The Man Who Hates Billy Joel
But it led me to wonder why people/critics get so angry at guys like Billy Joel, or Thomas Kinkade, or Meatloaf (both the singer and the mushy food product), or any other critical punching-bag de jour. I can understand a certain amount of wrath for politicians, whose decisions can directly impact the lives of folks. But the Billy Joels of the world are easily avoided, especially these days, when you can fine-tune your musical experience(s) to the Nth degree. Yes, I suppose Billy Joel haters may occasionally be exposed to a random play of "Just The Way You Are" at the supermarket, but that's the price we pay for living in "society." And it hardly rises to the level of some capital offense..
What intrigues me is that it's not enough for this critic to hate Billy Joel's music -- it's appears to offend him that any sentient being would dare to enjoy a musical experience that he deems unworthy. Same with the late Mr. Kinkade's work. I don't have much interest in fairies and magical cabins, but if it floats your float, more power to you.
I guess you could make a case that the public affection for popular but critically disrespected art/TV/film/comic books drives out better material. But it's a weak case. It's been my experience that somebody who loves NCIS isn't going to switch to Boardwalk Empire because NCIS is cancelled. They're going to switch to another procedural, or watch NCIS reruns, or do something else. Erasing Billy Joel's music from the planet will not send his former fans scurrying in search of jazz-fusion song cycles. They'll just miss trying to sing along to the acapella parts from "The Longest Time."
What really annoys me is now I have this guy's critical screed in my head. I mean, I was just sitting here blithely tapping my toe to "An Innocent Man" when this pissed-off critic took a proverbial poo on my musical choices. Yeah, well, screw you, man. It's only rock and roll but I like it (oh Jeez, shoot me now)...