8
Jethro Tull and the case for modernism in mass
culture
ALLAN F. MOORE

'You can almost sing along to it [laughs]'1


Introduction

There seem to be two alternative ways to argue the presence of a modernist aesthetic in an art object. The first way would see it as a necessary response to the social conditions of modernity, as exemplified by David Harvey (Harvey 1989), such that to evade a modernistic response would be received as fraudulent. This is the essence of the position laid out by the Frankfurt theorist Theodor Adorno in his defence of Schoenberg in the face of Stravinsky, of which Adorno (1973) is the most outspoken example, and it was also adopted by such high modernist post-war composers as Boulez or Stockhausen (see Boulez 1952 and Stockhausen 1989: 140). The second way would see it as contingent, as a possible response to the social conditions of modernity, one among a number of other possibilities which could be represented, perhaps, by realism or postmodernism. Recalling Lyotard's (1988) emphasis on the historical concurrence of modernist and postmodernist responses, if the first articulation can only be identified chronologically (whereby modernity and modernism are instituted simultaneously), the second can be identified aesthetically, by assuming a series of modernist identifiers.

____________________
1
Ian Anderson quoted in Pidgeon (1991: 65). My thanks to those who offered comments on this chapter when it was delivered as a research seminar paper at the University of Leeds in late 1996.

-158-

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