Friday, May 6, 2011

Cultural Decay: TONY Edition #2

Every week, Time Out New York (TONY) offers stunning examples of our national cultural decay.  Written in an obnoxious ‘knowing’ style (the first draft probably in crayon) by mostly unwashed and underfed adolescents, TONY cheerfully revels in its own cultural illiteracy.  This week’s bounty includes the following jewels:

Page 126 includes a listing for Radio Play by Tommy Smith and Reggie Watts, who “modeled this surreal sonic experience on old-timey radio shows.” Now, the ubiquity of the fatuous locution “old-timey” has been a mystery to your correspondent.  It can be heard most everywhere, either in hushed tones of respect or dismissive derision.  TONY uses it indiscriminately, employing “old-timey” to describe everything from classic American cinema to the Italian Renaissance.  In context for TONY readers, I believe “old-timey” can be defined either as (1) anything pre-1980 or (2) anything worthwhile and irony-free.

(The same page describes The Tempest as “Shakespeare’s spectacular drama about a retiring magician,” which would not pass muster in one of our less-demanding high schools.  Perhaps TONY does not understand the distinction between “retired” and “exiled.”)

The most infelicitous bit of prose, however, can be found in the theater review on page 117.  Writer Adam Feldman begins: “The People in the Picture renders its story the way fat is rendered in an old Jewish home: over low heat, with traditional tools, in the service of making schmaltz.”  Allow me to introduce a new word to TONY readers: Yuck.

More next week!

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