Carl Finch asks how to raise the profile of polka. I’m thinking that the most radical idea is the simplest: just don’t call it “polka”.

Polka has a very square reputation, but it’s not because of anything about the music. The image of polka is all about embracing the past — which is the opposite of the youth impulse to challenge the present. Rather than fight the poor image of polka, I say just dispose of the word and call it something else. It worked for the Chinese gooseberry, and it can work for polka.

So what’s the new name for polka? I suggest simply “dance music”. It doesn’t matter if there are other styles of music which you can dance to, just like it didn’t matter that “alternative music” didn’t include most of the alternatives or that you could be grungy and not play “grunge”.

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