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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Okay, so maybe I don’t LIKE classical, but it makes me feel smarter than you!

I don’t mean to spend so much time picking on Russell Smith (full archive of Russell-bashing posts available here), but he makes it much too easy.

He’s still upset about the changes to Radio 2. It’s been a few weeks now, and cracks are starting to show. Gleefully, he points to a set of talking points that have surfaced, including the woefully bad “Let’s not confuse quality of music with style of music”.

Talking points are normal – every organization develops them, and if they don’t, they should – but this line isn’t great. CBC executives should have stopped parroting it as soon as the list was leaked. But then, it’s not as if the MotherCorp takes my free communications advice anyway.

This phrase is the smoking gun! Those clumsy oafs at the CBC had no idea that they would be stumbling into the piercing light of Russell’s scrutiny. Obviously, by pointing out that there is excellent Canadian music in all genres, they are REALLY saying that Britney Spears is just as good as Bach! There’s no other way to interpret their talking points. NOW they look stupid, don’t they?

Russell’s work for the day is clearly done. He’ll take a nonfat lattemochaspressachino with extra sprinkles, please.

But of course, he needs to continue for a few hundred more words. And this is my favourite part, because it’s the most revealing. Russell’s looking for a way to quantify artistic value. His preferred method is to determine each song’s complexity, which he informs us means that only certain people – those who put real work into it – can appreciate his favourite music. Not like those low-brow songs ANYONE can like without understanding the historical references.

Ah. So again, it’s not about whether the music is good, but about whether he can congratulate himself for listening to it. Radio 2 used to offer him a sense of distinction. Now I understand why he’s so upset about the changes.