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Youth Culture's Lament: Pop culture's noise and glamour try in vain to fill a gaping void

Roger Scruton

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Roger Scruton describes the spiritual desolation behind much popular music.

Youth, as we know it from our modern cities, is a new human type--a "race of new mutants," in Leslie Fiedler's words of a generation ago. It has its own language, its own customs, its own territory, even its own economy. It also has its own culture--a culture entirely indifferent to traditional boundaries, loyalties, and forms of learning. That culture is a global force, propagated through media that acknowledge neither locality nor sovereignty in their easygoing capture of the airwaves: "one world, one music," in the slogan adopted by MTV, a station that assembles the words, images, and sounds that are the lingua franca of modern adolescents.

Because youth culture seems to press on modern life from everywhere, it gives the impression of plenitude, of completeness. But despite its ubiquity, at its center is a void, which it continually tries to fill, without success, and continually bemoans, with characteristic inarticulateness.

For the complete article go to the City Journal website.



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