March 1, 2021

License to be bad | Culture


On the radio, you can hear an ingenious advertising campaign based on the legend of rock stars. Journalists surround a star and ask him what he will do with his life, after having dissolved his group. The question responds displicently, as if the concerns of mortals were not with him: he wants to devote himself to meditation or retreat to a private island. It is allowed to make fun of a reporter: “and you don’t have a private island?”

Behind those ads, a bank that promotes its pension plans. Let’s park the detail that, with his current professional reality, a rock figure also needs to think of an economic parachute for the future. But I am intrigued that the topical lifestyle of a rock star has become something socially enviable.

Something has to do with the forcefulness of the slogan Sex & drugs & rock & roll. It became popular thanks to Ian Dury, a disabled person who demanded to enjoy as much as his generation partners. Mention the rock and roll had its subversive edge in 1977: Dury came from the pub rock, a diffuse London movement that claimed the original values ​​of a music that, in the mid-seventies, looked too much at the navel.

The sense of rock and roll It was drifting. In the environment, he went on to define an attitude and behaviors of those who had chosen that lifestyle. Specifically, it portrayed a majestic disregard for the rules of coexistence, for the laws. Gestures of arrogance or waste, typified by the act of destroying a hotel room, justified afterwards as relief against the pressures of a tour. The person responsible for the demolition should not even apologize: road manager He was in charge of paying for the damage and hurrying to take his wayward troop to the next concert.

License to be bad



True, true: today we see these behaviors as psychopathic, especially coming from people who generally preached an ideology of empathy and altruism. But we already sensed that the superstars were made of another paste and that the coherence did not stand out among its virtues. Although they no longer have that halo of holiness, they still tend to posture. What to say about those bands that prefer not to spin but have an ecological resignation, as if they had just discovered the concept carbon footprint?

He has illustrated me about it License to be bad, recent book by Jonathan Aldred, professor of economics at Cambridge. Of course, it is not about the eminences of popular music but presumably they are integrated into the elite that dominates each country. Eldred studies how the theories of Hayek, Friedman and his disciples have acquired masks of rationality, even morality. His postulates dominate not only the macroeconomics, but also the microeconomics of everyday acts. And they justify the special dignity that these elites demand, which equate maximum wealth or (in the case of musicians) cultural relevance with ethical superiority. That manifests with publicized “solidarity” concerts to those who, of course, travel by private plane.

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