"After Elvis, the commercial culture of rock and roll simply occupied the mindspace that totalitarians need, and it out-competed them. "
I'd never considered this before, and I like the idea so much. It puts politics and music on the same spectrum, both competing for the attention of young people. And it makes sense for the 20th century, where the competitive antagonist 'music' progressively became more catchy and less motivating, as it got better and better at occupying 'mindspace'.
You'd predict that American politics would be more histrionic and meaningful, to compete with music, but I don't think that's what's happened.
Need to chew on this.