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Thursday, Apr 14, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
by A. O. Scott
The New York Times (13 January 2011)

“Mr. Gabler begins with the assertion that, “as anyone who has ever wiggled in his seat at a classical music concert or stared in disbelief at a work of conceptual art can attest, culture in America has usually been imposed from the top down.” And what about the vastly larger segment of the population who avoid such egghead pastimes altogether? They are the heroes of Mr. Gabler’s article, which is about how an anonymous band of “democrats” overthrew the forces of “official” culture as embodied by “media executives, academics, elite tastemakers and of course critics.”


These people, also characterized as “cultural imperialists” and “commissars,” have conducted a long and tireless campaign to force everyone else to look at conceptual art and go to classical music. “For over 200 years,” Mr. Gabler writes, “normal Americans have longed to exercise their independence and free themselves form the tyranny of the elitists.” And now, apparently, that nightmare of oppression is over.


Thank the Internet, on which sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Ain’t it Cool News exert a populist influence greater than that of the old elites and equivalent to the grass-roots democracy of “American Idol.” If those examples seem a little dated, Mr. Gabler has newer evidence to cite his implication that 2010 will join 1848 and 1989 as a banner year in the annals of revolution.”


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