Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Got Paté?

Boy, am I glad I wasn't around for this campaign. There's an article in this morning's New York Times about the Metropolitan Opera's new advertising push. Turns out they tried it once before, in 1976, with this copy, guaranteed to win hearts and minds:
Please think about the privilege of contributing. For there always has been, and always will be, a place for civilization. The place is in your heart.

Snotty? Nous?

Still, I was relieved to see that the tradition of pompous, orotund bloviating is being kept alive by the ever-fatuous Leon Wieseltier, consulted for this article because he — well, who can say why? But Leon would like to remind all and sundry that "the young are not necessarily the hip, and the hip is not necessarily what will sell out a pharaonically large venue."

"Pharaonically" is Wiesel-speak for "hella," I'm guessing. Or so it appears to my tiny Mosaic mind.

P.S. The good folks at Gawker are all over this, with Photoshopping skills to boot. (h/t La Cieca)


At 8/31/2006 1:27 PM, Anonymous Marc Geelhoed said...

While that's certainly a snotty quote, it's also directed at potential *donors,* not potential *ticket buyers.* Even if ticket buyers would be turned off it, donors might be less inclined to do so. Pure speculation.

At 9/01/2006 8:56 AM, Blogger Alex Ross said...

Josh, this little Gawker exchange shows how tenacious the "snotty" image is. The story was about the Met is trying to get away from that image. Yet for the putatively young hip Gawker reader the only aspect of the story that's worth noting is the one slightly snotty contrary quote buried at the bottom. The institutions need to change their tone, yes; but the putative audience also needs to be open to the possibility of change — be willing to look past the beloved old stereotypes. Otherwise, all propaganda will be futile. Everyone needs to be less lazy on all sides.

At 9/01/2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Joshua Kosman said...

Alex, I understand what the story was about; however, the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation. The Gawkerites focused on the Wieseltier quote for the same reason I did (l'havdil) : Because Leon showed himself to be the biggest, most flaming clown in the story, or indeed in any other story published in the NYT that day. That's gonna grab people's attention, no matter what the headline is.

There's a bit of dislocation here, to be sure, in that the Met got slimed by the Times reporter's asinine choice, which presumably they had nothing to do with, of whom to go to for a quote. But that's their bad luck; they'll get over it. And really, the point here is the comedic juxtaposition; you don't have to be young or hip or addicted to irony to enjoy the storyline that goes, "Met Opera's new-found goal of forswearing haughty assholes lasts all of eight paragraphs."

At 9/02/2006 8:51 AM, Blogger Lisa Hirsch said...

The first half of that quotation is also worthy of comment: "Opera will never again be a popular taste, and coaxing masses of young people into highbrow pleasures isn’t easy."

ISTR that the opera audience is the only classical music audience that has grown in the last decade. No? Isn't some of that growth among 20 to 35-year-olds?

And, how does he know opera will never again be a popular taste?

At 9/02/2006 8:53 AM, Blogger Lisa Hirsch said...

P. S. Having looked at Gawker now, the Met should hire the guy in the comments whose slogans made me laugh.


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