Pink Floyd, Conservative Band
Perhaps it’s the onset of spring. Perhaps the previous post, on libraries, lowered my “lighter note” inhibitions, but the time feels opportune to raise a topic that’s been kicking around the corridors of my mind since Jay Nordlinger referred to a conservative’s knowledge of and affinity for Pink Floyd. Three points come to mind:
- Conservatives like form and a balance of artistry with aesthetics. As perhaps the archetypal band for concept albums, Pink Floyd hearkened back to longer-form art-music genres with the aesthetic of pop/rock music. (Society forgets that Schubert’s Die Winterreise [e.g.] was once pop music; precisely a “concept album” in different terms.) The band’s Atom Heart Mother, for example, makes many of the same maneuvers as may be heard on the 20th century samples on a survey of Western music (such as comes with the Norton Scores), but without abandoning the principle that it ought to be enjoyable to listen to.
- Conservatives are frequently converts from something else. Depending on the setting, I’ll be either ashamed or nostalgic to admit that experience enables me to discuss the best… moods in which to listen to different Pink Floyd albums, and I’m surely not alone among my current social and political compatriots.
- Perhaps because of the previous two points: Conservatives learn from art, even art with surface messages with which they disagree. Consider Pink Floyd’s The Wall: First, one can hardly listen to the music or watch the movie without discerning the anguish of the protagonist and readily identifying its causes (mainly cultural deterioration of family values); indeed, a cycle of causes and effects are what it’s all about. Second, as a cultural statement, The Wall offers a window into the society that created it. In a vlog posted a few months ago, I make the point with regard to The Wall that it successfully conveyed the cultural message that Nazi-style fascists would target the usual minority groups and employ a certain message and aesthetic. So thoroughly has our culture received and reconveyed that message that it is extremely unlikely that any looming totalitarians will be of that ilk. Noting this, a conservative will know to look elsewhere (as at the nanny state taking children away from heavyset parents in Scotland), while a liberal will sing along and defend such budding dictators against the protestations of classically liberal modern conservatives who bear a superficial resemblance to the oppressors of popular imagination.