Eddie Dean’s writing over the past few years indicates a few things to me. He likes to drink. He wishes he were a redneck. He seems to dislike all things that would be categorized as “Americana,” meaning kinda middle-of-the-road, WASPy, and “nice.” He seems to take pride in writing disparaging things about his own culture. He likes the roughest and simplest, sort of gut-level kind of music, despairing over the beauties of complexity. This is not a problem—everybody is entitled to his own taste. Too bad he really dislikes Joni Mitchell (“Around Town With Mr. Know-It-All,” 11/15). Her early music can be cloying, but it’s beautiful in its own way. Medieval music has its beauty as well, but like all things, you might not get it the first time. Eddie, remember, they didn’t have radios in the middle ages. A bawdy song might have been the highest form of redneck entertainment in that era.

I find Robert Aubry Davis to be a bit pompous sometimes, but he’s OK. I liked his sonnet. Having had to write them in high school (an exercise I liked), I learned to appreciate the balance of rhyme, meter, sentiment, etc. Appreciation of an art form comes when time is spent learning how to understand what you see and hear. I find it sad when someone dismisses things without taking time to try to understand them. “Life is short, and opera is long.” What a sad thing to say!

Dean seemed to envy RAD’s grasp of all kinds of stuff. None of the things he described RAD and himself discussing were outside my experience, and I don’t regularly listen to public radio. I don’t think I’m unusual. Dean’s last article documented what appeared to be an alcoholic binge on Route 1 in Alexandria. He saw a lot of down-and-outers. I live there, and I see lots of good people. Maybe Dean might emulate RAD and spend some time looking for beauty instead of for the ugly stuff. This may not provide great Washington City Paper-style journalism, but I bet he’d feel better.

Alexandria, Va.

via the Internet