Sunday, January 11, 2004


I can appreciate how the Right has managed to dominate much of the rhetoric and language within media but that doesn't mean they can write. What I'm continually awed by is how conservative pundits have managed to dominate popular media yet, as writers, can't even eke out a compelling sentence. This has nothing to do with ideology - there are many writers whose opinions I disagree with but whose command of prose and language still has me nodding in admiration.

Case in point - the right-wing extremist (see, I know how this works) National Review Online got S.T. Karnick, editor of another conservative fundamentalist nagazine (that's not a typo), American Outlook, to write a column on the best music of 2003. I don't have issues with his choices - that's just a matter of opinion - but Karnick sounds like he's a college sophomore, applying for a job at his school paper.

For one thing, his intro analysis of "what's wrong with the music industry" isn't even good enough to be called Adorno for Dummies even though he's trying to tackle it from the angle of "commercialism hurts art". Wait - I thought right-wing extremist fundamentalist cultural terrorists LIKED capitalism. What's going on here?

Also, he separates rap from hip-hop. What, is he going to start talking about how "today's rap doesn't represent the four elements"?

Through the remainder of his column, his descriptions of albums he likes usually manage to say nothing at all - he's a classic tell-er, not show-er (which, to me, is utterly in line with a conservative pundit since they spend all their time telling people how to think anyways). I mean, what do we gain from this?

    "David Bowie's Reality easily ranks among his best albums of the past two decades. Covering nearly all of the many musical styles Bowie has worked in during his career, while applying lots of new wrinkles and his knack for odd, unexpected, but enjoyable musical quirks, Reality is quite impressive in its musical creativity. A high point is "Days," a lovely song both musically and lyrically, which should become a classic."

Ok - I have absolute NO idea what Reality sounds like based on this review. Not a shred.

I could go on and on but really, Karnick's piece speaks more loudly to its own faults than I ever could. Does anyone out there actually know of WELL-WRITTEN cultural criticism from the Right? Inquiring lefty minds want to know... (saw info on Karnick's column on Sasha's blog originally)