A maverick blogger on a well-known country music site made waves in the online community recently by saying nice things about the music that normal people enjoy. The complimentary words, apparently offered without a hint of irony and under no threat or coercion, proved completely baffling to staff and readers alike.
“As a blogger, the usual practice is to qualify praise for mainstream acts with the greatest of care, so that a certain amount of disdain always comes through,” said C.M. McKay, a contributor to popular country blog The 90210, where the complimentary words were offered. “In fact, [Managing Editor] Tim Malice puts us through a whole course on crafting effective backhanded compliments before he ever lets us write for the site.”
“So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this review. The guy basically just said that he liked a popular song and talked about why it was good. It was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever read in my life… as though anyone could actually enjoy music that sells well.”
With the review taking an unexpectedly kind tone, commenters who usually argue back and forth over slams of radio favorites were left to offer mild expressions of agreement such as “Good review” and “Love the song.” The comment thread ended after five comments, but not before contrarian commenter Wayner showed up to take issue with the recent upturn in positive reviews, all the while claiming that he didn’t disagree with any particular favorable rating. Another commenter, John, devoted a lengthy comment to reviewing the review, concluding that it was “a great piece of work” and “pretty much exactly as I would have written it myself.”
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