Thursday, September 27, 2007

Joni Mitchell and Starbucks: it’s still hip to hate Rome (more)
I almost didn’t blog this as it’s so minor and I didn’t want to fall into chic self-pity like the victimhood of the Episcopal left (much of which hates Rome as much as Joni does — BTW she’s an ex-Protestant) or the ‘O tempora!’, Chicken Little hysterics of some conservative Christians including conservative RCs. That said:
  • I’m disappointed because I am a fan. Joni Mitchell is so much more than people think (the hippy chick strumming a guitar singing about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot). In the first 10 years of her songwriting and recording career she made about six phenomenal albums. For ‘Woodstock’ (redone very differently by Crosby, Stills and Nash) or the title track of Blue alone I’d give her the house in Bel Air where she lives.
  • To get a bit nasty I understand she hasn’t recorded a saleable or perhaps really listenable album in 30 years because...
  • She’s strange: famously temperamental and difficult like the stereotype of the tortured artist. (Steve Shack once told me about meeting her at a gig, chain-smoking backstage not talking to anybody before her set.)
  • Didn’t she say a few years ago she was quitting the music biz (because it disgusted her) and focusing on her painting? Not the comeback one might have wanted.
  • Based on what little I know it seems like a throwaway line.
  • But the alarmists are right that no other group except, possibly, conservative Protestants could be treated like this with impunity. (Imagine a veteran folk singer throwing in a line disparaging Judaism.)
  • Form some balance here’s an interview the likewise sharp — and funny (met her) — Camille Paglia did with her two years ago.
  • The Onion gets the last word: ‘I can download Starbucks music on my iPhone while ordering a latte and talking on a conference call? Wow, I've hit the douchebag trifecta!’
At first I had no idea what the line is supposed to mean. I think she’s referring to the Magdalene laundries that used to be in Ireland, run by nuns for unwed mothers, and Peter Mullan’s film supposedly about them. I saw it and was horrified. But no less a pundit than Frederica Mathewes-Greene, not sympathetic to (nor particularly knowledgeable about) Western Catholicism herself, pointed out the film’s distortions (four composite characters in a few years had done to them nearly all the atrocities committed by the nuns in the laundries over about 100 years).

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