We'll Point the Canon At You
The trend of the Pioneer Press toward a more conservative perspective has been noted, with pleasure, on several occasions recently. But, as of yet, it's only been apparent on the editorial page, with the fine work of the New Right Brothers, Yost and Westover. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of examples of a more culturally conservative perspective, in the Entertainment section of this past Sunday's Pioneer Press.
First, this review of "Fall on Your Knees" a long-running, local, transvestite Christmas cabaret put on by some dude named Miss Richfield. The reviewer doesn't exactly present a Moral Majority-level critique of this bizarre holiday spectacle, but it's more critical than I remember seeing in the past:
That's right, kids, Miss Richfield is back for her sixth straight year of lowbrow gay jokes and off-key caroling. And this year she adds a few wink-nudge racial slurs to the mix for good measure.
If you've got a hankering for cheese-ball and crass humor, then this show could be your consummate guilty pleasure. But if you've had your fill of reality television and other lewd cultural artifacts, "Fall on Your Knees" is but a two-hour onslaught of predictable and potty-mouthed barroom buffoonery. It'd be a snooze if not for Miss Richfield's incessant shrieking, which keeps us alert.
Traditionally, our mainstream arts press generally gives a breathless rave to just about anything celebrating deviant lifestyles. For some reason, they (or those who hire them) view offending the sensibilities of the majority of the circulation as a requirement of the position. To read this review calling a spade a spade (lowbrow, off key, crass, predictable buffoonery), despite its political agenda, it's very refreshing.
Also these excerpts from a review of the Guthrie Theater's presentation of "A Christmas Carol":
Director Gary Gisselman has made other changes that strengthen the production. This year's Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Stephen Pelinski, is once again the jovial, bearded giant originally suggested by Dickens -- a departure from recent versions featuring a worldly African-American woman in the role.
The welcome result of all this is that the whole production feels more true to Dickens -- and the spirit of Christmas shines throughout.
Trendy multiculturalism abandoned in favor of an historically accurate staging of a Western canon classic, and it's reviewed as a good thing - strengthening the production, it's a "welcome result," and the spirit of Christmas shines through? Well that sounds just about Right to me.
It's too early to say for sure if this kind of commentary will be a regular feature. But if the Pioneer Press takes the bold step of publishing arts reviews that reflect the mainstream values of the majority of its readership, I've got two words for them: competitive advantage.