September 14, 2007

The Fine Arts and the Paper of Record

As any literate human being well knows, The New York Times bills itself as “the Paper of Record.” Accordingly, the editorial eminences at this storied newspaper consider themselves the most important political and cultural arbiters in these here United States.

It is a matter of course, then, that folks turn to the arts section of said paper in order to take stock of the latest odds and ends in the world of high culture. After all, this is the Gray Lady—a newspaper for serious folks, not the halfwits who read The New York Post.

And what sort of high culture concerns the self-possessed media elites who run the Times? Well, on Thursday, September 13, the answer to that question appeared to be Britney Spears. But of course.

You see, dear reader, in this particular issue of the Paper of Record, an article concerning Ms. Spears graces page one, above the fold. Of all the events in the cultural universe, Britney Spears’ recent appearance at something called the MTV “Video Music Awards “ struck the snooty highbrows at the Times as the most crucial.

Well, consider us behind the times. Until we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” had read this deeply important article in the Times, we thought Britney Spears was some teeny-bop moron known more for her white-trash antics than any sort of worthwhile contribution to American music.

But that’s not how the Times sees it. Rather, “Spears’s Awards Fiasco Stirs Speculation about her Future,” a hand-wringing report by one Jeff Leeds (re-printed in The International Herald Tribune), seems almost comically serious about the pop singer’s banal antics.

You see, dear reader, Ms. Spears has performed poorly of late, leading some of her dimwitted fans to worry desperately about the erstwhile pop sensation. The Times’s Mr. Leeds reports:

With her first studio album in four years scheduled for release on Nov. 13, the music industry is debating whether Ms. Spears’s career can recover.

“Is she going to be the next Michael Jackson?” wondered Jay Marose, a former publicist for teen-pop acts like the Backstreet Boys.

Oooh, what a good question. We take it that Mr. Marose wonders if Ms. Spears, like Michael Jackson, will wind up as a homosexual pedophile. Who knows, who knows?

And here’s another good question: How can anyone tell when Britney Spears’ concerts are good? If you ask us, they’re all infantile garbage.

For a newspaper rather quick to chastise Rupert Murdoch’s tabloidization of national and international news, this strikes us as pathetically hypocritical. Why doesn’t the Paper of Record buck the trends and spend most of its energies on real music?

After all, if Britney’s career goes bust, it won’t exactly be a landmark moment in American music history. You’d think that the stuffed shirts at The New York Times would recognize this.

Posted at September 14, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack