Mudcat Café message #4033873 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4033873
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
12-Feb-20 - 01:35 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
I guess I'll have to wait until I have a copy of Harker's other book and make my own mind up about what it says about the Critics Group and the tone in which it was said.

@ Brian: I don't think anybody is saying that they like Harker's tone in 'Fakesong': my question was specifically about comments relating to The Critics Group and a 'set-to' at a symposium. But thank you for an example of a less than ideal tone! Harker is I suppose making the point that Baring Gould was an outsider, and that he published writing about other people's culture in a commercial context with a middle class market in mind, all of which seem factual points. But the tone does seem intended to mock.

Bearman is full of much the same mocking tone when he speaks of Harker and Lloyd, and some Mudcat posters go above and beyond!

@ Jag: Bearman goes even further than Harker, and is particularly scathing about 'class' analyses.

I think this word 'common' as in 'common people' is worth another look. Sharp defines this in some Romanticised manner, and links it to illiteracy and lack of formal training or contact with the educated as we have seen. This is all too like Child's fantasy about the ballads originating with some ancient classless society where everybody had one culture. One sense of the word 'common people' was and still is in some contexts to differentiate 'commoners' from royalty and the nobility and the church. What's left when you take away the royals and the nobles is the common people. To suggest that there ever was one shared culture, untouched by literacy, or by contact with the educated, even among those whose livelihoods were most closely linked with the countryside seems to me to be unrealistic on various grounds.

Therefore, in so far as Harker might tend to suggest that it is a fallacy to imagine that one can identify some sort of unitary 'a people's culture' stretching back over centuries, then surely we have to agree with him, and I think, with Bearman also.