Imagine my delight this morning when, quickly glancing at the table of contents in the new issue of the New Yorker
, I came across the words, "On the Inevitable Decline into Mediocrity of the Popular Musician Who Attains a Comfortable Middle Age." This being the sort of thing I will always read, no matter how many times it's written, I turned immediately to page 52 to get started on it, assuming it was Frere-Jones or Kelefa Senneh or someone, but not even bothering to check. As I flipped through the pages, I thought, "Hmm, the New Yorker
's music coverage is generally more toward the back of the book... oh god, is this going to be a poem?" Yes, it's a poem by Australian writer David Musgrave, and it appears in its entirety after the jump, which might be illegal, but also might not be. It's only one line, after all.
O Sting, where is thy death?
This would have been even meaner and arguably more effective, of course, had he gone with Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney, or even Tom Petty or maybe one of the Eagles, if only because those people have certainly declined into mediocrity, and it is actually plausible that they will die some day in the not too distant future. By going after an artist who lives a remarkably healthy life that, by all indications, will go on forever, it loses some of its bite. Or maybe that's the point. I don't know. Sting sure does suck, though.
Oh look, I'm an idiot. Mark points out that Musgrave is, obviously, riffing on a verse from 1 Corinthians: "O death, where is thy sting?"