Sunday, December 30, 2007


That’s a newspaper expression for columns that aren’t relevant to the day’s news, pieces that would have been as timely, or not, six months ago or six months hence. Hardcore journalists like to deride such pieces as lazy (you didn’t go out and find something new to report) or self-indulgently "writerly."

Columnists, however, would be hard-pressed to meet their quotas without thumbsucking, especially in down times such as the week after Christmas, and after already having had their year-end wrap-ups printed. Coping with that circumstance, two of The New York Times’ music writers, Anthony Tommasini and Bernard Holland, deliver engaging examples of the genre: