Thursday, May 27, 2004

OH, THOSE KRAZY KULTURE KOPS! "Without passing judgment on the movie as such, it's clearly based on the usual false assumptions..." Well, you know you're in Culture-War No-Man's-Land when you hear crap like that. This one comes from The Corner, where Mark Krikorian explains that though he hasn't seen A Day Without a Mexican ("it's not being shown anywhere I can get to" -- the tunnels radiating from his bunker don't extend to the local cineplex, I guess), he still has lots to say about it, including this: "The very premise of the movie is thus blood-and-soil nationalism of das Volk (or rather, La Raza), which is only socially permissable when advocated by approved ethnic groups." Wow! Maybe he saw the trailer.

But equally blind are they who will not see. An alicublog reader tipped me to World Magazine, a journal that pre-digests current events for squeamish Christians. Their arts coverage comes in slabs stamped "Cultural," and one imagines editors screaming across the newsroom, "Support for gay marriage is going up -- we need three more slabs of Cultural, stat!" Their reviewers have seen the movies they discuss, but with a sharp eye for non-evangelical content and a blind one for everything else. Of Troy, Marvin Olasky writes that "Bradd Pitts" is "too likable" as Achilles, and that the film should have focused on Hector -- presumably because Olasky finds Hector more clean-cut. (Olasky also cautions that in Troy's bed scenes "illicit sex is made to look good.")

Music also comes under review by my new favorite pop critic, Arsenio Orteza. He chides Prince for his "low" content, which features "many sexual allusions, both explicit (e.g., 'Gett Off') and implicit (e.g., 'Little Red Corvette')." ("Little Red Corvette" is implicit? Not the way Amatullo sang it in "The Kids from Fame in Israel"!) Orteza concludes that "For people who speak no English, Prince remains a legitimate thriller" -- judging from his prose style, Orteza is indeed qualified to make this judgement -- "For many English speakers, however, Prince's obsession with sex will connect him to Messrs. [Michael] Jackson and [Kobe] Bryant in ways that no amount of sales or pleasure can eclipse." I think I disagree -- what specific amount of sales or pleasure are we talking about here?

The Beatles are alright, per Orteza, but only if that line about Christ in "The Ballad of John and Yoko" is a spoof on Lennon's "Bigger than Jesus" crack, not if he's "taking Christ's name in vain." In which case the Beatles are objectionable, just like everything else, it would seem, except bluegrass, which Orteza likes because it's "colorblind, sex-blind, [and] age-blind" (the unfortunate result of all that moonshine, one imagines). And you have to love how Orteza describes Bob Marley & The Wailers' "world view":
Explicitly: that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are worth getting up, standing up, and fighting for; Implicitly: that smoking marijuana is a sacrament and that slain Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is the Messiah.
Suddenly it all makes sense!

At World even baseball must be reduced to Cultural: "Baseball fosters the right mentality for sustaining a war on terrorism," explains Gene Edward Veith. It also embodies "the trials and disciplines of free enterprise." And another thing: "We lose wars when we on the home front lose our will or our heart or our courage—even while our troops win on the battlefield. That is how we lost the Vietnam War..." What's that got to do with baseball? Don't ask Veith, who seems to have entered some sort of trance: "The news cycle is an up-and-down, good news/bad news roller coaster... When the Bears are doing badly, Soldier Field is deserted. But Cubs fans still pack Wrigley Field, even in the bad years, and they persevere." It takes a lot for me to say this, but I'd rather read George Will's baseball shit.

UPDATE. Tbogg amplifies admirably on Krikorian's willful cluelessness.

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