Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some Sunday morning humor...

So I was just screwing around on the web last night when I got off work, and I was reminded of this classic bit from a few years back...

20 Easy Rules for Writing About Country Music
The Way the Pros Do It!
By Cheryl Cline
There's been a little bit of discussion on the Internet mailing list POSTCARD2 about how rock critics treat alternative country. To tell you truth, the way rock critics write about country, alternative or any other kind, has always grated on me. I started thinking about it, then wrote down a list, then cast it in the form of rules for people who want to try their hand at becoming the next Robert "Bob" Christgau. Not to pick on Bob, though -- most rock critics appear to have these rules tattooed on their frontal lobes.
I know that there are some rock critics who can write wonderfully about country music. This is not about them.

You gotta read the whole thing, but these are a couple of my favorites...

Declare that country music deals in "nostalgia" for a "past that never was." Fail to recognize that this "past" not only *was* but *is* for many people.
Laud the country artists who display character traits most cherished in rock, and whose lyrical concerns hew closest to a rock sensibility.
Play up these traits in country artists you want to make over as rock icons, while glossing over traits any they might exhibit that are more prized by country. (example: play up Johnny Cash as an outlaw; play down Johnny Cash as a Bible scholar.)
Harp on the "dark side" of country music, saying stuff about how the twisted psyche of country artists is what makes the best country music; blithely write about the peccadillos of country artists as if they really are more nuts than rock musicians.

I don't know exactly who she was writing about, but I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few writers at, say, Rolling Stone thought exactly like the writers she was lampooning. I always got that vibe from a lot of what they wrote, anyway.