Thursday, January 03, 2008

Embarrassing Treats: The Book Beneath The Bed

In the comments on my previous posting, Cowtown Pattie confesses to the books beneath her bed. Man, I know all about that. In every marriage there is a sound sleeper and a not-so-sound-sleeper. I am among the latter breed: my side of the bed has the light, as well as a pile of books. But only one book actually resides beneath my side of the bed.

I heard about it when it was first published five years ago, but I resisted buying it. "You finished with that scene when you grew up," I told myself. I found a copy in the expected venue: one of those bookstores singularly devoted to its chosen subject matter, where the covers of their magazines and books (and CDs and DVDs) show airbrushed pictures of impossible-looking people with impossible coifs and smiles making a big public show of enjoying activities that any right-minded person keeps to herself, or eschews altogether. I furtively looked around to make sure I wouldn't get spotted by someone I knew, and quickly leafed through it. Somehow I mustered the strength I needed to put it back on the shelf and walk away. But this summer when I found a copy on sale, I succumbed. Now I sneak peaks at its contents when my wife is fast asleep. It's a pleasure with an embarrassment factor that borders close to shame, but I will now confess: I own, and get a big kick out of reading, The Encyclopedia Of Contemporary Christian Music (Amazon).

And make no mistake: I have to be careful when reading it, because it doesn't take long for the giggles to set in, thus waking up my wife and earning her rightful scorn.

From 1965-1995 the Christian Contemporary Music scene was possibly the craziest scene going. Sincere-minded kids possessed of varying degrees of talent and vision walked into a burgeoning boom industry run by idiots on a short moral tether and amoral sharks who grew fat off the sheep flung their way. This environment released a torrent of the crappiest music imaginable, making the few gems that actually surfaced seem very much like an honest-to-God miracle. Author Mark Allan Powell clearly has the freakiest record collection on the planet. He loves the artists and their material, and occasionally works hard at attempting a cautious respect where I might be prone to unabashed contempt. He also has a gentle sense of humor which serves to leaven the absurdities of this industry (and they are Legion).

This kind of cultural fetish is not to everyone's taste. But I seem to have developed an appetite for it, and it cries out to be fed -- at discrete moments. And, yes, the bookstore mentioned above was a "Christian" bookstore. But now we're treading into "shame country" ....
"Nobody looking? Time for some Mark Allen Powell..."


dan said...

Hahahahahaha.... Oh, wait. This probably shouldn't be funny. ...but it is!

Great point. I keep mine on the top shelf in the closet (under a pile of old clothes).

DarkoV said...

You truly are the Largest Onion in the World.

How many layers of thin but richly imbued skin will you be peeling for us as you get to your core?

Or is the thin protective skin ever re-creating itself?

A mysterious 2008 it will surely be.

Anonymous said...

The choir director at the church I attend dismisses this music as "7-11" music, because most of the songs have about 7 words repeated 11 times. But in fairness, you could say that about most all rock music.

Whisky Prajer said...

Dan - "old clothes," eh? No-one ever looks there (heh heh).

DV - I have to admit as I begin my fourth year of blogging that I wonder how many "layers" I have left. We shall see, I suppose.

Bill - "7-11" music -- I like that!

Dan Smith said...

I don't know whether you know this, but Mark Allen Powell is (also) an academic biblical scholar of considerable weight. Whodathunk!!

Dan S.

Whisky Prajer said...

That's one busy guy. He probably listens to this music while he's writin' them books!