By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

In the breakdown lane

Is it just me? Is the Web ridiculously slow today? Or is that guy in the pickup truck across the street pilfering my WiFi signal?

It certainly doesn’t make me feel like blogging, although I’ll try again later. For now, I’ll leave you with Jody Rosen’s ridiculous Slate essay about Johnny Cash in which he asks: “Can pop music be both great art and shameless kitsch?”

Answers: (1) Uh, yes; and (2) I believe that was settled about 50 years ago.

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“A lot more Sudbury than Roxbury”


Trouble in WiFi city


  1. Aaron Read

    If there’s an audio archive somewhere, check out the stories on NPR’s Morning Edition about Bush’s latest statements about who “won” (or more to the point…who “lost”) in the wake of the Israeli-Hezbollah cease fire.(I think it was this report by David Greene)The exasperation is rather blatant in both the tone of the reporter and the writing of the script. The impression I walked away with this morning was that NPR feels Bush is actively trying to sabotage the cease fire.Given previous administration moves, I can’t easily discount that impression…even though it smacks of conspiracy theory-ism.Sigh. Wake me when it’s 2008…

  2. John Galt

    Suspect the recent Israel-Hisbollah dust-up may blossom into another fullblown fiasco for this inept administration. What stirs angst is that continuing miltary failures might lead some fool to see our weakness as much greater than that of the current thieves in 1600 and attack us.

  3. island_earth

    When I saw your subject “In the breakdown lane,” I thought you were going to address yesterday’s horrendous Globe article Off-Duty Officer at Wheel in Crash somehow. The entire article describes how an off-duty police officer hit a woman’s car that was parked in the breakdown lane, killing the woman, and he won’t be charged. Heaven forbid the reporter would ask *why* he won’t be charged, leaving it to the reader to assume it’s because he’s an off-duty police officer. Which may well be the reason, but you’d think the reporter would try to get someone on the record about that one…

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Dan -Longtime fan here–your blog is, of course, required daily reading and has rarely steered me wrong.I also felt the premise of Jody Rosen’s Slate piece was a bit ridiculous, but had it focused on analyzing the Cash recordings themselves without positioning them as a torchbearer of “seriously artistic kitsch” (i.e. delving into the Rubin recordings without the 50-years-already answered question), it might’ve sparked some good debate on Cash worship. We all love Big John, naturally, but those Rubin recordings are hardly unimpeachable. They’re quite wonderful, all 5 of them, but even Rosen turns in the necessary tributes to “greatest troubadour” and mentions it’s “peevish” to blast them because Cash is one of popular music’s glass cases–don’t touch, and definitely don’t break. Genius as the American Recordings are in parts (see, even I have to!), the whiff of caricature (though not quite cheese) is also often…it’s the syrupy covers of “One,” “Bridge over Troubled Water” and others that linger, not the startling originals or the (much better chosen) lesser-known covers.Also…Jody Rosen is male.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 12:17 — Oops. Fixing now.

  6. Rick in Duxbury

    Island earth:Well put. The problem was that there was no breakdown lane, as such, for her to retreat to. The far right was a travel lane as well and the cop should have known that when choosing to pass on the right. He might as well have been driving over someone’s front lawn.(Is it my imagination or do Boston drivers under 30 pass on the right and use the breakdown lane unnecessarily to an amazing extent?) If this cop beats this one,it will speak VOLUMES.

  7. Anonymous

    By definition, I think all Jody Rosen essays on music are ridiculous.

  8. Lex

    Rosen’s question is only slightly less ridiculous than “Will human beings ever fly?”

  9. Anonymous

    Dan, to get back to your question: Yes, I am pilfering your WiFi signal. Hey, new planter boxes, huh? By the way, you need better blinds if you’re going to do that in the living room.

  10. another face at zanzibar

    Avoid Jody Rosen at all cost. He answers the question: “Can rock criticism be both a great waste of time and full of pointless questions?”

  11. Don

    The question is, “Who cares?”

  12. Refifi

    Don’t you find that there is an appalling arrogance of ignorance in any discussion concerning popular music? The reference points are barely a century old; is it not probable that prior to electronic techniques the musicians had to be exceptional rather than mundane and marketed?

  13. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

    Dan, the delays you’re experiencing are because the Internet is a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.Now we have a separate Department of Defense internet now, did you know that?Do you know why?Because they have to have theirs delivered immediately. They can’t afford getting delayed by other people.

  14. Anonymous

    Today’s Globe bashing:1. Is the story of a disturbed woman having an episode and peeing herself on a plane above-the-fold frontpage stuff? I enjoyed this passage from the piece:”Authorities said a search found that she was carrying a Phillips-head screwdriver, hand lotion, and matches. Only the matches are permitted in carry-on baggage.”2. There’s a letter to the editor today about how bicyclists have rights, too. I agree with the basic sentiment, but since when do they print letters that don’t reference any particular Globe story? Is the op-ed page a message board for readers to sound off on whatever is bugging them? Will the guy who flipped her off now get to respond?

  15. Anonymous

    I know that Globe-bashing is a everyone’s favorie sport around here, but it would be nice to hear people praising the good stuff that gets into the Globe from time to time, like Donald Murray’s front of the Living section piece in the Sunday paper.

  16. Anonymous

    12:00,Point well taken, Bev Beckham was a great recent addition as well. That said, it’s funny how said Vermonter had credibility among fellow Israel- bashers until she was revealed as a nut. Some revisionist history going on, I wager. Her pay for the anti-American columns she wrote was reported to be $5 each. I think she was overpaid.

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