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I meant to make a laudatory post last week to the effect that, where other than The New Yorker might you find a smart, funny, informative article on a literary figure as obscure as Alfred Lord Dunsany

I took that test when we applied to adopt! Picture was from the 30's: any idiot could tell that you were supposed to translate the stallion and the shirtless man in the picture into something sexual.

Mitchell is right on this precise point, though: as a classical music fan, I find its use in classical venues to be an outrage.

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Then I start reading the review of “The First Lady,” and Ryan Murphy wanders in unannounced. I Google him and yes, duh, my fault, he’s the Glee guy, I remember him now.

But William Blake and Chick Corea need intros, Ryan Murphy, Marcel Duchamp and Isaac Hayes don’t? I would obsess less  if this wasn’t The New Yorker where I really thought the copy was incredibly tightly edited. 

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In fairness, I think the main reason they defined Isaac Hayes by his VO work on "South Park" was because he quit the show when they did an episode making fun of Scientology.

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No, no. Al Jarreau surely isn’t better known than Chick Corea. Isaac Hayes may be. It’s this idiot random descriptor thing that is driving me crazy. Why didn’t we get “a French artist Marcel Duchamp”?

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There's a sort of thread there, though.  It's loose and imperfect, but it's there.

It seems to be that familiarity with junk mass culture is assumed -- but nothing else.

Al Jarreau had hit singles; Chick Corea didn't.  Etc. etc.

I keep thinking of how both Susan Sontag and Pauline Kael came to regret how their strong advocacy of "low" culture came to drive out the "high" culture they both loved.  Sontag put it cogently in her "Afterword" to the 1986 reissue of Against Interpretation.  But Kael, as is her wont, put it more pithily:  "When we argued for trash culture, we didn't think trash culture would be all there is."

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I started the article about Wittgenstein with some trepidation. I put it down halfway through, not because of an objectionable philosophical observation, but because the writer noted that Wittgenstein was in the habit of eating a "cold pork pie" at the movies.

Of course it was cold. Who would eat a hot pork pie? Answer: my father. Fending for himself after my mother passed away, he put a pork pie in the microwave. It melted.

Pork pies are eaten cold.

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