On Wednesday of this week, Spin senior editor Christopher Weingarten announced in an essay that the magazine would be embarking this year on 1,500 reviews written in 140-character chunklets approved by Twitter. I wish he’d chosen to honor the traditional Haiku form, which is at least lovely and historical, but alas, Weingarten, who popularized this trend with his 1000TimesYes project, also known as OperationKillMyself, chose to live in fear of the Fail Whale, which will never let you write as long as “Moby Dick.”
By the way, Weingarten stated that none of this means an end to the kind of criticism that can be read while consuming an entire cup of coffee, instead of one thimble –- not even a shot! -– of espresso. The magazine promises to post about 20 long form reviews a month on SPIN.com, where they started with Guided By Voices, who, coincidentally, know a thing or two about writing short songs but then stringing them together over a long course of time to make a giant pearly necklace of drunken fuzz-pop.
On the occasion of Spin’s audacious move, which signals either the death of music criticism or the advent of its leaner, quippier self, I’ve written some of my deepest thoughts and concerns about this turn toward Twit-Crit but in the traditional 5/7/5 haiku form because I’m not that into Twitter or its 140-character limit ( hey, follow my near-dead account here!).
The haiku format doesn't mean I’m not keeping an open mind about Spin’s mission. It's just that I once won a pair of Morrissey tickets in a haiku contest (true story) so this should be pretty fearsome. Here goes:
Spin will review “a
Lot of friggin' records,” like
Maybe your bad band?
“No more 80-word
Blurbs.” OK, but why is this
Way any better?
Twit-Crit will ping our
Minds like so many pennies
Raining on the roof
Some will write shortly
Others will take their sweet time
To still write same things.
ONCE AGAIN, HOPE:
I choose to believe
Criticism will never
Die, like – shiver – Korn.
Please let us know how you feel about these changes, or the beauty of haiku, in the comments. Extra points for writing in 5/7/5.
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Photo: A snowy white egret, which has inspired many a haiku, as seen in The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times