Tuesday, November 15, 2011

From a Diary: I:x

I couldn't resist: bought a music box which plays the opening strain of The Internationale. Sweet, nostalgic, smartly (if archaically) mechanized and commodified. Sounds great when played against a Coca Cola (TM) can resonator. Sign on the lawn in New Hampshire, next to a lunch wagon, now in competition with a major chain: BUY LOCAL DONUTS. The modernity and internationalism once dreamed of was not what we got. There is something fundamentally wrong when (a) the most striking features on most of the landscape one passes through in the US (and increasingly elsewhere) are commercial and (b) the major distinction between New Hampshire, for example, and, say, Mississippi, is that the latter has Waffle Houses. A recent campaign in Vermont encouraged listening to locally-made music. BUY FROM LOCAL COMPOSERS. Maybe, in the long term and from a very narrow definition of costs, the Waffle Houses and the Dunkins (or, if you will, the Brittens and the Boulezi) will win out over the local vendors, but (a) all innovators started out local, somewhere, and (b) the locals still have the powerful argument that local content can be fresher, a better fit to local tastes, and sustain forms of variety and innovation that the universal and generic cannot.

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