What is being rejected is structure, both in musical taste and in the society that generates it, in both cases under the fallacious premise that raw emotion is somehow more genuine than the refined sort. The structure is stricture dogma has had a death-grip on art for quite some time now.
Some paradoxes happened along the way of the process you describe. It used to be that courage was required for an artist to differ from the old realist school. "The traditional art rules the world" stopped being a truth long-long time ago. So, what courage are we talking about when a student rebels against old traditions that his teachers don't defend and peers not practice? Its like protesting the war in Berkley! Or participating in a gay parade in San Francisco. Now, more courage is required to sit it out there. If pushing an envelope brings you Oscar, where is courage in doing so? If everybody in the class wants to be a non-conformist and "f**k society" by piercing the nose, and you sit in your class, with your nose pierced, and everybody around you have nose pierced too, aren't you an ultimate conformist?
It used to be that refinement of the "higher classes" was something that "low classes" tried to emulate: that included manners, education, etc - to act like a gentleman or lady was to better yourself. Then fat rich kids decided that crass and vulgar was rebellious and good, and its still the prevailing style of the cool, IN crowd.
Not that refinement by itself guaranteed your goodness, its not that simple of course, but a quest to achieve the higher standards is healthier and more rewarding in the long run then achieving lower standards - this requires no effort at all.
Somebody said that civilization fights barbarians in every generation of its own kids. I do. When I get compliments how gentlemanly my boys are, I am kind of pleased in one half of my brain, but the fact that its kind of unusual and needs to be noted - that's sad.
Absolutely, and some sweet ironies as well. When Paganini started to pop up in heavy metal guitar riffs I knew that genre was leaning back toward (gasp!) adulthood. There is, however, a touch of elitism both in Paganini and in the Mozart that Dalrymple cites - not everyone can play it. You have to earn the right.
That "earning the right" concept is anathema to the instant gratification children that plague so many of the arts. Not everyone can draw a recognizable portrait, but anyone can throw a can of paint at a canvas. There is, of course, hope. Perhaps someday genuine poetry may emerge from the obscene mumblings of a hip-hop artist. Before he's shot.