Mystery score

Mystery score

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You Say That as if it's a Bad Thing

"This is what comes of bona fide intellectuals flirting with and dabbling in the world of popular culture," ACD says of Alex Ross's appearance on the Colbert Report tonight.

22 comments:

Elaine Fine said...

Alex Ross' publicity people at his press are simply doing the same thing that all publicity people are doing for all kinds of non-fiction writers. I have seen a lot of "bona fide" intellectuals on that program, and I think that it should be fun to watch. Maybe Colbert knows more about music that Charlie Rose?

Anyway, his book has been marketed so successfully that it has, like it or not, become a part popular culture.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I agree with you completely!

Steve Hicken said...

My working definition of "cultural snob" is "one who doesn't want the cultural artifacts he or she enjoys to be enjoyed by too many other people".

rootlesscosmo said...

After you discount for Douglas' hysterical fear of contamination ("Eww! Bjork! Get it OFF me!") and his pretty manifest envy of Ross' success, I don't think much is left in the way of substantive criticism.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hehehe.

Elaine Fine said...

Did you watch the clip? Poor Alex, who is used to a captive and placid audience, was turned into a kind of mincemeat by Colbert, who played the role of the "kid in high school" who has no interest in music beyond the superficial. I did find it funny, but I also found it rather sad--even pathetic. I wish Ross had been quick enough on his "feet" to evoke the name of Leonard Bernstein when responding to Colbert's question about American music, rather than his response to Colbert's loaded Regan question about music by someone who sounds kind of like Copland on a Regan ad. He could have talked about the concerts at Kennedy's White House, or Nixon in China. I guess he missed his moment.

Oh the woes of being promoted as an icon of popular culture!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Watching it now, and, yeah, he gets trapped. Sigh. I think you have to be a little bit of a stand-up comedian yourself to deal with someone like Colbert who is so quick. Alex manages it a couple of times, as in the Copeland exchange.

A.C. Douglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.C. Douglas said...

Rootlesscosmo wrote:
After you discount for Douglas'...pretty manifest envy of Ross' success....


My “envy of Ross’ success”(!)? That’s pretty funny. Don’t read Sounds & Fury very often or at all, do you? Despite our fundamental disagreements on matters pop cultural and on matters having to do with so-called New Music, no blog in the blogosphere has been more lavish or frequent over the years in its praise of Ross as music critic than S&F. You ought to do more research before spouting off like that, m’boy (or m’girl, as the case may be).

Knowhadamean?

ACD

A.C. Douglas said...

Contrary to Lisa and Elaine, I thought Alex held his own and comported himself quite well, all things considered. But as I wrote in an update to my S&F post on this,

[P]erhaps the “interview” did what it was supposed to do book promotion-wise, but, really, was it absolutely necessary?

We think not.


ACD

Bryant Manning said...

I bet ya some Wilco-listening teenager purchased 'Noise somewhere in Missouri today.

The real shame was that the Stockhausen/Sirius bit was cut. The world really didn't get a sense of Alex's funny bone. He's one brave dude for going on there.

d.leone said...

I just watched the clip and thought Alex Ross was fine. Colbert was hilarious but I did not feel he made "mince-meat" of Ross. I received the book today from Amazon and have read most of the first chapter and am looking forward to the rest; his writing is very good and accessible without being shallow, and he has the capability to bring many newbies to classical music through venues like Colbert.

A.C. Douglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.C. Douglas said...

I bet ya some Wilco-listening teenager purchased 'Noise somewhere in Missouri today.

and,

[H]e [Ross] has the capability to bring many newbies to classical music through venues like Colbert.
————————————————————————-

Uh-huh. About the same way that some Wilco-listening teenagers and newbies to classical music bought tickets to the Met (or the Lyric, or San Francisco Opera, or...etc.) due the Three Tenors broadcasts.

The lesson? Never stoop to pandering to proles.

ACD

Lisa Hirsch said...

Strange, I've read about people who first heard opera via the Three Tenors becoming real opera fans!

Bryant Manning said...

The lesson? Never stoop to pandering to proles.

-------------------

But aren't we grateful, for instance, someone pandered to Aaron Copland in his early adolescence? Who's to say he wouldn't have taken over his father's dept. store in a modest district of Brooklyn?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Indeed.

I'm seriously considering a ban on the use of "prole" on this blog unless the term is used in a discussion of Orwell's 1984.

Michael Walsh said...

That still leaves us with plebes, hoi polloi and the great unwashed, so we're in no danger for lack of condescension.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yes, well. We'll see how enthusiastic I get about banning. Those terms could be next!

Marcus said...

Maybe you should ban comments on your blog from those who don't allow comments on theirs...

pjwv said...

I finally saw this segment (I had to ask a friend to Tivo it for me): I thought it went quite well, all things considered, but even though I've loved Colbert since Strangers with Candy, I find the interview segments on his show a bit frustrating, since he does them in character, and often I'd rather hear what the person being interviewed would say outside of the funhouse. I'm wondering if Colbert has an interest in music though, since a few weeks ago Nathan Gunn was supposed to appear on the show, but the writer's strike meant that the episode was cancelled.

RJM said...

I can offer this anecdote - a friend of mine did a gig at an elementary school in New Jersey, playing the piano for a musical show. She said that at the end of the show, only one parent came over to thank her and talk about the music.

They chatted a bit, he said thanks again and walked away. The drummer said, "Do you know who that was? That was Stephen Colbert!"