A colleague and friend currently has this quote from composer Charles Seeger in the signature of his email: “If you judge the musicality of a nation, don't judge it by the presence of virtuosos. Judge it by the general level of the average person to make music.”
It got me thinking.
When the band Kiss showed up with their stage make-up a fan of mine sought me out to say, “So what? You were doing that a couple of years ago.”
When Bob Dylan showed up on stage in Renaldo & Clara wearing a mask someone leaned over to whisper to me in the theater, “Hey, look. Just like you do.”
When I watched the Residents from backstage in 1990, totally enjoying their stagemanship, the startling realization hit me: “Holy shit! This is just like what I was doing in 1972.”
Am I brilliant? Sure, but that’s not the point here. The nature and realities of media make them focus on singularities, but in fact the Zeitgeist strikes in many places at the same time.