Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heroes in the Eye of the Hurricane: Dylan and Cobain

On many levels, music, authentic or not, has inspired new attitudes and trends, social movements, alternative ways of perceiving the world, and so on. Yet, on the other hand, it is clear it has also catalyzed a mass market for consumerism, commercialization, and therefore a world of utopian illusions. Both sides of this equation in the world of music and entertainment, authenticity have served different purposes for musicians and their celebrity statuses. Boorstin says, “Having manufactured our celebrities, having willy-nilly made them our cynosures – the guiding starts of our interest – we are tempted to believe they are not synthetic at all, that they are somehow still God-made heroes who now abound with a marvelous modern prodigality” (47).

The struggle for authenticity in the world of mass media, popular culture, and mainstream music has shown extreme results in the musical trajectory of many artists, as well as for Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain, hence my two posts above. While they both represented their corresponding genres the best, Dylan as the folk rock legend remained genuine and pristine as a musician philosopher that sways mass media’s deceitful representations. And Cobain’s raw and raucous noise did take another approach on the notion of authenticity, but empathetic to the 17-year-old punk rock garage kid, who he justified himself to, as being real and honest. Just like Cobain expected for his personal heroes as a kid.

As Boorstin prophesizes, “While the folk created heroes, the mass can only look and listen for them. It is waiting to be shown and to be told. Our society, to which the Soviet notion of “the masses” is so irrelevant, still is governed by our own idea of the mass. The folk has a universe of its own creation, its own world of giants and dwarfs, magicians and witches. The mass lives in the very different fantasy world of pseudo-events” (56). As folk heroes rarely blossom today to their full potential due to the over sensationalism and falseness of media’s pseudoness, the greatest heroes of them all are those who have kept it real in the world of pseudo-ness in mainstream media representation.

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