Martha Bayles

For several years I have been a vernacular (meaning not academic) critic of arts, music, media, and cultural policy ...
SP-MB.JPG I write for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Weekly Standard, Wilson Quarterly, and many other publications. My book, Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music, is available from the University of Chicago Press. I am currently working on a book for Yale University Press about the image of American culture in the world today - or, to put it another way, the cultural dimension of America's declining reputation. (Yes, there is one.)
July 5, 2005 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)



I just read an article in the IHT quoting you on pulbic diplomacy. I used to run the American Cultural Center in Paris from 1971 to 76, just the kind of cultural program now recommended in the article. We used to do it and I quite the US Diplomatic Service because it was obvbious that the government was closing down all cultural activity. A lot of time has been lost and effort wasted. It's almost inevitable that people would come around again to understand that all cultural activity is very long term, based on shared values, trust and honestly. Too bad it took so long, but I still don't think they can do it. How can a government that can't be honest with its own people be expected to be honest with foreigners?

I would be very happy to help you in your new book if I can. As someone who was in the center of some of the bitterest fights about culture in the early 70's, I might have some insights that could help you.


PRC Pop 

The Chinese pop music scene is like no other ...

Remembering Elvis 

The best part of him will never leave the building ...

Beyond Country 

Like all chart categories, "country" is an arbitrary heading under which one finds the ridiculous, the sublime, and everything in between. On the sublime end, a track that I have been listening to over and over for the last six months: Wynnona Judd's version of "She Is His Only Need." The way she sings it, irony is not a color or even a set of contrasting colors; it is iridescence.

Miles the Rock Star? 

Does Miles Davis belong in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame? Here's my take on his career ...

Essay Contest 

Attention, high school jazz listeners ...

more trax

Me Elsewhere

Edward Hopper 

Painter of light (and darkness) ...

Dissed in Translation 

Here's my best shot at taking Scorcese down a few pegs ...

Henri Rousseau Revisited 

"Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris" appeared at the National Gallery of Art in Washington this fall ...

Paul Klee's Art 

Paul Klee was not childish, despite frequent comparisons between his art and that of children...

Our Art Belongs to Dada 

Rent my "Dadioguide" tour of the Dada show (before it moves to MoMA) ...

more picks


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This page contains a single entry by Douglas McLennan published on July 5, 2005 10:00 AM.

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