The Fear That Synthesizers Would Ruin Music | JSTOR Daily | + Opinion

A German musicologist complained in 1954 that they reminded him of “barking hell-hounds.”

Source: The Fear That Synthesizers Would Ruin Music | JSTOR Daily


The above-linked article talks about early fears surrounding the advent of electronic music, but it points to a larger truth:

Technology is not the enemy. How we potentially misuse it is.

The fear of novelty and change goes way back. For those old enough to remember, the newspapers used to print daily stories about the evils of watching TV – I mean old CRT TV – especially for children.

TV was demonized as the great social evil. Called the “boob tube” by many, reading books was usually preferred by “responsible adults” who wished their kids to enjoy well-developed brains and advanced powers of critical thinking.

Next, of course, the demon moved on, just like it did in the New Testament from a man to a herd of pigs.

The new demonic host was video games. And back then, video games were nothing like they are today. Relatively simple games like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Tetris, Pong, Pacman, and Galaxian consumed the attention and quarters of many an afterschool teen. And the journalists were horrified.

Oh but wait. The story gets worse.

Around the corner, we had a huge devil just waiting to hit the scene. The demon’s name was the PC and its satanic power spread through its cloned minion PCs, all linked up on the World Wide Web.

Now the fearmongers really had something to bleat about.

Forget TV as the devil, for some reason “binge-watching” instantly became cute and trendy instead of an evil pastime. No, the real evil now was the internet.

Psychiatrists drew up all sorts of new labels and illnesses like “internet addiction,” “social media disorder” and so on.

Book lovers and those who see reading books as the only way to educate yourself clung on desperately. University professors and highbrow snobs felt their hegemonic grip on so-called “culture” weakening. So they became even more ardently opposed to the web, Wikipedia, visual docs and video games.

But here’s the punchline:

Scientific studies now suggest that VIDEO GAMES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN!

Sorry snobs and second-rate professors. Your days are numbered.

And don’t pick up your phone to tell anybody. Satan’s in there now. 🙂



3 thoughts on “The Fear That Synthesizers Would Ruin Music | JSTOR Daily | + Opinion

  1. Huge subject… We’re fortunate [or are we…] to have lived both analog and digital and the transition. At college in London, studying graphics, we had the very first Apple computers to study and work on. In music, when recording in studios, I was used as a guinea pig with various new apps/instruments, because I had an instant ‘understanding’ with technology [without ever reading a single manual! 😉 ]. This conversation about technology is beginning to remind me a bit of the gun argument [is it the hand or the gun?!] The answer is quite simply, the gun! No gun, no harm! 😉 Technology obviously has a multitude of advantages, but I think that the damage is disproportionately bigger. Maybe in the future, when all the population will grow with technology, things will be different. But for now I prefer to keep a small basket… [to put it mildly!] 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So nice to hear about your studies and aptitudes! Thanks for sharing that. I probably would have said it’s the mind behind the hand… but I get your point. Guns may be used for good in some instances, I guess, but for the most part they are instruments of violence. We had spears, bows and arrows before that, but with guns the magnitude of violence escalates.

    Very thought-provoking… thanks again.

    You remind me a bit of Edith Keeler in that famous Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever .” A visionary before her time! 🙂🌟✨


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