Criticism for Relevant Magazine ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Criticism for Relevant Magazine

David Sessions, the head man at Patrol Magazine, hands out a potentially devastating critique to Relevant Magazine. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure I can think of a critique that would pack more of a sting for Relevant. So we have an instance of dueling magazines here, with the brash little upstart taking a shot at Gargantua. Here's the heart of David's gripe:

Relevant, to me, has the same problem as “Christian worldview music.” It’s the fact that attention must be called to the relevance, rather than the relevance speaking for itself.

Check the whole article, which points to a parallel between the now-defunct CCM magazine and Relevant. David Sessions' analysis reflects a concern I have with Relevant--I mean besides my thing about them publishing my articles but not answering my emails--which is their tendency to fawn over selected artists and celebs rather than to really critique or review in the meaningful sense of those words. It's kind of a "come and see!" carnival approach rather than a search for, discovery of, and description of, the best of culture.

Or am I being to hard on them?

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brad andrews said...

very interesting...

i'm curious about something you said. you said that CCM magazine is now-defunct. you mean as not a good mag anymore - not objective enough - or it's went under?


Ariel said...

I probably should have clarified that. It's the CCM print mag that's been discontinued--CCM continues to exist online.

Mark said...

Yes, I think you are being too hard on them.

Relevance does speak to itself, but American Religiousity is becoming not relevant at all to anyone about anything. Especially to people in their twenties.

I think that is what they are trying to say.

Ariel said...

You won't get any arguments from me about religiosity being relevant. However, I think Relevant Mag could interact with culture in a more meaningful way by assessing and critiquing, not merely pointing to.

Just diving into America's cultural pool, which is often pretty shallow, isn't going to transform the church. We need trained swimmers, if you know what I'm saying.

David Sessions said...

Two things: Part of the problem with Relevant is admittedly it's name. As one friend said, it's like an indie folk/rock band naming itself INDIE FOLK/ROCK, or Paste calling itself "Closeted Christian Coverage of Mainstream Culture." That is more than a small issue.

Another issue isn't just the content, but it's also the journalism: it's just not very good. The writing isn't always bad or boring, but a lot of times the music coverage especially just piggybacks on the fodder of better publications, with an obligatory sampling of sort-of-Christian bands (CCM's "Christian worldview music"). And here again, we have Christians following the conversation instead of leading it. To lead, you have to be bit risky, and Relevant is no longer risky.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife