Culture

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Growing up, I found music more interesting than sports.

I devoured every issue of Rolling Stone and Musician in between sessions at the piano or on my guitar. My classic rock sensibilities followed me through my classical music studies as a music (and philosophy) major at Duke, where I interviewed guitar legend Richard Thompson (page 18) and a host of jazz luminaries (page 3 — and yes, Clint Eastwood was there). I wrote about my percussionist days, and I still harbor dreams of being a bass player in a semi-progressive rock band.

So I have plenty of music posts at my personal blog, Mostly Modern Media. You’ll also find some fun reads on television and comedy. My friends at the entertainment site Popdose also let me write.

I’ve also had some brutally honest reflections on my occupation, journalism, starting in 2000 with my grad-school projectThe Changing Face of News in the Information Age. I warned of journalists sacrificing accuracy and context to be “first” with the news, and I worried that readers would personalize their information to the point of ignoring everything that doesn’t fit their world view. I hate being right.

And I’m not just a sports-and-rock guy pontificating about journalism. I spent much of my career on news desks. At Duke, I covered the sentencing of the “bogus baron” and wrote opinion pieces on letter grades and academicese. At Ozy, a couple of decades later, I wrote about Millennials spurning small towns in a piece that was picked up at NPR.

But the biggest non-sports piece I’ve ever written was a Guardian piece on the revival of Flat Earth theory. Written in 2016, not 1716.

Projects and indexes

Recent music

Latest at Mostly Modern Media 

  • Reviewing the “Every Rush song ranked” article
    I thought I took on a massive task when I reviewed every Rush album through 2008 (see most of the “rush” category here). I didn’t realize until today that I’d forgotten to review Clockwork Angels, so I’ll do so here: It’s … Continue reading →
  • The “Life of Brian” debate, nearly 40 years later
    Having spent a day on the soccer fields and being ready to think about anything other than soccer, I watched something I’ve been meaning to watch for years — a legendary BBC program in which John Cleese and Michael Palin … Continue reading →
  • Every recap of The Americans, ever
    I watched the first couple of episodes of The Americans and was quite impressed. But it’s a little too intense for me, especially given what happened to these families in real life. But I’m interested in what happens. My hope is that … Continue reading →
  • Review: “Last Days of Knight” is flawed but essential
    Cross-posting at duresport.com  ESPN is gambling these days. The new “30 for 30” documentary, Last Days of Knight, gambles on three levels: It’s being shown exclusively on ESPN+, the company’s new pay service, a good way to draw attention to it … Continue reading →
  • Jenna Fischer’s wonderful new show … and why it won’t last
    I checked out the first episode of Splitting Up Together today, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, I’m not sure I’m interested in watching another episode. Of course, I’m *rooting* for it because I just love Jenna Fischer. She … Continue reading →
  • Sinclair and muddled media-ownership rules
    Deadspin is not one of my favorite media outlets. They tend to favor snark over substance, and they intentionally cover sports without getting to know any of the people involved so they don’t have to think about the consequences of … Continue reading →
  • Neil Peart through the ages
    Observe how Neil Peart plays a particularly tricky passage of Tom Sawyer around the 3:05 mark in this video from the early 80s: Now see how he did it in 2011: Looks like he’s using two hands to do what he used … Continue reading →
  • When to ask the tough questions and when not to
    Had a legitimately interesting conversation on Twitter yesterday, starting here: What you’re describing is stenography. Not journalism. Your continued failure to acknowledge your role in this mess is why you continue to be a grave embarrassment. https://t.co/8GkoHuDEm3 — Imani Gandy … Continue reading →
  • Star Wars NEVER made sense. Get over it.
    Oh no! The Last Jedi ruins our sense of canon! Why would Luke act that way? (For the record, Mark Hamill has walked back some of his misgivings:) I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public.Creative differences are a common element … Continue reading →
  • A response to “Liberals Need to Take Their Fingers Out of Their Ears”
    Dear Mr. Edsall, Please forgive me if the salutation is too formal. I was brought up in the South to say “yes, sir” and “no, ma’am,” and while I have modernized a bit depending on context, I felt it appropriate … Continue reading →

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