Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's next? "Alex Ross Facts?"

When you look up "bad ass" in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of Alex Ross.

Why is a classical-music critic and blogger now the definition of "bad ass?"

Let's look at the facts:

(1) He just won a MacArthur "Genius" Grant.
(2) He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
(3) His book, The Rest Is Noise, is insightful, intelligent, and readable. (And award-winning!)
(4) He is a columnist for the New Yorker.
(5) In the classical blogosphere, he is the only guy about whom no one has a cross word to say.
(6) He's clearly hyper-well-educated, without being pushy or weird about it.

Need I go on? Of course not. No, the only way Alex Ross could be more of a bad ass is if he saved a busload of widows, orphans, nuns, and a president whose popularity rating was above 40% (Reagan or F.D. Roosevelt, depending on your bent, for example) from the clutches of an evil supervillain, while simultaneously addressing the National Press Club and curing cancer. And, well, after the last year, don't be surprised if you see something like that on CNN. At this point, Mr. Ross has only feats of sheer superherodom let to conquer.

I'm being crass, infelicitous, and hyperbolic, but - let's face it - Alex Ross is pretty goll-darned cool by any objective measure. He's clearly earned his "Genius" Grant, as well as the thanks of anyone who cares about art-music literacy in the Republic today.


At 2:57 PM, Blogger daland said...


(7) He’s a nice gay!

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

I suppose so, but I don't see the need to bring that into consideration. I wouldn't want to get into his private life, lest I be plunged into deepest despair at seeing how wonderful it is.

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He spoke at IU last year. It was the most badass lecture I've ever attended.

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Buttermilk Sky said...

The only downside to the MacArthur is that Mr. Ross may be tempted to quit his day job at The New Yorker.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

He also spoke in Indianapolis, which I also had to miss. My hope is that he'll write another book and come 'round again - that I might be exposed to his sheer badassery.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Terry said...

Perhaps I'll aim at getting you an autographed first book for Christmas, Patrici.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Oh, Terry, you always know how to make me happy.

Levity aside, how's YDS?

At 3:23 PM, Blogger CVH said...


I love your blog the Penitent Wagnerite. I have been reading for awhile and always check in. I am currently blogging about my singing experiences on my personal website. I am currently in Chicago singing Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers with Nathan Gunn and Nicole Cabell. Could we possibly set up a mutual link to each others site?

All best

Christian Van Horn

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At 2:17 PM, Blogger vivasusanna said...

holy crap I didn't know you were based in Indy! Me too. Did you know you can watch Ross' presentation at go to the classical connections page and you should find it with the interviews.


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