Tying into my March 13 post regarding conservatives and their inability to talk up the arts leads to a prime example of how our mothers were right. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. A case in point involves conservative journalist Lachlan Markay, who has hopped around multiple online publications — most recently Axios — and his spouting off on Twitter regarding Meg White, one half of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-nominated The White Stripes.
The brouhaha bubbled to the surface following a National Review post by Dan McLaughlin on March 10 noting how this year marks the 20th anniversary of the White Stripes’ iconic “Seven Nation Army.”
McLaughlin’s claim that the song is “the song of the century” is forced attempted hipness at its most Steve Buscemi-ish, but that’s beside the point. The song is iconic, and Meg White’s simple, primal power-infused contribution is impossible to overlook.
Enter Markay. Although he has since deleted his tweet, he apparently forgot that screenshots are forever.
After being royally roasted on Twitter and by Jack White’s second ex-wife (Meg is his first), Markey has since issued a mega mea culpa.
Too little too late, but it’s better than nothing.
Two points. One, is Meg White an inept drummer? No, not at all. Will she make anyone forget Neal Peart, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Buddy Rich, or Gene Krupa? No. That said, she is far better than often acknowledged.
A quality musician playing in a group setting creates synergy, their individual talents meshing with the other musicians to form a whole greater than the individual parts. Jack White was the White Stripes’ linchpin. He brought raw, blues-based rock into the alternative world when it was nearly extinct. Drawing a comparison to an evident influence without entering into a raging debate about the relative merits of each, the White Stripes was its generation’s Led Zeppelin, Jack White simultaneously filling the roles of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page with an occasional dash of John Paul Jones. Meg White provided the perfect rhythmic counterpart. A heavy hitter far more intent on driving the rhythm home than dazzling the listener with skippy stick work, Meg White made what could have easily been a quickly tiresome novelty act of guitar and drums minus bass work.
The second point is Markay’s initial mouthing off. His apology brings to mind the adage that apologizing to a china plate you’ve shattered by throwing it on the floor doesn’t undo the damage. Is he entitled to his opinion? Absolutely. Should he be allowed to express said opinion through any channel he chooses? Of course. Was his commenting publicly as he did seven shades of sheer stupidity? Oh, you betcha.
Publicly identified conservatives have a target placed on them. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s a cold, hard fact. We live in Alinskyland, where any flaw can and will be seized upon to discredit the person and, thereby, the message. This leaves conservatives with but one viable action plan. Choose your battles wisely. Be unyielding on matters that matter; the policies, platforms, programs, and philosophies that define conservatism. In everything else, think twice before tossing in your two cents. Conservatives do not have the luxury of apologizing. When in doubt, don’t go there in the first place. Stay focused on what matters. In all other matters … well, remember what your mother told you.