Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Print, and Music

When it comes down to it, I'm pretty print-based in my media tastes. I value mashed-up tree and ink. I still remember the joy, when growing up, of going down to the main branch of the Oakland Public Library, not just for books, but to browse all the crazy left-wing free newspapers in its lobby. My introduction to left wing politics--I think I was in about eighth grade or so--came from picking up a copy of The People, the official house organ of the Socialist Labor Party. I soon realized that they were completely nutso, but there was (and is) immense pleasure in seeing subversive ideas smeared in cheap ink on newsprint. In college I helped edit an alternative newsmagazine that barely existed (does it still, I wonder? Doesn't look good from the web site!) but managed to pull itself together every few months to print an issue. Today, I subscribe to The Nation and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and I get The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Wax Poetics thanks to the munificence of family and friends. If I had the money, I would subscribe to many more.

And although I spend an extraordinary amount of time online consuming information, even there I have certain aesthetic desires that are fundamentally print-oriented. I hate RSS feeds for instance, vastly preferring to visit individual blogs one by one rather than to strip the text out of its original context. Similarly, part of the reason I started a blog was that I didn't like how in Livejournal, which all of my friends use, it is the reader, not the author, who gets to choose the layout and formatting of entries.

That said, I would like to register a complaint about The Nation. For many years, Edward Said was the music critic for The Nation, and that was great. Since he died, however, there has been no consistent music critic! Jody Rosen was on the masthead for awhile, but I don't think anyone is listed now. Since I and probably most subscribers read The Nation solely for the cultural criticism, I hope they fix this! For instance, the issue I happen to have next to me, January 29, has Martin Duberman doing a great review of Daniel Hurewitz's new book, and Arthur Danto talking about Manet and modernism. The last major music thing I can remember was Paul Griffith's annoyingly dim review of the Taruskin behemoth. Maybe there was a short thing about jazz recently. Come on people! If you can have an official in-house architecture critic, you can have a music critic. Don't worry, we come cheap.


Doug Gentry said...

Sounds like you should send them your resumé!

BBound said...

It's true--I would come really cheap!

Kelsey said...

Pssh. At this point, I would work for ramen. Call me, The Nation!