Saturday, February 23, 2008


There's an article in this week's New York Times Magazine about Anita Renfroe, a female Christian comedian who's big on YouTube.

I guess she's just as fascinating (in a female preacher/dog-walking-on-its-hind-legs way) as Brad Stine, a male Christian comedian the paper had John Leland (yep, Mr. Hip: A History himself) profile back in 2005. (Stine also got a lavish tongue-bath from the New Yorker in 2004.)

I'm not gonna get all Steve M. here, and go off on a tirade about supposedly liberal media outlets and their endless anthropological fascination with people - from performers to politicians - who hate and scorn them. My point is this: I am a firm believer in the positive side of cultural atomization. I don't think it's necessary for any news outlet to be all things to all people. I don't think music critics should be generalists, attempting to know a little bit about everything. I believe critics should specialize, learn a niche and live it. And I think newspapers and magazines should have viewpoints, stick to them, and not bother to engage the other side - and that starts with recognizing that there is another side, that cultural polarization does exist. Anita Renfroe and Brad Stine fans don't give a hot crap about what the New York Times thinks; if they do, it's in a reactionary way, i.e. if the Times is for it, they're agin it. So screw 'em. Let Stine, Renfroe, and all their fellows get their publicity from Christian Comedy Weekly or whatever, the same way fans of basement black metal read Terrorizer and Metal Maniacs, not Rolling Stone, to get their information. (Assuming they read "old media" at all, of course. Which is my second point - if this woman's a huge hit on YouTube, doesn't that prove she doesn't need the Times's imprimatur?)

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