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Artist Relic Guitars a Contagious "Fetish"?

A Team of Yale Psychologists Says So...

And really, what would we do without social scientific "experts" defining individual aesthetic values in terms of dysfunction. Hey! Maybe someday, Guitar Player & Guitar World magazines will include those 5 page pharmaceutical ads like the ones in People & Woman's Day.

A New York Times piece, published just today, really delivers the psychobabble explanations of why people would spend huge sums of money for guitars formerly owned by famous musicians-- or for replicas of such guitars... We've had a lot of fun with the relic phenomenon at this blog over the past few years, but I just say it boils down as a "to each his own" thing. And if someone can afford it, it's their business. It's certainly nothing new for objects of art to command enormous value, i.e. paintings, sculpture, literary material, vases, etc.

I say the value of any given object, associated with historical or artistic, celebrity significance, is relative to the era and its people. Those of the wherewithal to have collected works by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso or Warhol aren't labeled with some mental condition for doing so. So why label or stigmatize those purchasing a guitar formerly owned and played by Eric Clapton, Hendrix, etc.?

You can read the entire NYT article at the above link, but here's just a sample of the slime which they ooze forth per the "social scientists" at Yale: 

"...Fortunately, social scientists have been hard at work on the answers. After conducting experiments and interviewing guitar players and collectors, they have just published papers analyzing “celebrity contagion” and “imitative magic,” not to mention “a dynamic cyclical model of fetishization appropriate to an age of mass-production.”

One of their conclusions is that the seemingly illogical yearning for a Clapton relic, even a pseudorelic, stems from an instinct crucial to surviving disasters like the Black Death: the belief that certain properties are contagious, either in a good or a bad way. Another conclusion is that the magical thinking chronicled in “primitive” tribes will affect bids for the Clapton guitars being auctioned at Bonhams in Midtown Manhattan..." 

Alright then. So you wouldn't spend 5 or 6 figures on a beat up Strat, no matter who's "touched" it. Understood. But how is this any worse than some useless urn of pharaoh feces found in a pyramid, and therefor assigned an astronomical value? And is the wealthy collector of such an object automatically the subject of mental evaluation and labeling for having procured said urn of pharaoh feces? Nooooooo! In fact, he's probably treated like "the most interesting man in the world". And in the art world, even good replicas and numbered prints can be worthy of some respectability.

I say that guitar collectors, builders and players are entitled to they're own value system, and respect for it as well. I also say "F*@# You!" to the social scientists of Yale and their psych categorizations-- and to the NY Times also!

Stratoblogster Labs - Some of our own ideas about things.

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