Wednesday, September 24, 2003

WORD. If you're a cultural reporter who wants to sell a story to National Review Online, Dan LeRoy ("a freelance writer who has contributed to Vibe, the Hartford Courant and Alternative Press") has the formula worked:

Step one: Pick a topic that no one at the magazine understands -- like hip-hop.

Step two: Focus on an easily-researched group within that category -- like the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

Step three: Use lots of proper names, but do no primary reporting.

Step four: Leave the editors in a cheerful mood by imagining the hip-hop community as a potential Republican voting bloc:'s hard not to imagine the shockwaves that could ensue if the music was used to fight a different, more destructive, power. Just imagine a Jay-Z or a P. Diddy joining forces with protesters for school choice. Or what might happen if such artists told the world that affirmative action (which didn't help them sell a single album, after all) has gone on long enough.

It looks easy and fun. Maybe I'll try it with, um, let's see, Idlewild. "Could 'You Hold the World in your Arms' be about UN Resolution 1441 after all? 'When you’re secure, do you feel much safer?/When days never change and it’s three years later...' Imagine dreamy frontman Roddy Woomble crooning that to Kofi Annan!" But hell, who wants to listen to that much Idlewild? Maybe I'll just write about my cats. "As Bella stalked the mosquito, her face took on the unflappable, can-do calm of George W. Bush on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. I think I'll buy her a little flight suit, and take her to visit Peggy Noonan."

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