discovered” by Ashton Kutcher, and his video on Ellen is now everywhere on cyberspace, aren’t there very strong strands of power and reputation at play here? The attention he got was not really by merit (I’m not going to say he’s a good or a bad violinist, since I think there are way too many ways to go with that one – what is conventional, what is experimentation, thank you, Howard Becker), but by a chance encounter with someone who wields a lot of attention-getting power.
That’s all for now. I need to find some better way of making my thoughts coherent.