Monday, October 26, 2009

THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF THE UPPER CRUST

By now many Americans have firsthand experience with how the privileged always have their fingers on the scales of fair play and success.

The phenomenon stretches from executives on Wall Street who enrich themselves while everyone else is getting sacked to ... Ann Powers, the Official Rock Critic at the Los Angeles Times who now gets flown in and out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama -- a couple thousand miles from Los Angeles, to cover concerts like U2 in the Rose Bowl, which is within walking distance off DD's place of residence. During the same week the Times was giving the sack to various journalists from the section for which she writes.

To cut costs.

And nothing signals your single-minded and sincere interest in the very acme of cost-cutting when you shoulder the transport fees of a way out of state Official Rock Critic covering local big events -- like U2 at the Rose Bowl.

That only makes sense.

For the last year or so the Times has mercilessly hacked away at its staffers, running purges -- on average -- about every few months, to improve the bottom line as the Tribune company fell into bankruptcy.

And everyone knows that when the bottom line needs improving because of the avarice of the owner and waning circulation, one small way to do it is to cover Los Angeles from the cosmopolitan 'little LA' of the South, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide. Roll Tide! (With side trips to New Orleans or Nashville or New York.)

The logic and fairness of it is very plain, much like the need for paying bonuses to Wall Street executives of government-rescued firms lest they leave those companies they helped to fail. No one wants that talent to go away. That would be stupid and wrong.

If you need further pursuasion as to the rightness of this, take the case of Steve Lopez, the Times' very famous and very good columnist whose book was made into a big Hollywood movie in which his part was played by Robert Downey! Mr. Lopez has even been on "60 Minutes" and covers the Los Angeles street from State College, Pennsylvania!

Oh, wait! That's not true! Hah-hah. Lopez lives here.

But the Times does need to inspire and preserve its most talented. And Ann Powers won a Pulitzer for her preview of a Prince album, listened to whilst in his limousine.

Oh, wait. She didn't win a Pulitzer. No rock critic ever has. I was just pulling your leg again. The part about being in Prince's limousine was right, though.

Anyway, this peculiar state of affairs has been covered before -- by the LA Weekly.

However, the Weekly's writer kept the superciliousness out of things because the Weekly fires a lot of people, too. And if your boat is rapidly sinking and you're a journalist, others places to jump to -- or to free-lance for -- are boats sinking more slowly, like the Times. So you don't say anything pointed because you'd then be even more shit outta luck if you got fired.

"The Times' Arts & Entertainment editor, Craig Turner, offered some context [on Ann Powers] in a phone conversation earlier this afternoon," reported the altie in mid-August. " 'When the issue of her relocation came up,' he says, 'our concern was that we think Ann is the best pop music critic in the country, and we thought it was important to try and retain her voice in the LA Times for our readers. We feel that she has unique insight and perspective on the world of pop music and celebrity, and we wanted to keep that if at all possible.' "

Because there's such a paucity of music journalists in Los Angeles. Not many people can do it so good, a fact that couldn't be more obvious.

For example and for the sake of illustration, there's this recent Powers bit on Adam Lambert's (a pop celebrity boy who wears mascara and paints his fingernails) new song.

"Power ballads exist to climax," she writes. "I use that final word, in all its lascivious glory, for the obvious reasons."

Or: "For those of us biting our nails about what Lambert might accomplish with his debut album ..."

To print more of this would infect your brain.



Update

A jobless mother starts a humor blog and eventually gets interviewed by NPR.

See here.

Problem: She used the name "Ann Powers" as a pseudonym. Ha-ha.

Standard defender-of-the-snobs at the Washington Post takes up cause for Tuscaloosa Ann Powers.

"Ann Powers the rock critic, who I soooorta know — I have met her and used to work with her husband at Spin — wasn’t jazzed about the existence of Ann Powers the blogger," writes the name-dropping Andrew Beaujon.

He soooorta knows Ann Powers, Official LA Times Rock Critic. And he worked with her husband at Spin! Blimey! Must investigate impudent blogger.

"I’ve called and e-mailed Ann Powers the blogger for comment but she hasn’t replied," he concludes. "I’ll update when/if she does!"

For those of you biting your nails in suspense and anticipation.

1 Comments:

Blogger Bonze said...

Ah, Mr. Destiny, the power of your scoffery is mitigated by the Pure Genius that animates Ann Powers' Mighty (strike)Pen(/strike) Keyboard.

I learned so much from her Prince Article:

"Methodical Spontaneity": the next skill I must master. Oxy-moronic skillz be teh hardest!

Ann Powers is a blond. She was formerly a redhead.

The Wisdom of the Ages: "... the Bible. It's a history book, a science book, a guidebook. It's all the same."

"... sorrow and violence... intertwines with life's joy."

The interview cum preview was conducted in Prince's car. Then it moved into his bedroom, which has white carpet. Then it moved back into his car--only this time it was moving.

Prince is "reviving the quiet storm sound." That's next on my to-do list: mastering quiet storms.

"Beautiful women always have been important in Prince's life." Dang, can't beat that for insight!

Prince is "an expert at wielding the phrase 'off the record.'"

"What I'd experienced was like a dream -- a dream Prince had designed just for me."

Mr. Destiny, I postulate that you are simply jealous because you are incapable of contorting yourself into the postures assumed by a pretentious kiss-ass journo-queen who wields the power of the oxymoron embedded within clouds of prose, striking like lightning (strike)bolts(/strike) bugs from a haze of (strike)towering thunderheads(/strike) pestilential smog.

7:26 PM  

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