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“I’m a Didactic Writer”

Last Fall, I was interviewed for a full hour by Chris Johnson of Houston Public Radio and invited to comment not only on my book Moral Fire, but more broadly on the state of culture in today’s America.

Chris suggested that my book, though situated in the late Gilded Age, was “chockfull of lessons – but that might not be the word you would use.”

Oh yes it is, I replied — I’m a didactic writer who writes books “partly out of disgruntlement with the 21st century.”

So I wound up talking about Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, about the cooptation of moral outrage (a potential dimension of art) by cynical and opportunistic politicians, about the marginalization of books, all kinds of things.

The Bulletin of the Society of American Music has now printed an edited transcript of the interview and you can read it here.

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