How much of Pop music aims to provoke genuinely and how is shock contrived? And what qualifications must an audience have to be shocked in the first place? Three New York Times critics weigh in… Via The New York Times:

Jon Caramanica – I agree that outrage is something that’s enacted more than felt, but that’s far larger than pop. There’s something hopelessly middle class about shock. To be shocked is to be privileged. Or better, to be shocked is to assert privilege, to declare oneself above the stain. Shock is what happens when people step out of their comfort zones into the gap between delivery and expectation.

The goal — my goal, at least — is to wipe oneself clear of expectation. I’ll never recreate the shock of my first exposure to, say, Slick Rick’s “Treat Her Like a Prostitute” — a formative shock, in many ways — but then again, I’m not 13 anymore. When I was younger, the pop sneer meant a lot to me. (The real middle-finger-up move would have probably been to get into Morton Subotnick and psychotropics, but I wasn’t that advanced.)

Some quality pop culture musings in this roundtable discussion. Watch Tyler, the Creator’s video for “Yonkers,” below and ask yourself what was it that made this video shocking? Is it you? Or the video?

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