Dvořák, Twerking, Sexism, and Race Fetishisation

So a couple days ago I came across this.  If you want to watch the actual video, go to the link here (I really don’t want to embed it in this post). What interested me more was the video of the commentary about the video.


Dvorak-Twerk

Some choice quotes:

“I’m not convince that youth are uninterested in classical music. I think that it’s simply more difficult for them to discover.” – Sam de Bruyn (radio DJ)

“No, MTV is a channel that broadcasts popular music, and among our target group, classical music is not popular.” – Chereen Gayadin (Senior Music Programmer MTV)”

“Today everyone is familiar with music videos. They help you sell music. People quite simply are used to them. Except that they’ve never seen a clip to classical music. This made us look for the cliches used today in music videos. And thus we arrived at twerking.” – Geert de Wachter (Producer)

On my facebook wall, we’re having a discussion about it.  Here are some choice quotes from that.

Things that make you go eeeewwww… giving classical music the same recognition as pop and rock by exploiting young girls? Guess they are only trying to appeal to 1/2 the young demographic. One step forward, two steps back…” Kris Bell

… There were several seconds there where I expected hands with singles to pop out and start tucking. This is definitely NOT what classical music needs.” Heather Uebel

Were the girls actually listening to Dvorak when they filmed this? Because – well – the music is a lot more interesting than the choreography.” Michi Regier

On one of my friend’s walls, another discussion brought forth this quote, which probably summarizes everything that’s wrong with reinforcing the really problematic things in Classical Music by infusing it with the same unsavory things to be found in contemporary popular entertainment forms.

Classical music written by sexist, old-timey White men needs sexist female exploitation? Seems legit. Karen Ingram

Seems like when I asked if this was what classical music needed, someone took it seriously.

In the zeal to turn classical music into another so-called “popular music” genre, we’ve left aside all the questionable and negative practices which the industry actively uses to promote and sell product–many of which are issues I’ve explored in this blog. This video touches on nearly all the problematic things in popular entertainment industries like sexism, issues of race, and the fetishisation of exotic Asian beauty. Maybe I’ll use it as a jumping off point for future posts but there’s far too much for me to get into in one post (or a lifetime for that matter).

For now, you can watch this response to B-Classic which is probably just as appropriate a juxtaposition of the video to Dvořák’s New World as anything else. Better yet, don’t watch either and just go listen to some Classical Music and pretend none of this happened.

*EDITED for some stylistic issues to make the points a little more clear.

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