Beyond Crossaints and Blue Cheese

Recently a friend and I had a critical debate whilst attending Lebo Mashile’s Threads at the Playhouse. It was (and still is) my position that as much as we are addicted to advertising campaign friendly slogans and words like ”diversity” and “unity”, there is still a greas degree of separatist elements in South Africa. And away from the race question not all of these are bad. I was specifically referring to the arts and that ever changing world of city subculture. My mate was somewhat surprised when I told him that despite the love I might have for some of my friends there are just some of them whom I cannot take to the theatre or an arts show. This sounds elitist I know. Am I afraid they might embarrass me? Hardly. Kaizer Cheifs losing twice to Orlando Pirates during the pre-season has made full use of my embarrassment quota for the year.


I would not rather take those friends of mine to the theatre for no other reason that they would not appreciate the work. As a critic I have always maintained that at the end of every performance I always clap, no matter how macabre or terrible the work was. This is because I appreciate the work, the effort and the creative strain it takes to start a work o fart. And I think that is perhaps the most distinguishing factor between “High Culture” and “Pop Culture”.

Pop culture comes for a tradition of the veracious need to express and unfortunately that need is often overridden by an unmeasured disrespect. This is not to say that those who appreciate “High Culture” cannot subscribe to “Pop culture”, in fact the contrary remains true. Just last week at the opening night of the Jomba contemporary dance experience I saw more or less a lot of the same faces I saw when SUM41 was head banging at the Wavehouse.

The real divide between “High Culture” and “Pop Culture” is the same as the divide between a resident in Khutsong and man in Sandton. It is the issue of access. High cultured activities are more likely to get a platform and funding then pop cultured ones. This is despite the fact that Pop cultural activities are more likely to sell, because if their simple mass appeal. Some of you might not know what I am talking about, allow me to contribute evidence towards my point. Have you ever heard that the National arts Council is going to fund a rock concert? Or perhaps been forwarded some spam mail from your friends pontificating on how The State Theatre is going to host a workshop for Rappers. Certainly not.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article on the MindMap eZine.

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