Saturday, June 05, 2010

Attn, Comrades! Neocon Politburo Proscribes Decadent Western Musik!

From Hendrik Hertzberg's book Politics:

The [neocon panelists'] discussion on Western culture took up the troubling question of why Vaclav Havel has a picture of John Lennon on the wall of his apartment. Hilton Kramer, editor of The New Criterion, bemoaned the fact that the East European dissidents liked Allen Ginsberg and the Beatles. John O'Sullivan, editor of National Review, said this was only because the authorities had censored them, though he didn't trouble to say why they had censored them. "Is rock and roll always bad?" asked a questioner from the floor. Richard John Neuhaus, the Lutheran-turned-Catholic theologian, said he didn't know because he wasn't masochistic enough to listen to the stuff. O'Sullivan said he disliked all popular music after Cole Porter. Kramer suggested that Lennon and his friends "used to sing the praises of Ho Chi Minh." (Untrue, by the way) Oh, well. Western civ may be as decadent as Kramer says, but at least he doesn't blame it on the stones. He blames it on the Beatles.
--Washington Diarist, The New Republic, May 21, 1990