All Around the World the Same Song
Back when I was a diligent grad student, I stopped by one of my professor's (Daphne Brooks visiting from Princeton) office hours and somehow we got on the subject of rock groupies, which I had researched out at UCLA for a summer. She suggested I check out EMP and since I'm from Seattle and it coincided with my planned spring break visit, I checked it out. During one session, I was sitting by a friendly and engaging woman. We chit chatted and headed to the a few sessions together. I soon realized that she was great working journalist whose work I had frequently read. She invited me to lunch with some other other journo friends which was a little awkward 'cause they were all old friends and established journos and I was just a student. Somehow in the convo I mentioned that the recent profiles of Alicia Keys and 50 Cent read the same. I thought this was a rather innocuous comment but it didn't go over well and I stayed quiet for the rest of the meal but after reading this poor Post piece on Amy Winehouse I'm reminded of that comment. So much of what I read is formulaic. What happened to voice, perspective, insight? Writing for me is a work in progress but criticism, literary and cultural, is a more honed skill. As a critical reader I am deeply and dependably dissapointed. So much writing relies on obvious readings of text (performance, behavioral, literal). My assumption is that professionals in all fields are professional because they provide added value. This one is an equity trader because he has investment acuity. That one is a dancer because she expertly negotiates and embodies movement. This is faulty assumption, I know. We do what we do for a variety of reasons and thanks to a variety of relationships but I wish that assumption held truer.