Gumbrecht provides an interesting observation about racial culture and Paris’s craze over exotic dances and songs. For example, he uses Josephine Baker to emphasize how her movements and nakedness fascinates the public. According to Gumbrecht, Baker’s performances weren’t erotic, but something authentic and closer to reality (Gumbrecht, 67). Gumbrecht includes many interactions people had with Josephine Baker. The gentlemen described her to be unworldly, primitive, and modern (Gumbrecht, 68). I believe Gumbrecht is pointing out how the public dehumanized Baker, forming her into a creature rather than a human being. Baker’s provocative dance, along with her race, made her an icon in Paris.
Gumbrecht continues to discuss the popularity of jazz music in Paris and how the inhabitants saw the music as a combination of “sophisticated taste and raw physical force” (Gumbrecht, 121). Gumbrecht supposes that jazz music and it’s connection to African culture seemed to evoke “authenticity and longing” in the eyes of “European intellectuals” (Gumbrecht, 122). He also includes the criticisms of jazz music and the contrasting viewpoints of the highly educated. A number of critics express their displeasure of jazz music by describing the genre as “aggressive clinking against glass, abrupt crumpling of paper, clanging of steel” (Gumbrecht, 124) and so on. On the other hand, some critics found jazz interesting and bold with its improvisations and complex rhythms (Gumbrecht, 123). Gumbrecht effortlessly expresses the controversy of jazz music within learned communities.
It is my belief that through Gumbrecht’s writing style, he clearly points out the hype of society in the twenties. By communicating the information Gumbrecht has gathered in a “storybook” style, understanding the drastic changes in Parisian society is obvious. Utilising this writing skill, Gumbrecht successfully demonstrates how racial culture took Paris by storm.