Der Fersko: I've got an idea for the next Aaron Sorkin show
It's about a liberal Senator who works on TV as a hockey analyst
It's called "You Know What You Were Getting Into"
1 hour ago
An illustration of a reel-to-reel tape machine graces the cover of "Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World," the first biography of the renegade folklorist who, says John Szwed, "changed not only how everyone listened to music but even how they viewed America." The drawing shows the type of portable, hi-fi recorder that made possible Lomax's most influential fieldwork, like the 1959 recording of a Mississippi prison work gang that later appeared on the soundtrack for the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (2000).
"Po Lazarus"—rendered by black convicts chopping wood and singing in unison—is vintage Lomax in its utter fidelity (sonic and otherwise) to a world where the grace of artistic expression can rise from the depths of misery. The song is part of the vast Lomax archives. They include more than 5,000 hours of sound recordings, which have been mined by artists from Aaron Copland and Miles Davis to Bob Dylan and Moby, a fitting legacy for a visionary outlaw who believed, says Mr. Szwed, that "folk culture could become pop culture."
No adult in all the land is being forced to go to a classical concert, yet the products of pop culture are imposed on the entire population round the clock. This game of Goliath pretending to be David is getting old. As I said at a Chamber Music America conference a few years ago, classical music is, in a strange way, the new underground.
"Without Wallace, there is no Dave Eggers, no McSweeney's or Believer, no n+1. Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Zadie Smith: All are indebted to Wallace and the shift in sensibility he inaugurated back in the late 1980s and early 90s."
Asked what his favorite book was, Steele replied "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy, adding: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". That line is, of course, from "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. A major error? Nope. But indicative of Steele's inability to contain himself when it comes to his own rhetorical stylings.