The confluence of videoblogging-plus-commentariat with a papal visit to the US has given us a glimpse of the future.
It’s not pretty: and I’m not talking about the music.
Liam alerted me to the overstuffed combox at NLM’s megathread. I’m too darned busy to read all 274 posts. (And if you’re ever tempted to turn one of my threads here into a 274-post morass, I’ll e-mail you personally with suggestions to pet your cat, play chess with your kid, smooch your spouse, or do something else constructive.)
Jeffrey Tucker labelled the post “The End of an Era, and the Beginning of Something New.” It certainly is the beginning of something new, but I don’t think it’s anything good.
It reminds me of the music reading sessions I used to attend. Some of the music was indeed weak or weakly executed, but the most disturbing and distracting thing would be if I was unfortunate enough to sit next to a critic. “NIMP” would be scrawled across the music, and all neighbors within earshot would be told why.
I think it’s safe to say that nobody from the reform2 movement was put in charge of any liturgy for the pope’s visit. I’m sure that fact simmers and seethes within some souls. But it’s true. It’s also true that pretty much nothing on the whole agenda will meet with their satisfaction. And if, by some chance, the repertoire item might be non-objectionable, some criticism of the performance will be cited.
So NLM conducts a cyber free-for-all just like those readings sessions I now avoid. And this is progress? Better to go to Mass in one’s own parish and ignore the whole deal in DC.
As one final comment, I’ll open it up on the front of “personal taste.” If you dare, read over the bulk of the NLM comments. Consider that the site host silenced the commentariat for awhile, then pleaded for calm. Practically the very next post picked up where the shutdown left off. If this kind of commentary is to move beyond personal taste, it will need balance: the positive alternative to build upon rather than the creaky negativity and catty envy.
With respect to my friend RP who calls me on my “personal taste” criticism, it may well be true this Mass was poorly performed and some music badly chosen. I didn’t watch, nor do I have any interest whatsoever in a replay. For this to move beyond an expression of “what I don’t like,” the commentariat will have to come up with something positive. And in the environment where the tomatoes and eggs are flying full out, good luck getting a sensible word in edgewise.