John: I had a response all but set to publish tonight when suddenly there was a huge crash and a 60-foot cedar from our neighbor’s yard toppled down and smashed the back of our house. Unfortunately there’s still about a third of this huge tree standing over our house, there’s a major wind storm blowing, and the entire neighborhood is without power. Plus we’ve got flooding in the basement. Afraid that the rest of the tree will fall right on our bedroom, we have vacated to a nearby motel, where I am tapping this out in the bathroom on my laptop while the family sleeps. So where was I?
I myself was not attacking ovation inflation. I see nothing wrong with it, actually. I don’t stand myself because I guess I’m just not that demonstrative, but I don’t care if others are. I was just wondering if it signals anything about the modern audience that’s different from ears past. You write that:
Audience timidity about strongly expressing opinions might seem contradictory with a disdain for standing ovations; sitting and applauding politely is hedging your bets; standing and cheering puts you out there, in some sense.
I’m not sure that I agree with that at all; in fact it may be the opposite. Standing and cheering might be the safer gambit in a group that’s doing it. Look, I’m not advocating for full-on criticism, only that the engagement be real somehow.
You brought up the 60s, and I had meant to ask you about those early reviews of the hippie happenings in California and what effect you thought they had on your later writing. In a way, I was thinking as I read the book, your (sometimes bemused) accounts of these events and openness to them being whatever they wanted to be established a tone that carried on when you went on to write about pop and classical music in New York.
Okay – there was more in the first version of this post, but it’s getting on to 3 AM and I’ll pick it up tomorrow (er, later today)