The great thing about music, the really powerful thing, is that the very act of listening is to accept an invitation to moral sympathy. In this way, listening to a song is no different from reading a novel. In both cases, the audience, whether listener or reader, is invited to put himself in the position of the person telling the story. Since every storyteller has his own point of view and characteristic values, to put one’s self in his position is, however briefly, to allow one’s self to share his perspective. With time, this perspective can rub off on the audience. When the novels or songs in question serve to affirm the values of a truly moral life, that’s a good thing. But it can be a bad thing, too, if — as is so often the case today — the music or literature in question is in the service of a set of values which are perverse or anti-social.
Exactly. Which is why I didn’t finish Lost Souls and I don’t read the thick historical romances which seem to require a rape in each.
He also said:
Whenever young people meet, there comes a point early on when they ask one another about their musical tastes. It is not an idle question. As anyone who has grown up in America knows, musical preference is at the same time a matter of allegiance: what one listens to is always in part a self-conscious assertion of community and of support for the values upon which that community is founded.
Which means more to me than it usually would because R asked that question of the models for the calendar. And it normally means a lot because people talk about country music and say “it’s all about getting drunk and cheating.” While there are songs like that, there are many more which DO say something about me. “I’m Proud to be an American.” “Ragged Old Flag.” Forever and Ever Amen.”
The Common Room directed me to the above article and wrote:
While I would not go quite so far as the author, there is a general cultural assumption that musical preference is at the same time a matter of allegiance: what one listens to is always in part a self-conscious assertion of community and of support for the values upon which that community is founded.