Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Déclassé—To be demoted from a high status or rank to a lower one, especially in social status. The word déclassé is also applied to weapons considered obsolete or antiquated. It refers to that which is no longer viable or operational. The déclassé is not “kitsch”—tawdry, overly sentimentalized art of the banal representational sort—but refers to those features of our inherited culture that make us uncomfortable. It refers to those cultural behaviors that are now obsolete, forming the basis of an unwritten protocol that silently censors and marks the limits of proper taste. It proscribes movies that cannot be made, jokes that can no longer be recited, pop songs that now seem starkly ludicrous, silly, and pretentious. The interest in cultural productions that are considered déclassé is primarily historical, that is, scholarly: they are museum pieces which Time and History have rendered quaint, but nonetheless strange, artifacts. The déclassé may once have been highly fashionable, but is no longer—it no longer “speaks” to contemporary audiences and hence is out of fashion. These things may have a nostalgic appeal, but they no longer carry the sting of truth. A recovery or revival is unlikely.

Examples Of The Déclassé (In Language Or Sentiment), Hardly Exhaustive:
Harpers Bizarre – The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) [1960s]
The Beach Boys – Be True To Your School [1960s]
Jimmy Dean – I Won’t Go Hunting With You Jake (But, I’ll go chasin’ wimmin) [1950s]
Leroy Van Dyke – I Fell In Love With a Pony Tail [1950s]
Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders – A Groovy Kind Of Love [1960s]
Bobby Goldsboro – Honey [1960s]
Kay Kyser and His Orchestra – The Umbrella Man [1930s]
John Lennon – Woman Is The Nigger Of The World [1970s]
Loretta Lynn – The Pill [1970s]
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra – Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me) [1940s]
Joni Mitchell – Woodstock [1960s]
Wayne Newton – Dreams of the Everyday Housewife [1960s]
The Plasmatics – Metal Priestess [1980s]
Helen Reddy – I Am Woman [1970s]
SSgt. Barry Sadler – Ballad of the Green Berets [1960s]

No comments: