In an article about my favorite record label over at City Journal, Ted Gioia closes with an astute observation about the difference between art and entertainment:
Entertainers work to please the audience—after all, that’s the definition of entertainment—but genuine art requires the audience to adapt to it. That’s why the artistic experience is more powerful than mere entertainment. It forces the audience to go places and experience things they may have never anticipated. The artistic experience is broadening and expansive, while entertainment is narrowing and repetitive.
He’s right, of course. And it reminds me of an old joke—not sure where I first heard it—about a certain pop culture phenomenon that happens around this time every year: The GRAMMYs is a music awards show for people who don’t like music.