Sorry to be flogging a deceased equine, but extremely irksome New York Times pop music critic Kelefa Sanneh is spouting nonsense again.
In a review today of the debut album by alt-chanteuse St. Vincent (a/k/a Annie Clark) he observes:
"'What Me Worry' is a velvet-upholstered ballad, with teasing, mannerly lyrics that could easily have been written in an era before rock ’n’ roll [emphasis mine]:
Do I amuse you, dear?
Would you think me queer
if, while standing beside you,
I opted instead to
Uh, excuse me? Anybody hearing echoes of Cole Porter in that? Rogers and Hammerstein? Jerome Kern? Slim Gailliard? Stephen Foster? That Elizabethan lute guy Sting just covered badly? Any standard Frank Sinatra actually sang?
Seriously, if anybody can find even one reasonably well known pre-rock Classic Pop song in which the word "opted" has ever appeared, please let me know.
There's a larger issue here, of course. It's been apparent for several years -- or at least since Judy Miller invented Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and the Times gave four (count 'em, four) op-ed spaces to Ann Althouse (the Miss Havisham of Wingnuttia, in NYMary's brilliant phrase) -- that the Newspaper of Record is having something of an institutional nervous breakdown. That they continue to let a pretentious flake like Sanneh peddle similar piffle on a weekly basis suggests that the mental illness afflicts more than just the hard news/editorial side of a once great paper.