So I’ve decided to educate myself about classical music. To do so, my strategy is simply to go to concerts - no NPR Guide, no classes, no cheesy “Mozart for Romantics” cds. I’m simply going to go to the concert, and if the music moves me the way pop and jazz does, great. If not - and no matter who says how great it is - so be it. Music shouldn’t be like eating green beans.
As conservative journalist Brian Anderson has show in his book South Park Conservatives, the Right is increasingly savy about and accepting of popular culture. Yet there is still a long way to go. For years I have advocated National Review, The New Criterion, First Things, the Weekly Standard and other conservative megaphones cover rock and roll. To me, much rock and roll was - is - a great form of modernist art, worthy of consideration among the knowing class. Indeed, I have argued that rock and roll is a Christian art form. Why leave its beauty to the pagans?
The de-Christianizing of America continues. The latest example is My Name is Bill W., a movie about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. My Name is Bill W. was a Hallmark Hall of Fame tv movie in 1989, and was released on dvd June 6. It’s possible to be heartened by the prospect of the film getting larger audience and thus helping alcoholics. What’s sad is that they have taken God out of this particularly God-center organization.
In today’s New York Times Book Review, Alan Wolfe reviews What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts, a book by Penn State professor Michael Berube. Berube attacks conservatives activist David Horowitz, who for years has attempted to address the leftward bias of elite universities.
A few weeks ago, pop star Hillary Duff got in trouble when she referred to her boyfriend’s home down, the white Maryland suburb of Waldorf, as “ghetto.” Duff was attempting to paint her beau, a punk rock musician, as legitimate, and the way to do that in 21st century pop culture is to act, well, “ghetto.” That is to say, to imitate the worst black urban culture - crime, illiteracy, misogyny.
The secularization and liberalization of once-Catholic educational institutions is by now an old story. When my expose of my old high school was published last year (God and Man at Georgetown Prep), many people were appalled at the stories of drugs, alcohol, homosexuality and socialism at America’s oldest Catholic boarding school. But I must admit, as many if not more claimed that I was not on to anything new. The leftist march through the institutions included Catholic schools. It was just a fact of life.
I know this is politcalmavens.com and not the ESPN zone, but I have to reply to Sheryl’s post about the Redskins, and me being a fair weather fan. A fair weather fan implies that one vacillates between cheering for the team when they are hot and ditching them when they are not.
It’s not uncommon to lose interest in a sports franchise as one gets older. But in the last few years it has amazed me how many of my friends have become hostile to our once-beloved Washington Redskins. Not indifferent, mind you — angry.
After several years and much begging, The American conservative has put online a piece I did about the evolution of Haynes Johnson’s journalism. I know I’ve written some terrible stuff, so don’t take it as ego when I say I think I have Johnson, Washington Post grad, Pulitzer winner and U of Maryland professor, dead to rights.
I suppose it was only a matter of time. I’m turning 42 this year, and like most 42 year-olds I’m ready to declare the death of pop music. But would I be so wrong? For years I’ve been arguing with conservatives that rock and roll is the last great modernist art form - that from the Beatles to Radiohead, pop music has made a signal accomplishment in Western art.