Essay Page 9
democracy, hated the common man. And it became a point of pride to epater not only the bourgeoisie, but the republicanism and democratization that made the bourgeois flourish.

I think we'll never understand much of modern serious art until we realize how deeply antidemocratic it is at heart: serious modern artists do not want to be accepted by modern democratic society (to be heard, popular or successful)~if they were honest with themselves they would realize that they want to overturn democracy and end the modern world as we know it.

Therefore of course they don't want to be popular~that would defeat their purpose of cultural (and eventually political) revolution. (And by the way, I don't mean a revolution from the left!)

There is a parallel thing going on, I believe: and that is the notion that there are no eternal artistic principles on which all successful art is founded~that these principles change with time, and that the most difficult and thorniest of modern music will, in the fullness of time and with an appropriate change of social relationships (the cultural and political revolution), will become completely understandable and enjoyable. It is like learning a new language: once you master the vocabulary and grammar, what sounded like coarse babble becomes at least comprehensible and even beautiful.

One of the reasons, I think, for the weirdness of many American artists and composers is that they are profoundly conflicted, culturally, psychologically, politically: they are trying to be true to democratic ideas and ideals (see their desire to be popular in current