Monday, August 11, 2008

A description of Rock-n-Roll

I am reading The Spirit of the Liturgy, By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. I didn't read much of him before he became Pope Benedict XVI (so I am completely clueless about how to refer to a current Pope's work that was written before he was Pope. This book was not written by Pope Benedict the XVI but Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger right?) but have recently been picking up some of his work, I find him a very helpful thinker and theologian and don't quite get why he is so controversial (well I do get it but I also don't) In any case I find his book right up there with any work by Alexander Schmemann. Ratzinger is cranky at points but I think its good for theologians and philosophers to be a bit cranky.
So here's a slightly cranky but I think apt succinct description of Rock music-
"'Rock' the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are , so to speak , released from themselves by the experience of being a part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special light effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe."
This is certainly what I experience and one of the many reasons I like good Rock-n-Roll , and it seems that the music listened to and liked by Goths exemplifies this in a very acute way. The quote reminded me of the first non-Christian rock show I attended. At the time my parents were convinced by those in certain Christian communities who believed that Rock simply was evil. So, I sneaked out with my cousin to the concert- it was at an amusement part so we claimed to just be going to the park. I was torn to begin with I secretly liked the band, Oingo Boingo (I think they were still going by the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo) but also wasn't sure I should.
I had never quite experienced the power of Rock music live (the Big CCM Bands I had seen wouldn't tap Rock really, and the smaller punk bands were of varying quality and still working on stage presence, so also hadn't fully taped Rock), the crowed the the and the ecstasy of the music pulled at me in ways that felt very real and were a tad scary (especially since there were those voices saying this is evil) For a long time I interpreted my experience as one of the demonic. I don't any more but, seeing that experience and all my subsequent rock concert experiences and club experience as an ecstasy that tears down defenses and taping elemental passions, yep I think Ratzinger understands Rock-n-Roll pretty well.