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Épater les bourgeois

Related: shock value - bourgeoisie - middle class

The French expression épater les bourgeois means to "shock the middle class." There is a peculiar interplay and codependency between artists who wish to shock the bourgeoisie. On the one hand the artist despises and loathes the bourgeois audience he wants to shock; on the other hand he can't live without them. From the audience's side this requires a rather masochist attitude. To me, French singer Jacques Brel epitomized this grotesque relationship. [Sept 2006]

Shock the bourgeoisie

In a typically seventies 'revolutionary' discourse Amos Vogel describes the bourgeosie:

After I Am Curious Yellow (1967), Last Tango in Paris (1972), A Clockwork Orange, (1971) or Straw Dogs (1971), it is becoming increasingly difficult to shock the bourgeoisie, who now accept all insults with a benign smile, secure in the knowledge that their pockets are not being picked simultaneously. -- Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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