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EDDIE DEAN’S “DIRTY WAR” (8/25) is a perfect example of shoddy journalism. Dean’s thesis is that “pop music is designed to divide generations” and that people who do not get this are absurd. While this is interesting and controversial, nothing in his article supports it. He merely states his thesis as self-evident, and then turns more acerbic, tearing into Barbara Wyatt and the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC) to expose their supposed absurdity.
While the piece is sophomoric and arrogant, it makes a few concessions. For instance, Dean reports that the leadership of the PMRC is capable, and that the official goals of the PMRC are moderate, perhaps even balanced. However, instead of examining this critically, Dean jumps to name-calling. A state Supreme Court judge, an Oscar-winning songwriter, a minister, and a president of a suicide rescue association are derided as a “motley crew.” David Chamberlin is described as “knowing a lot about Nirvana,” as if this is the beginning and end of Chamberlin’s learning and worth. Wyatt, the most unjustly treated, is caricatured as a spinster piano teacher with an archaic view of music and culture. It is only in passing that we learn Wyatt’s achievements are monumental, that her views are disciplined, and that her manners are both gracious and refined. Why then the insults if these people do not deserve them?
Probably Dean insults his subjects because they were multidimensional, intelligent, and beyond the grasp of a single take. This was supposed to be an easy piece, he thought. So instead of facing reality and the work, he took the refuge of an incompetent—he insulted everyone else. Washington City Paper should not let lazy thinking masquerade as cynicism.
Falls Church, Va.