The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism

Pattison, Robert

Oxford University, 1987

pp. 5-11

Vulgarity is the opposite of refinement. It’s what people are before refinement.  It’s “the absence of cultivation” of education.  Marks: noise. ‘The cultivated man thinks, speaks, and acts with reasoned restraint . . . Man in his natural state is a selfish ranter.” (6) Uncontemplative: The vulgarian belongs in a mob—“a noisy undifferentiated mass of men who have sacrificed their humanity to coalesce in an ignorant herd.”  Untranscendent: rises to no ”realm of spirit, of soul, of mind above the flux of ordinary activity.”  (7) Indiscriminate: The vulgar guy wears a Hawaiian shirt, meaning a loud, indiscriminate shirt.  (10) Rock music is “blunt, crude, noisy, tasteless, and popular. (10-11) Everything Horace abominated in the profane mob finds its glorification in rock–noise, passion, profanity, populism.”