Authenticity

Bill Nye, on the latest episode of Star Talk Radio, highlighting similarities between the approach to science communication in the U.S. and the U.K.:

The thing is, you want to be authentic. When the viewer looks at you, you want him or her to feel that you care about him or her; that you’re looking right at ’em. That I am trying to engage you.

One thing I’ve always felt is missing from a lot of classical music communication is this kind of sincerity. Musical ideas tend to feel watered-down, and the impression is given that the expert is coming down to the viewer’s (or listener’s, or reader’s) level, rather than bringing the viewer up. Audiences aren’t stupid, and they know when people are condescending to them.

I’d love to see a Carl Sagan, or a David Attenborough, or a Neil DeGrasse Tyson for classical music. And in fairness, the landscape isn’t totally barren: Benjamin Zander and Howard Goodall have both done good work on this, but neither of them has the reach or scope of the great science communicators.