The first is Stephen Metcalf's perfect – perfect – assessment of Sting in Slate:
For the better part of 20 years as a solo artist, the King of Pain has been locked in a Mexican standoff with the rest of humanity. We refuse to believe that he is deep; he refuses to believe he is shallow. Nothing—no amount of sniggering on our part, no amount of Elizabethan luting on his—has broken this impasse. High-minded self-regard has been to Sting's star image what groupie-defiling sex once was to Led Zeppelin's. Maybe this is why Sting, still a ludicrously photogenic man, has never looked anything less than stupid on his dozen or so album covers.Everything in that piece is quotable.
The second is a close look at Camille Paglia's first column for Salon in six years.
Vicious insults to the English language: 3 (”enthused” is not a word, with good reason; “surfeited” means that there’s “more than enough”, you don’t then have to tell me; “drearily prolix” is the worst two-word phrase I’ve ever heard in my life, and I’ve read Camille Paglia.)(Read Paglia's column here.)
Never, never say there is no place in the world for first-class snark.