Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good Steps

I've complained before about how The Nation was backing off on music criticism after the death of their longtime critic, Edward Said. So I just wanted to note that the trend seems to be reversing: in recent weeks we've had David Schiff reviewing a production of Peter Grimes, and the ever-fabulous Daphne Brooks writing a smart piece on Amy Winehouse. Keep up the good work! Now you just need to hire a permanent music critic, and you will be back in my good graces.

Incidentally, do you subscribe to The Nation? If you are a leftie like me, you should. I'm probably biased by my romantic attachment to print culture (and cheap newsprint at that) but I think it's important to support what few institutions for intelligent left political discourse we have left. The Nation can often be supremely annoying, but it's easy enough to skip over Alexander Cockburn's weekly nostalgia for the Cold War in favor of Patricia Williams, Katha Pollit, and one of the best book review sections in the business. Plus, Calvin Trillin, deadline poet! And it's cheap: $32 for a year's subscription.


CelloShots said...

I may or may not be in love with Patricia J. Williams. Alexander Cockburn makes me want to scratch my eyes out. Katha Pollitt always helps alleviate that feeling. Sadly, I must depart from your tastes when it comes to Calvin Trillin; he always just makes me a little annoyed. Luckily, I have Frank Lewis, crossword master, and occasionally Eric Alterman to calm me down.

In short, yes. I read the Nation. And I've devoured the recent music articles excitedly, hoping for more. Even the odd one about the Stravinsky collection.

Peter (the other) said...

After many years of subscribing, I went off The Nation after the 1-2 punch of Hitchens going to the dark side, and their middle-of-the-road, "liberal" (in the worst sense) position in the 2000/2004 elections.

But thank you for the Daphne Brooks introduction, I did like that writing. My own disappointment in Winehouse is more one of musical material, they have one hook and are going to beat it into the ground. Like many who came up during the harmonic restrictions created by sampling, the idea of a "bridge", or "release" (both harmonically and texturally) is atrophied. Most of the great singers of the past, that Brooks mentioned, did not write their own material, Winehouse might learn something from that.