Monthly review

Off we go on a spin through February’s SN:

  • Devon McGlamery looks like he’s half asleep most of the time in pictures (p20, 59).
  • Roy Pauley (p24): As per usual, another column from Roy “The List Maker” Pauley, this time the top-10 all-around most talented sg folks. Whatever. Two things: One. Ben Speer? … c’mon. Arranger? Sure. Smart businessman? Sure. Capable singer in his family’s group? Sure. Likeable guy? Seems so. Friend of Bill Gaither? Yep. But one of the 10 most all-around talented people in sg? Even if he could write an original tune, play it, produce a full-scale recording of it, sell it, and tap-dance while doing all of this on a burning tight rope above a pit of hungry crocodiles, there’d still be the problem of his voice. Which is just average, at best. Can you be one of the top 10 most all-around talented people in any kind of music and not sing well (or, perhaps more to the point, can you be in this category if the famous music school you own doesn’t have a proper website? Two: Not to be outdone by Larry Summers, Roy Pauley can’t find one single woman for his list. Three (Ok three things): has anything happened in Pauley’s mind the last 20 years?
  • Scott Fowler is a funny guy (p28-29), but just slightly irreverently so, which is refreshing. That bit about praying “for at least a nano-second” after George and Glen offered him the job, … a nice line. And there were others. Though I doubt he meant to be funny when he said that opposition to conservative evangelical Christian politics “is very organized, loud, tenacious, and persistent.” As if a bunch of Quakers got Republicans in control of all three branches of government and evangelical conservative leadership in two of those three (House and White House). Accuse progressives and liberals of a lot of things, but you can’t accuse them of outlouding conservatives any time soon, alas. Anyway, these interviews are far and away my favorite feature in the SN. I really do look forward to them, I can honestly say.
  • If Cricket Lee (p40) can make it, I assume Lexus Jazz Hopper will be able to.
  • The Jody Brown Indian Family Part I (p38). No disrespect, but why “Indian” in the title? Yes, yes .. I know they’re of Native American descent, and I yes, I remember the Klaudt Indian Family, who may be considered a kind of template for the use of “Indian” in the name. But still … what’s the point? Are sg fans who aren’t specifically out looking for Native American music really more likely to go see a group or buy someone’s product if they know the group is Indian? And why Indians and not other ethnic backgrounds? Why not, say, The Issacs Jewish Family? The Isaacs make no secret on stage of their Jewish heritage, but that ethnicity is not explicitly in the name. Is there some historically verifiable exotic appeal for typical sg fans (nevermind how you know what that means) about Native Americans and the notion of an Indian family singing sg?
  • The Jody Brown Indian Family Part II (back page): The ad is promoting their new song “Jump Out of the Boat,” and everyone is jumping … but shouldn’t they be in or around … ya know … a boat?
  • Q: How many shameless “news stories” can we have promoting NQC in a magazine owned by an NQC board member? (p45) A: At least one a month, evidently. This month’s features the “chronological history” of NQC. Thank goodness. Those unchronological histories confuse the pants off me.
  • That Ken Kirskey is a smart fella, and a brave one, insofar as someone can be brave who is the son of the editor of the publication he writes for and whose editorial space in said magazine was pre-ordained. But no matter the reasons behind his presence in the SN (he seems more suited reviewing books or being the resident conservative intellectual for something like Christianity Today, to be honest), I appreciate it when he reviews serious books about serious topics, as he does this month (p70-71) by reviewing David Kling’s The Bible in History and Alister McGrath’s The Twilight of Atheism (of course McGrath is sorely mistaken if he thinks his own defection from atheism portends a wider crisis in that mode of thinking, but that’s not Kirksey’s problem). Frankly, I’m often inclined to play that old childhood game “one of these things does not belong” with KK’s columns, because … well, if we could wheel that aforementioned “typical sg fan” back out on stage for a second, I’d want to know how clear the distinction is for that fan about terms like, say, “deism” and “theism.” But intellectual challenge is something the SN can always use more of, so you won’t find me complaining (at least not that much).
  • Oy vey those SN “music reviews” are getting bad. Certainly they’re getting worse. They now consist of little more than threading some boilerplate praise around a list of song titles. Really. I’m not kidding. Go look at the four “reviews” on p72. They typify the probative style of SN’s unnamed reviewers. That’s right, the reviews are written anonymously. Which reminds of an email I saw that Ken Kirksey sent to reader AG about this site when it first came out. Kirksey wrote, “Unfortunately, whoever is doing this blog does not have the courage to put their name on it. Following the example of my pastor, I don’t read anything written by anyone who does not have the courage enough to sign.” Nevermind what KK and his pastor do with their electric bills. What I really wonder is if Kirksey reads the SN’s reviews … or (quelle scandal!) writes them. Now that makes me giggle just thinkin’ about it.
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